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Birth Injuries Resulting From Hospital Staff or Midwife Negligence

Negligence on the part of hospital staff or midwives can lead to birth injuries.

chicago nurse holding newborn

Negligence in any form can seriously affect the health of a pregnant mother and her baby. Therefore, all pregnant mothers are advised to exercise utmost care during their gestation period. However, when medical negligence results in a birth injury, especially in the hands of a supposedly trained hospital staff or a midwife, the whole experience of childbirth turns traumatic. In this post, our Chicago birth injury lawyer will discuss how negligence on the part of hospital staff or midwives can cause birth injuries.

Hospital staff negligence and birth injuries

All new mothers want the best for their unborn children. They expect that the hospital staff is well trained and experienced, and do not commit mistakes that can severely cost the health of the infant and the mother. However, there are many ways that hospital staff can be negligent and cause birth injuries.

  • If any negligent hospital staff member picks up an infant without supporting the head, brain injuries and disabilities like Erb’s Palsy can occur.
  • Incorrect medication or inappropriate dosage of medication to the mother or infant can cause a host of other complications.
  • Negligence on part of hospital staff while administering vaccinations, or conducting screening or physical check-ups can lead to a number of physical injuries, infections, and other complications.

It is essential that all hospital staff is well trained before handling a new born. Any form of negligence can amount to medical malpractice. Parents, on the other hand should ensure that they are vigilant, and are always present around their new babies during screenings and check-ups.

Midwife negligence and birth injuries

Many parents prefer to hire the services of a midwife to deliver their baby in the comfort of their homes. While midwives may have enough experience in handling deliveries, they are usually not trained as an emergency medical technician (EMT). This means that if a medical complication occurs, midwives generally cannot offer more help than calling the emergency medical services. In such situations, the infant may sustain severe birth injuries like permanent brain damage leading to serious mental and physical disabilities like cerebral palsy or even death.

Liability

Liability usually depends on the place where the injury occurred. For example, if the injury takes place due to the negligence of a nurse, her employer – the hospital – can be held liable for the injury.

At times, when certain medications are responsible for injuries, the pharmaceutical company can be held liable for failure to issue warnings about possible side effects.

Birth injuries Caused by Labor and Delivery Room Negligence

Any trauma that a baby suffers during the birthing process is referred to as a birth injury. Some birth injuries are unavoidable, because of certain factors such as mother’s health during pregnancy, which can cause complications during pregnancy. However, some birth injuries are caused by the negligence of doctors.

Negligence in the Delivery Room

Medical negligence in the delivery room is among the many causes of birth injuries. It is unfortunate that medical negligence can be avoided if the doctors do their job well. This starts well before the mother reaches labor or delivery, while the mother is still gestating. Birth injuries resulting from medical negligence are often serious, and can have lifelong effects such as permanent brain damage that can change the child’s life forever, or even cause death. The resulting physical and mental disabilities may necessitate extensive and prolonged treatment, and the expenses may run into thousands of dollars.

There are several reasons why medical negligence occurs. Some of these include:

  • Lack of training
  • Bad decision-making
  • Being fatigued
  • Miscommunication
  • Not caring or paying attention

Some common mistakes made by doctors and other medical practitioners include:

  • Failing to provide proper pre-natal care
  • Failing to monitor fetal distress
  • Inappropriate timing of Caesarian Section
  • Unnecessary or improper use of potentially dangerous labor equipment

Common Birth Injuries That Occur

When an injury occurs during labor and delivery, the results are often devastating. Some of the most common birth injuries resulting from labor and delivery room negligence include the following:

Caput Succedaneum – A swelling in the infant’s head that can result from improper vacuum extraction.

Cephalhematoma – It is one of the most common cranial injuries that a baby may suffer especially during vacuum extraction a forceps-assisted delivery.

Fractured bones – An assisted or improperly performed delivery can result in fractured bones. Forceps and vacuum extractors can cause skull fractures during birth. Besides the skull, the clavicle can also get fractured if the baby has wide shoulders or is large. The doctors have to be extra careful in maneuvering the infant out of the vaginal canal to avoid any injury.

Bruising – Improper use of birth assisting devices such as forceps can cause bruising on the infant’s face and head.

Facial paralysis – This happens when the infant’s facial nerves get injured during delivery.

Brachial Plexus – The brachial plexus is a network located near the neck, which provides movement and sensation to the hand, fingers and arms. Overstretching of the brachia plexus can cause weakness and loss of movement of the arm. The injury often occurs during a difficult delivery when the infant’s neck and head, or shoulder gets pulled as the shoulders pass through the birth canal.

Brain injury – Brain injuries can result from several lapses on part of the medical practitioners. Inability to detect signs of oxygen deprivation and some other injuries can cause permanent brain damage.

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