There are no words that can adequately describe the grief experienced by parents who discover their newborn baby was injured during the birthing process. They eagerly anticipated the birth of their new baby, normal at all stages of development with no expectations of anything other than giving birth to a normal child. Then, something goes horribly wrong during labor and delivery or shortly thereafter which results in an injury to the infant.
Approximately eight out of every 1,000 babies who develop normally throughout the mother’s pregnancy and are expected to be live, active and fully functioning at birth are injured through the negligence of health care practitioners who are involved in the birthing process. Some injuries may be minor, such as abrasions, scratches or even a broken bone. Others are life-changing and are so serious, neither the child nor the parents will ever fully recover.
Most Common Preventable Causes of Birth Injuries
Nearly 100 percent of all birth injuries are due to medical malpractice. Health care practitioners, including nurses, doctors and other professionals involved in the birthing process, made some error. The birthing process is defined as labor, delivery and a short time following delivery. Some of the most common causes are:
- Labor that lasts more than 18 hours. This puts constant pressure on the brain of the baby and may result in fetal distress and deprivation of oxygen. If this conditions goes unrecognized, and the baby is allowed to continue in distress, irreversible brain damage to the infant may occur.
- Fetal deprivation of oxygen during labor and delivery. It is crucial that the baby’s vital signs be closely monitored during labor and delivery and that any sign of fetal distress is recognized and measures taken to make certain the baby receives enough oxygen.
- Umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck and appropriate measures are not taken to remedy the situation and prevent lifelong injury due to oxygen deprivation.
- Improper administration of medications that cause fetal distress.
- Delay in performing a Cesarean section when it is determined the baby is in distress.
- Blunt force trauma to the baby’s head during delivery due to the use of forceps or a vacuum extractor.
- The baby inhaled Meconium during delivery and the health care practitioner fails to notice this.
- A baby who inhaled Meconium is not properly suctioned.
Resulting Injuries and Lifelong Debilitation
A baby who is subjected to any of these events during labor and delivery or shortly after delivery may suffer injuries that range from minor to severe. Babies may have broken bones, most commonly legs, arms or the collar bone that may easily be repaired. They may also suffer from nerve damage resulting in conditions such as Brachial plexus, Erb’s palsy or other forms of paralysis. Some of these are treatable and the child may recover and live a normal life. Others require life-long care and treatment.
When fetuses suffer from oxygen deprivation, even if the deprivation was for a short amount of time, they may be debilitated for life, having lost their ability to develop normally physically or mentally. Some are so severely injured they do not survive more than a few hours if they even survive for that long.
Symptoms of Traumatic Birth Injuries
Some injuries may be noticeable immediately, like abrasions, bruises and broken bones. Brain injuries are often not immediately apparent and there are signs you should watch for and seek immediate medical attention if you note any of the following:
- Your baby is continuously fussy and almost impossible to console. The crying is high-pitched and sometimes accompanied with a fever. The baby also refuses nourishment.
- Your baby has difficulty focusing his or her eyes on anyone or any object.
- Your baby is delayed developmentally. For example, babies do not crawl at the date they are expected to crawl. Some developmentally delays are not apparent until the child begins school.
Why You Should Contact a Birth Injury Attorney
If your baby suffers from birth injuries due to a healthcare practitioner’s negligence, you and your child deserve compensation for your injuries, including compensation for all medical expenses related to the injuries, loss of the child’s future earning capacity as well as your pain and suffering as the parents.
Contact a Chicago birth injury attorney at the Blumenshine Law Group call us (312) 766-1000, text us at (312) 313-3466 or email at [email protected] to schedule a free consultation. We will review all the circumstances of your case and determine the best way in which to proceed. If we to work together, we will take all appropriate legal action in order to obtain for you all the compensation to which you are legally entitled.