While the birth of a child is usually a joyous occasion, problems during the pregnancy or delivery can lead to birth injuries. However, if the injuries are the result of the negligence of obstetricians, hospitals or other medical providers, it may be possible to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit.
These injuries are classified as birth trauma which can include cuts, fractures or other injuries that occur during labor or delivery. Birth trauma is more common during the delivery of larger or heavier babies, and trauma is often seen in premature births. In addition, birth trauma can occur during a prolonged or difficult labor, or if the fetus is in an abnormal position – referred to as breech birth.
Birth injuries can be caused by a variety of medical mistakes, including a doctor’s failure to adequately foresee or respond to problems during childbirth. A doctor may also be held liable for improperly using medical devices or providing poor prenatal care.
While injuries to newborns often involve the head, neck and arms, injuries can be caused to any part of the body, including bruising, broken bones and fractures, nerve damage and hemorrhages. In some
cases, the injuries may lead to permanent medical conditions that require lifelong care.
For example, oxygen deprivation can lead cerebral palsy which is caused by damage to part of a baby’s brain that controls motor functions. A doctor’s improper use of forceps can also lead to damage of facial nerves and a baby can develop Bell’s palsy or facial paralysis. While bruised nerves often heal without treatment, torn nerves typically require surgery to restore function to the facial muscles.
In the end, birth injuries can leave a child in need of lifelong care which can be an emotional and financial burden for the parents. However, medical providers have a duty to provide the appropriate standard of care. By failing to recognize potential risks during the pregnancy or making medical mistakes during the delivery, doctors, hospitals and other medical professionals can be held liable for medical malpractice.