Clinical Negligence in Its Most Fearsome Form: 5 Facts About Birth Injury

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Birth injury of any kind is a heartbreaking ordeal for any family. While every mother wants to leave the delivery room without incident, each year more than 25,000 infants in the United States suffer some kind of birth injury. Birth injuries take different forms and can feature a number of complications. Whether the injury is caused by the negligence of a doctor, nurse, or other medical providers, the damage can be long-lasting, and in the worst-case scenario, could lead to premature death. Here are five facts about birth injury that you could find useful.

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Birth Injuries are Common

In the United States, for every 1000 infants born, roughly 7 will suffer a birth injury, which amounts to approximately 1 in every 9,714 infants born with a birth injury. Some 28,000 infants are born each year with a birth injury. Birth injuries appear to be more prevalent among younger mothers between the ages of 25 and 34, whose physicians employed the use of birthing tools like a vacuum or forceps.

There are Several Common Birth Injuries

A number of birth injuries can occur that stems from medical malpractice and negligence, or a lack of diligent medical care. Some of the most common forms of birth injuries include:

  • Brachial plexus injuries (Erb’s palsy): Occurs when the nerves responsible for moving the arms and hands (brachial plexus) is injured.
  • Cerebral palsy: Neurological disorder that affects the ability to move and keep balance and posture
  • Facial Paralysis: Can occur when physicians use forceps or a vacuum extraction to pull the baby out, causing excessive pressure on the baby’s face, which results in nerve damage.
  • Fractures: Clavicle fracture is the most common type of fracture during delivery and tends to occur in breech births, where a delivering physician pulls on the infant too hard, breaking the collarbone.

Different Reasons for Birth Injuries

  • Head Trauma during Delivery: Can result in damage to the brain and nervous system, and is one of the most common injuries leading to cerebral palsy.
  • Forcible Delivery: Some mothers may need help in delivering their baby, resulting in the doctor’s decision to use forceps, a vacuum, or forced pressure to aid the delivery. Brachial plexus injuries are common with forcible delivery.
  • Delayed Delivery: Sometimes complications, like macrosomia (large baby), or injuries are not diagnosed and treated quickly, and lead to an injury.
  • Medical Negligence of Error: An injury occurs when a delivering doctor, for example, fails to act with a reasonable standard of care, skill, or judgment.

Birth Injuries Can Have Lifelong Consequences

Birth injuries can have serious consequences that a family may not be prepared to confront. Long-term medical issues can include:

  • Decreased innervation
  • Decreased strength and stamina
  • Altered Movement and biomechanics
  • Impaired bone growth
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Scoliosis
  • Emotional and psychological challenges
  • Osteoarthritis and joint dysfunctions

Birth Injuries Commonly Carries Financial Burdens

Birth injuries typically require consistent medical treatment and rehabilitation. The severity of the injury can amount to huge financial costs. The cost of care is often exacerbated by lost wages when a parent has to stay home to assist with care. Long-term care can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Birth injury is a sad and serious ordeal. Every year, thousands of infants suffer a brain injury during delivery. It can lead to lifelong complications and prove costly when it comes to medical care. The Levin Firm can help you handle your birth injury claim and get answers about how and why your infant’s birth injury occurred.

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