Birth Injuries from Medical Negligence
If your child has suffered a birth injury, how do you know whether it was due to medical negligence?
It can be hard to determine the cause, and the staff at the hospital are not always eager to share the information you need to know.
Minor Birth Injuries
Not all birth injuries are serious. Some minor birth injuries will pass on their own without little or no treatment, and leave little, if any, permanent effect. Some examples include:
- Subdural or cerebral hemorrhage
- Subarachnoid hemorrhage
- Clavicle fracture
- Caput succedaneum
Although your baby’s risk of these types of injuries can be increased by the delivery techniques used and may be attributable to medical negligence, their transitory nature means they do not usually merit a medical negligence lawsuit.
Moderate Birth Injuries
Some birth injuries cause lasting damage, and can be caused by a failure to live up to the professional standards of care. These include:
- Facial nerve injury
- Brachial plexus injury
- Intraventricular hemorrhage
In general, facial nerve injury and brachial plexus injury are more likely to be associated with medical negligence. Improper handling of a difficult birth, overuse or improper use of extraction tools or failure to recommend a cesarean section for an at-risk birth may increase the risk of injury. Although it used to be thought that 90% of infants with brachial plexus injury recovered fully without treatment, it is now believed that up to 30% of infants with brachial plexus injury will suffer residual effects.
Serious Birth Injuries
Some birth injuries almost always result in lifelong effects that may reduce your child’s ability to live a healthy, normal life and may require long-term ongoing care. These include:
These can both be caused by medical negligence. Spinal cord injury can result from inappropriate handling of the baby during delivery. Cerebral palsy can be caused by a lack of oxygen to a baby’s brain during a difficult or prolonged delivery. The impact of these injuries is tremendous. Studies indicate cerebral palsy effectively doubles your child’s medical care expenses and may result in a lifetime cost of about $1 million.