Childbirth can be an exciting experience, especially for first-time parents. While babies are born every day in the United States, a lot can still go wrong. One wrong move could cause serious damage to the mother or baby.
Mothers often become injured during labor and delivery. They may suffer tears in the perineal area, which is located between the vagina and anus. They may experience hemorrhaging or suffer wounds during a C-section.
The baby could be injured as well. Birth injuries are often linked to the baby’s size and position. These factors can make a birth more difficult. A child or mother is more likely to suffer injuries due to the following:
- Large babies. A birth weight of more than 8 pounds 13 ounces can lead to difficulties.
- Babies born before 37 weeks have more fragile bodies and may be more easily injured.
- Cephalopelvic disproportion. A baby can get stuck when the size and shape of the mother’s pelvis is not adequate for the baby to be born vaginally.
- A difficult labor or childbirth can make injuries more likely to occur.
- Abnormal birthing presentation. An example of this is when a baby is buttocks first, or breech, which can make delivery harder.
When a mother or child is injured during labor or delivery, it can be a devastating experience. You need to understand your legal rights. The medical malpractice lawyers at Brill & Rinaldi, The Law Firm, can assist you. However, you should keep in mind that medical malpractice is not always easy to prove. You will need proof of the following:
- Duty of care. The healthcare professional must owe a duty of care to the patient. This duty is established when a doctor-patient relationship is formed.
- Breach of duty. The healthcare provider must have breached the standard of care owed to the patient. The standard of care is the level of care and skill that a reasonably competent healthcare professional in the same field would provide under similar circumstances.
- There must be a direct link between the breach of the standard of care and the harm suffered by the patient. The patient must show that the healthcare provider’s actions or lack thereof directly caused the injuries.
- The patient must have suffered measurable damages as a result of the healthcare provider’s actions, such as physical injuries, medical expenses, and lost wages.
Types of Childbirth Injuries and Conditions
A fetus can develop various injuries and conditions during labor and delivery. They include the following:
- Brachial plexus injuries. This involves damage to the nerves controlling the arm and hand. They are often caused by difficult deliveries or shoulder dystocia.
- Facial nerve injury. Pressure on the baby’s face during delivery can lead to facial nerve damage, which can be temporary or permanent.
- Caput succedaneum. This refers to swelling of the soft tissues of the baby’s head, typically due to pressure against the mother’s cervix.
- This occurs when blood collects between the baby’s skull and the periosteum. It is usually caused by trauma during delivery.
- Intracranial hemorrhage. This is bleeding within the baby’s skull, which can have varying degrees of severity.
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. This refers to brain damage resulting from oxygen deprivation during labor and delivery.
- Fetal distress. Fetal distress occurs when the baby is not getting enough oxygen during labor, which can lead to various complications.
- Umbilical cord prolapse. The umbilical cord slips through the cervix ahead of the baby, potentially compromising blood flow.
- Placental abruption. This occurs when the placenta prematurely separates from the uterine wall, leading to potential oxygen deprivation for the baby.
Is Cerebral Palsy a Childbirth Injury?
Cerebral palsy refers to a group of conditions that affect movement and posture. It’s caused by damage to the brain. It often leads to floppy or stiff muscles. There may also be issues with walking and posture, as well as eye muscle imbalance and swallowing problems.
Cerebral palsy can be caused by various issues, such as:
- Gene changes
- Maternal infections
- Bleeding into the brain
- Infant infections that cause brain swelling
- Traumatic head injury to an infant
- Lack of oxygen to the brain
Given these causes, it is possible that a doctor could cause cerebral palsy. If the doctor does not monitor the fetus properly, it could suffer from a lack of oxygen to the brain. Also, if a baby is stuck in the birth canal and the doctor uses forceps aggressively, they could cause a head injury or bleeding in the brain.
Cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition that may require significant treatment. If you suspect a doctor caused your child to suffer from it, contact a lawyer to assess your case and learn about your legal options.
Contact Us Today
Giving birth is not an easy task. Even though it is something that happens every day, there can be complications involved, causing harm to the mother and baby.
There are very specific parameters for what does and does not constitute medical malpractice. Work with the experienced team at Brill & Rinaldi, The Law Firm, so you can receive compensation for a medical error. To schedule a free consultation with us, fill out the online form or call (954) 876-4344. We have offices in Weston, Coral Gables, and Daytona Beach.