Types of Birth Injuries Due to Medical Malpractice
Among the most catastrophic type of injuries arising from medical negligence or medical malpractice are those associated with childbirth. There are three types of birth injuries arising from medical negligence or medical malpractice that are most prevalent in the United States:
- Oxygen deprivation (hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy)
- Head trauma
- Bone fractures
Each year in the United States, approximately 30,000 babies are born with some type of birth-related injury. That breaks down to approximately 500 birth injuries occurring every week or one baby born with a birth injury approximately every 20 minutes. Over 80 percent of babies suffering from a birth injury have a moderate to severe injury.
Common Types of Birth Injuries
Oxygen deprivation, or HIE, head trauma and bone fractures are the three most common types of birth injuries babies suffer during the birthing process.
1. Oxygen Deprivation
Oxygen deprivation during the childbirth process represents the most frequently occurring type of birth-related injury arising from medical negligence or medical malpractice. This is called hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, or HIE.
Oxygen deprivation injuries can occur when the birth process is prolonged for an unreasonable period of time. Before a mother goes into labor, a baby obtains oxygen and nutrients via the umbilical cord and amniotic fluid.
Once labor commences, and a mother’s water breaks, the amniotic fluid is gone. The baby has resources for oxygen that allow the travel through the birth canal to occur safely. This means that there is a certain amount of time to deliver a baby so that the baby is not deprived of oxygen for long periods of time.
During the labor stage, there is constant monitoring of the baby. When there is stress to the baby, the doctors and nurses must act quickly to alleviate and remove the stress to the baby. If this is not possible, then an emergency delivery is needed.
When a baby is deprived of oxygen for long periods of time, the baby can experience hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, which may result in permanent brain damage.
2. Head Trauma
The reality is that some births necessitate intervention from a doctor to assist a child in passing through the birth canal. A doctor might use either forceps or vacuum extraction in the event a baby needs assistance to pass through the birth canal.
Using forceps or vacuum extraction may be necessary to successfully and safely deliver a baby to avoid any prolonged birth process or oxygen deprivation. However, there may be some instances where using forceps or vacuum extraction can cause significant head trauma to the baby.
An unborn baby has a soft skull which allows the baby to pass more easily through the birth canal. Due to its softness, a baby’s skull is more susceptible to damage if forceps or vacuum extraction have to be used. For example, a doctor can cause substantial head trauma if applying too much pressure when using forceps or vacuum devices when delivering the baby.
3. Brachial Plexus Injury and Shoulder Dystocia
The third frequently occurring type of birth injury resulting from medical negligence or medical malpractice involves a brachial plexus injury, bone fractures, or shoulder dystocia. The most common type of shoulder injury that a baby can suffer during the birth process is a broken clavicle or collar bone. Other commonly occurring birth-related bone fractures include a brachial plexus injury or shoulder dystocia when the arm is pulled improperly during birth. These injuries can cause life-long disabilities.
Seek Legal Counsel from an Experienced Birth Injury Attorney
Pursuing a claim for birth injuries is one of the most challenging types of legal matters to pursue. A parent who wants to pursue a medical malpractice claim on behalf of an injured child must hire an experienced attorney. To ensure the best outcome for your case, seek advice from an experienced medical malpractice lawyer with a strong record of success representing clients in birth injury cases.
At Vinkler Law Offices, our legal team has substantial experience in handling birth injury and birth trauma cases with the expertise and record of success to achieve results for you and your family. If you or your child has been injured or died as a result of negligent medical treatment during pregnancy, delivery, or aftercare, contact the birth injury attorneys at Vinkler Law Offices for your free case review and confidential consultation.