No Fee Unless We Win:

What Are Some Common Birth Injuries Caused by Medical Negligence?

Birth Injuries Commonly Caused by Medical Malpractice

No matter how many birthing classes you take, few things can prepare you for when something goes wrong during the labor and delivery process. Unfortunately, birth injuries caused by medical negligence happen throughout the United States. Trauma caused at birth can cause lifelong health conditions that may impact your child’s development or mobility.

If your child is diagnosed with a birth injury, you should speak with an attorney. If your child’s birth injury was caused by medical negligence, you may have the right to compensation. Compensation may help to cover your child’s medical bills and more. 

At Bailey Cowan Heckaman, we have extensive experience working with medical malpractice victims and their families. Contact our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. When you retain our services, there are never any fees unless we win. Our lawyers proudly represent clients throughout Houston and statewide.

What is Considered Medical Negligence?

Medical negligence occurs when a healthcare provider does not provide a reasonable standard of care. When a healthcare provider’s negligence causes injury to the patient, it may rise to medical malpractice. 

If your child suffers an injury as a result of trauma before, during, or immediately after birth, it may have been caused by medical negligence. It is important to note that birth injuries are not the same as birth defects. Birth defects develop while a child is still in utero and present as a structural change. As reported by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a child is born with a birth defect every 4 ½ minutes. 

Birth injuries, on the other hand, are generally caused by trauma. They are more likely to be caused by medical negligence compared to a birth defect.

Cerebral Palsy

One of the most common conditions caused by birth injuries is cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to a developing brain or abnormal brain development. Most often, the damage occurs prior to birth. Cerebral palsy (CP) affects a person’s mobility. It is often characterized by the loss of a person’s ability to control their movement or muscle.

The symptoms of CP can vary and range in severity. Depending on the type of cerebral palsy a person may have:

  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Require special equipment to walk
  • Stiff muscles (spasticity)
  • Uncontrollable movements
  • Poor balance and coordination
  • Vision or hearing problems
  • Trouble with speech
  • Joint problems
  • Seizures
  • Changes in the spine (scoliosis)

Cerebral palsy is the most common childhood motor disability. It affects a large number of children each year. In some cases, the condition is caused when a developing brain does not receive enough oxygen. If a medical provider fails to monitor for this during pregnancy or labor and delivery, it may amount to medical negligence.

Erb's Palsy

Another common condition caused by trauma during the birthing process is Erb’s Palsy. Erb’s Palsy, also known as Erb-Duchenne paralysis, is characterized by weakness in the shoulder or arm or a loss of muscle function. It occurs when there is damage to the brachial plexus, a group of nerves that connect the spine to the upper extremities. 

Erb’s palsy is the most prevalent form of brachial plexus palsy. There are four types of Erb’s palsy, according to the Cleveland Clinic:

  • Avulsion: Avulsion occurs when the nerve is ripped away from the spine. It is the most serious form of Erb’s palsy.
  • Neurapraxia: Neurapraxia occurs when the nerve is stretched but not completely torn. It is the leading form of Erb’s palsy.
  • Neuroma: Neuroma occurs when the nerve is torn but has healed, leaving scar tissue. The scar tissue continues to disrupt signals between the nerve and the muscles.
  • Rupture: Rupture occurs when the nerve is torn but has not completely ripped away from the spine.

Erb’s palsy is a serious condition that can affect children born by cesarean section or vaginal delivery. A healthcare provider who uses too much force can cause the nerves to stretch or tear, resulting in significant trauma.

Facial Nerve Injuries

During a difficult or prolonged labor, a healthcare provider may try to use force to move a fetus through the birth canal. When too much force is applied, damage can be done to the facial nerves. In some cases, the force may be considered medical negligence. Healthcare providers should monitor for fetal distress and should consider ordering a cesarean section if there could be harm to the infant.

Facial palsy is frequently seen when there is the use of forceps and other assistive devices. Compression against the infant’s nerves can cause damage. They may stretch or tear, causing weakness or complete paralysis in severe cases.

Brachial Plexus Injuries

The use of force or assistive devices during labor can cause severe damage to the nerves that connect the spine to the upper extremities. When this group of nerves, the brachial plexus, is damaged, it can result in serious injury, such as Erb’s Palsy. 

Brachial plexus injuries are common. They can cause irreparable damage. Depending on the type of damage, a child may experience weakness or even paralysis in their arm or hand as a result of the injury.

Other Common Birth Injuries

Any type of trauma experienced before, during, or after labor and delivery may cause a birth injury. It is important to consult with an attorney to determine your rights, including whether you have a valid claim for damages. In addition to those listed above, there are a number of other types of birth injuries that may be caused by medical negligence.

Other common birth injuries:

  • Bruising or fractures: Excessive force or the improper use of forceps or vacuum extraction may result in harmful bruising to an infant. In extreme cases, it may result in a skull fracture or other broken bones. Any swelling detected after birth should be diagnosed and treated to prevent further harm.
  • Hemorrhages: Trauma during the birthing process may cause blood vessels to break, resulting in bleeding. Subconjunctival hemorrhage, or the breakage of blood vessels around the eyes, is one of the most common forms. 
  • Caput succedaneum: The use of assistive delivery devices such as vacuum extraction may cause substantial swelling around the head. Swelling can be severe in some cases.
  • Oxygen deprivation: During pregnancy and throughout the labor and delivery process, fetal monitoring can help ensure that the infant is not being deprived of oxygen. Oxygen deprivation can result in brain damage and significant delays. Oxygen deprivation can cause a brain injury known as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).
  • Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE): Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy or HIE occurs when there is a lack of oxygen or blood flow to the brain. The lack of oxygen or blood flow can cause a number of adverse health conditions, including cerebral palsy. HIE is also referred to as birth asphyxia.
  • Cephalohematoma: The use of forceps or other force may cause trauma to an infant’s skull. In some cases, it may cause bleeding under the cranial bone referred to as cephalohematoma.

Any abnormalities after the birth of your child should be thoroughly investigated. If your child is diagnosed with a birth injury, you may be able to pursue legal action.

Legal Implications and Considerations

If medical negligence caused your child’s birth injury, you might have a valid claim for damages. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim against a negligent hospital or healthcare provider. Birth injury cases are often challenging. There may be multiple parties that were at fault for your child’s harm, and they often have significant resources to help protect them. 

Without legal representation, you may end up settling your child’s case for less than it is worth or for nothing at all. A birth injury can have long-term effects on your child’s health and development. They may have extensive medical bills or need additional care and treatment. A personal injury lawsuit can help you secure compensation to cover all of your child’s current and future medical expenses. 

Working with an attorney can help ensure you get justice on behalf of your child. At Bailey Cowan Heckaman, we have a proven track record of success. For over 30 years, our firm has provided experienced legal counsel to birth injury victims and their families. When your child is hurt by someone else’s negligence, you need a firm that is not afraid to fight to get the results you deserve.

Bailey Cowan Heckaman Law Office

If your child sustained an injury at birth, it is strongly recommended that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible. The legal team at Bailey Cowan Heckaman is well-versed in handling birth injuries and will fight to ensure your child receives the compensation they need to continue receiving the best care possible.

Contact our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Birth injuries resulting from medical negligence are heart-wrenching and usually preventable. Get the legal help you need today. Contact our office to speak directly with a birth injury lawyer about your child’s case. There are never any fees unless we win your case. 

Share This Story
If you found this article helpful your friends might too! Please consider sharing this story to your social media channels by tapping the buttons below. 
Begin Your Journey to Justice Today

No Fee Unless We Win:
Quick Links
chevron-down linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram