Birth Injury Lawyer
Although technological advances have made labor and delivery far safer than in the past, traumatic birth injuries still occur far too often in the United States. While birth injury and trauma are sometimes unavoidable, medical complications caused by negligence or incompetence are inexcusable.
The Killino Firm’s birth injury lawyers have helped hundreds of families recover the compensation they deserve for preventable medical errors and negligence, earning national recognition for their aggressive pursuit of justice on behalf of injured infants and children. If your son or daughter was hurt during labor or delivery and you would like to speak with an experienced and compassionate birth trauma attorney today, please contact our law firm toll-free by calling 877-875-2927.
Birth Injury and Trauma in the United States
The National Vital Statistics Report defines birth injury as “an impairment of the neonate’s body function or structure due to an adverse event that occurred at birth.”
Birth injuries can range from mild to severe and are usually caused by mechanical forces accompanying labor and delivery. However, birth trauma is often entirely preventable and may also result from negligence or incompetence on the part of OB-GYNs, midwives, and other healthcare providers.
The United States sees an average of six to eight injuries per 1,000 live births. Because males tend to be larger at delivery, they’re more vulnerable to trauma while passing through the birth canal. As a result, baby boys are more likely to suffer a birth injury (6.9 for 1,000 live births) than baby girls (5.1 for every 1,000 live deliveries).
Infant mortality rates in the United States are approximately 586 for every 100,000 live births. Birth defects, low birth weight, and SIDS are the leading causes of newborn death. However, birth injuries account for about 20% of the fatalities reported every year, making birth trauma the fourth leading cause of infant death.
Birth Injury Causes
While birth injuries are often preventable, trauma is more likely when:
- A baby is large, in a breech position, or born prematurely.
- The size or shape of the mother’s pelvis or birth canal makes a vaginal birth difficult.
- Labor is long or difficult.
- The mother is significantly overweight.
- The infant is delivered via vacuum, forceps, or C-section.
Birth injuries related to medical malpractice or negligence may be caused by:
- Improper Use of Forceps: An OB-GYN may use forceps during delivery if an infant is not well-positioned in the womb or if the mother is having difficulty. While the correct use of forceps can reduce or prevent oxygen deprivation and fetal distress, improper use can lead to cerebral palsy and other debilitating birth injuries.
- Improper Vacuum Use: When delivery isn’t progressing, the attending physician may choose to use a vacuum to guide the baby through the birth canal. These devices are attached to the infant’s head or shoulder but can severely injure both mother and child if not used with care.
- Delayed C-Section: Uterine ruptures, cord prolapses, slowed labor, placenta previa (placenta covering the cervix), and other complications may necessitate a Cesarean section. However, if the delivery team members fail to recognize signs of trouble, the surgery may come too late to prevent injury to the mother and child.
- Hypoxia: Hypoxia can occur when a tangled umbilical cord, damaged placenta, infection, or other problem prevents oxygen from reaching the baby’s brain. The newborn may suffer chronic mental and physical disabilities if the OB-GYN or midwife fails to notice the signs of hypoxia.
Other preventable causes of birth injuries include:
- Improper use of the labor-inducing drug Pitocin.
- Failure to perform certain tests during pregnancy.
- Failure to diagnose umbilical cord entrapment, placenta previa, or premature rupture of the membranes.
- Neglecting to refer high-risk pregnancies to the appropriate specialists.
- Failure to recognize and address changes in fetal condition.
Common Birth Injuries
Some of the most common birth injuries associated with medical mistakes and negligence include:
- Bruising: Improper use of forceps can cause bruising on a newborn’s face and head. Fortunately, these injuries usually heal on their own and go away within a few weeks.
- Bone Fractures: A broken clavicle, or collar bone, is the most common birth-related fracture and may occur while delivering an infant’s shoulder due to dystocia or during a breech delivery.
- Brachial Palsy: Brachial palsy involves damage to the nerves that supply the arms and hands. The injury generally occurs because of shoulder dystocia. While most cases resolve themselves in a few months, torn nerves may result in permanent damage.
- Facial Paralysis.An infant may experience facial paralysis due to the improper use of forceps or pressure exerted on their face during labor or delivery. The paralysis usually resolves within a few weeks if the facial nerves were merely damaged. However, torn nerves may require surgery.
- Caput Succedaneum: Vacuum extraction may cause swelling of the scalp’s soft tissues, resulting in a “conehead” appearance. Most cases of caput succedaneum disappear within a few days, but if bruising occurs, the infant may develop jaundice.
- Cerebral Palsy: Trauma to the developing brain before, during, or after birth causes cerebral palsy, a chronic disorder marked by the loss of movement or other nerve functions. Most cases of fetal brain injury occur before babies are born, but about 20% of these injuries occur in the delivery room.
- Erb’s Palsy: Erb’s palsy is a form of paralysis that affects voluntary movement in the upper arm and rotation in the lower arm. The condition is usually associated with a difficult delivery related to shoulder dystocia. While many babies are successfully treated with physical therapy, occupational therapy, and hydrotherapy, severe Erb’s palsy may require nerve grafts, nerve decompression, or other surgical interventions. Some children will continue to experience lingering weakness in the affected arm, decreased range of motion, and other permanent complications.
Contact an Experienced Birth Injury Lawyer Today
No matter how severe your child’s birth injuries, the Killino Firm will ensure doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers are held accountable for the mistakes and negligence that led to your baby’s pain and suffering.
Our birth trauma lawyers will work closely with a team of medical experts to analyze birth records and determine the cause of your child’s injury. If we conclude that negligence was on display, our legal team will fight tirelessly to ensure you and your family receive the maximum compensation for all of your losses.
If you suspect your baby was harmed by medical negligence during labor or delivery, and you’d like to discuss your case with one of our knowledgeable and compassionate birth injury lawyers, please contact our law firm toll-free at 877-875-2927.