It is important to understand the difference between an injury caused by medical staff during labor and delivery and a genetic disorder. The delivery team is not responsible for an illness or defect the baby had in utero. However, if someone’s actions caused harm to an otherwise healthy baby during delivery, he or she can be held responsible. The most common birth injuries resulting in medical malpractice claims include the following:
Most Common Birth Injuries | Cerebral Palsy
Caused by brain damage occurring just before or during birth, cerebral palsy affects body movement, muscle control, muscle tone, and reflex. Individuals can suffer severe physical impairment for which there is no cure or treatment. Lack of oxygen during delivery can cause cerebral palsy in newborns. If a doctor fails to monitor the baby for fetal distress during labor, he may be responsible for the resulting injury.
Most Common Birth Injuries | Brachial Plexus Injury
When the nerves in the neck and shoulder area are damaged or severed during delivery, the result can be an inability to use the muscles of the upper arm, shoulder, and hand. Depending on the severity of the injury, damage could be temporary or the child could suffer from a loss of arm function for life. Two types of brachial plexus injury include Erb’s palsy, affecting the upper arm, and Klumpke’s palsy, affecting the nerves of the lower arm.
Most Common Birth Injuries | Brain Damage
When forceps are used improperly during delivery, the baby’s soft skull can be crushed, causing brain bleeds and brain damage. The damage could result in cerebral palsy, seizures, or developmental delays. Bruising on the scalp and swelling of the head can be indications of brain damage following a forceps delivery.
Many of these injuries can be avoided with a timely Caesarian section, but doctors often avoid this costly procedure. When a newborn suffers unnecessarily or is permanently disabled because of a botched delivery, the medical team should be held accountable. Contact our Pittsburgh birth injury attorneys today to find out how we can help.