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Birth Injuries: What Parents Need To Know

Expectant parents spend a good deal of time dreaming about what it will be like to welcome a new son or daughter into their family. From painting the nursery and deciding on a name to purchasing a stroller and assembling a crib, there is a lot of planning and preparation that takes place in the months leading up to a baby's birth. Nothing, however, can prepare parents for the fear, anxiety and devastation that occur when complications arise during a baby's delivery.

If you are the mother or father of a child who suffered injuries during the delivery process, it's important to take legal action to discover who may be at fault. Children who suffer birth injuries may consequently suffer a range of physical and/or cognitive disabilities. For both the child and his or her parents, the associated life-long personal and financial costs are often significant.

Why Birth Injuries Happen

While many people regard the birth of a baby as being a natural and routine occurrence, there are a number of things that can go wrong during the delivery process. In some cases, the actions or failures of nurses, obstetricians and hospitals cause or contribute to a baby's injuries. Examples of medical negligence during a baby's delivery include:

  • Failure to closely monitor a mother's and baby's vital signs
  • Failure to identify that a baby is in distress
  • Delay in taking action during prolonged labor
  • Use of forecepts during delivery
  • Excessive use of force during delivery

Common Types Of Birth Injuries

Injuries suffered during a baby's delivery can vary greatly in severity and permanency. Some birth injuries may be treatable and therefore temporary in nature whereas others may cause permanent damage and life-long physical and/or mental disabilities. Some of the more common types of birth injuries include:

  • Hypoxic Ishemic Encephalopathy (HIE) - The result of oxygen deprivation, HIE causes brain damage and cognitive delays and impairments.
  • Cerebral palsy - Can result from oxygen deprivation, untreated infections and trauma during delivery and results in permanent brain damage that affects and impedes an individual's muscle and motor functioning.
  • Brachial plexus - Caused when a baby's upper arm suffers trauma during delivery; can result in muscle weakness and lack of coordination and use of affected arm.

How An Attorney Can Help

When negligence is suspected as causing or contributing to a birth injury, it's important to conduct a thorough investigation to determine what happened and who may be at fault. Parents can turn to an attorney who handles medical malpractice and birth injury claims to obtain legal assistance, guidance and advocacy. A successful medical malpractice claim can help account for the significant personal and financial losses associated with a birth injury and also help bring about safety and procedural changes to ensure that other families don't suffer the same fate.

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