When a medical professional fails to act with a reasonable degree of care, skill, or judgment, he or she may be considered negligent and held responsible for your child’s birth injury. If your healthcare provider caused or could have prevented the injury, the Houston birth injury lawyers at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law may be able to help.
The following are the two most common forms of negligence that may be considered in a birth injury case:
- Medical Negligence: Your doctor or healthcare provider failed to detect a potentially harmful condition or improperly performed a procedure during the pregnancy or childbirth process.
- Labor and Delivery Negligence: During childbirth, your doctor, healthcare provider, or member of the professional birthing team misused instruments or did not properly monitor the vital signs of mother or baby, causing a needless and foreseeable injury.
Hypoxia/Anoxia-Related Brain Injuries in Newborns
Infant hypoxia occurs when a newborn’s brain’s oxygen supply is significantly restricted. Most often it occurs as the baby travels through the birth canal and either becomes stuck or the umbilical cord becomes wrapped around the baby’s head. It is commonly avoided through delivery by caesarian section. Failure to do so can result in the baby’s being afflicted with Cerebral Palsy (CP) or another brain disorder that permanently threatens his or her future — and sometimes his or her very life. When the brain is completely deprived of oxygen for several minutes, it is referred to as anoxia.
Both conditions can also be associated with premature births when the baby’s lungs are underdeveloped. The harm often occurs while a baby is in utero and relates to medications prescribed to the mother; it can also follow the OB-GYN’s failure to properly diagnose or treat injuries to the mother or child during pregnancy. Either can also represent medical malpractice if the physician mis-prescribed medications or did so without conducting proper pre-treatment tests.
Other Birth Injuries to Newborns
Babies are born with soft, flexible bones and travel through a tight birth canal. Minor injuries are not uncommon, especially during traditional vaginal deliveries. The birthing process often produces minor swelling and bruising along the newborn’s scalp, forehead, nose, and neck, especially if forceps are used. If the areas don’t clear up in a couple of weeks, the infant should be examined by a pediatrician who specializes in soft tissue delivery injuries. If left undiagnosed, expensive corrective surgery maybe needed a few years later.
If the baby is a breech delivery (feet first), injuries may occur to the hips, buttocks, and legs. If they don’t begin disappearing within a week, it could be a concern. But lumps, depressions, or abnormal bruising can suggest injuries from instruments used to extract the newborn and may be the result of medical malpractice.
The most common injury — dystocia –occurs during difficulty delivering the baby’s shoulders. When dystocia has occurred, the baby has difficulty flexing and rotating the affected arm. If bruising and swelling occur around the nerves, movement normally returns in a few months. But if nerves are torn, permanent damage may be present.
One common clue that something might be wrong with your newborn after the birth is a low APGAR (Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, Respiration) test score. APGAR data can be significant evidence of injury to the child. The test is given to a baby immediately after birth. A cumulative score of less than 5 strongly indicates the baby needs medical attention. Scores less than 4, when tested again a few hours later, could suggest longer-term neurological damage and a heightened risk for cerebral palsy.
Prenatal Injuries and Those That can Happen to the Mother
During pregnancy, the two most typical birth injuries to mothers and fetuses can be traced to drug interactions or the failure of the prenatal doctor to appropriately monitor the mother and expected child.
Do you suspect a possible birth injury occurred during your pregnancy or labor, or the delivery or birth of your child? In many instances, birth injuries are preventable and the product of negligence by your doctor or delivery team. Though most are commonly preventable or more easily treated with timely diagnosis, when they do occur they can be life-altering (or life-threatening). The entire family can face the devastating consequences.
If you suspect a birth injury to your newborn, please click the contact link or call (800) 444-5000. Time is of the essence. The faster the seasoned Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law firm begins investigating, the better the chances we can find out what happened and help you to recover full and fair damages. Our goal is to ensure a stable and rewarding life for your child and your family.