The birth of a child is a joyous occasion. Unfortunately, problems during the birth process might cause harm to the mother or child. As a result, proper post-birth care is required for a successful delivery. Injuries caused by a failure to provide proper post-delivery care may constitute medical malpractice.
Post-Delivery Injury Lawyers
What Exactly is a Birth Injury?
Although having a baby in America is extremely safe, it is estimated that over 1,000 newborns are damaged during childbirth each year. It might be sad if your baby is harmed during birth, but most birth injuries are usually temporary.
Delivery injury to a newborn baby, often known as ‘neonatal birth trauma,’ can include everything from bruises to nerve damage to a shattered bone. Injuries might develop as a result of life-saving operations.
A birth injury affects approximately 49 out of every 10,000 babies born in American hospitals. Here are some examples of birth injuries that affect babies.
Scalp Bruising and Swelling
Minor, transitory injuries to the head or face might occur when a baby is born. These include bruises, swelling (also known as a chignon), lumps caused by fluid or bleeding under the skin (caput succedaneum), and blood inside the eye (subconjunctival hemorrhage).
When a baby has trouble passing through the birth canal, fractures (breaks) might occur. The collarbone (clavicle) is the most commonly broken bone, and this can occur when the baby’s shoulder becomes stuck (shoulder dystocia) or if the infant is born breech (bottom first).
Damage to the Nerves
During childbirth, nerves can be injured, notably in the baby’s face (which can result in facial paralysis) and the shoulder (which can result in brachial palsy – lack of arm mobility). Nerve injury in a baby is usually very transient.
A newborn can have a brain injury during childbirth in extremely rare situations. The infant may suffer brain damage if it does not receive enough oxygen for an extended period during labor (perinatal asphyxia). Cerebral palsy is a type of brain damage; however, only a small fraction of cases are caused by birth problems.
A baby may experience bleeding in or around the brain after birthing in rare situations. This is more common in very premature babies, and the majority of infants with bleeding have no symptoms. Others may be drowsy, have difficulties eating, or experience seizures.
What Factors Contribute to Birth Injury?
Birth injuries can develop simply as a result of the pressure and resistance involved in vaginal birth. The mother’s pelvic bones exert pressure on the baby’s skull and body as it passes down the delivery canal.
A large birth weight (above 4kg) increases the risk of damage during labor. Suppose the infant is in a problematic position for labor and birth; the risk increases (such as the breech position).
Premature babies born before 37 weeks are often more delicate and readily damaged.
Tough or extended labor, the shoulder becoming caught in the birth canal, and cephalopelvic disproportion (if the mother’s pelvis isn’t large enough or structured in a way that permits vaginal birth) are some reasons for birth harm to a newborn.
Babies born using forceps or a ventouse (vacuum) are more likely to have bruising, markings, or swelling on their heads or faces.
A lack of oxygen to the infant during birth could be caused by a variety of factors, including umbilical cord difficulties, significant events in the mother, such as hemorrhage or fever during labor, uterine rupture, or placental abruption (when it comes away from the uterus prematurely).
How Are Birth Injuries in Infants Treated?
The majority of birth injuries in babies are only transient. If the injury is to soft tissue, no treatment is usually required; the medical team will just monitor the infant and may do testing to rule out other injuries.
If your infant suffers a fracture, it may require an x-ray or other imaging. Some babies may require surgery to immobilize their limbs.
If your baby has nerve damage, the medical team will continuously watch them, and recovery may take several weeks. Your infant may require specialized care if they have more severe nerve damage.
What Are the Concerns After Delivery?
Even after a successful birth, several difficulties may endanger the mother’s or the child’s health. Mothers, in particular, may experience excessive bleeding and infections. Newborns might be damaged during delivery or suffer post-delivery traumas such as inadequate oxygen intake.
Accepted obstetrical medical treatment standards include:
- Preventing injuries with correct prenatal and postnatal treatments and diagnostics
- Monitoring for injuries that occur during or after delivery
- Injury therapy that is appropriate
What is the Treatment for Birth Injury?
Some birth injuries, such as a slight perineal rip or graze, may heal on their own. Other injuries, such as a deeper tear that requires stitches, require treatment at the time. You might also require pain treatment.
Treatments may include physiotherapy and pelvic floor muscle strengthening exercises if you suffer a more serious birth injury, such as a substantial tear or damage to the pelvic floor muscles. Some women may require vaginal pessaries or surgery to fix a prolapse.
Signs of pelvic floor injury or prolapse are sometimes not noticed and addressed until much later.
If you have had a birth injury, you may be more likely to have another one with your next child. Your doctor will discuss whether you should have a planned cesarean section the next time.
You should consult your doctor if you have any persistent symptoms, such as pelvic discomfort or bladder or bowel difficulties.
Symptoms and Warning Signs
Many postpartum problems can be successfully managed if caught early on.
Seek emergency assistance if you have the following:
- Chest ache
- Breathing difficulties or shortness of breath
- Thoughts of injuring yourself or your child
If you develop any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor:
- Blood clots the size of an egg or larger
- Bleeding and soaking through more than one pad each hour
- A wound that isn’t healing
- An unpleasant or warm-to-the-touch red or swollen leg
- A temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) or higher
- A headache that does not improve despite medicine, or a severe headache with vision changes
What Can My Doctor Be Held Accountable For?
Medical practitioners (doctors, nurses, etc.) have been found accountable for medical malpractice in the majority of cases where injuries occurred during and after the delivery procedure if the damage happened or was aggravated as a result of:
- Failure to communicate effectively with the doctor or the patient
- Incorrect or failed problem or condition diagnosis
- Incorrect treatment of an injury
- Incompetent injury treatment
What Factors Influence Liability?
There are several postpartum medical malpractice instances involving a wide spectrum of injuries. Liability is established only with adequate evidence to indicate that the alleged acts occurred and that these acts fell below the norms of appropriate medical care for the specific situation, as is the case with any medical malpractice.
Do You Require the Services of a Medical Malpractice Attorney?
If you or a loved one has been hurt due to medical negligence, you should contact a birth injury lawyer right once to learn more about the worth of your case, which can be held liable, and what types of recovery are available to you.
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