There is no greater joy than welcoming a new, little baby into this universe. However, the delivery process can be a painstaking one for some women and, in some cases, the newborn can suffer a birth injury. A birth injury, or birth trauma, is a physical injury that the baby suffers simply as a result of simple birth. There is a litany of factors that can lead to such injuries and, in some cases, a lawsuit and a chance at compensation for serious injury.
According to one of the top birth injury lawyers in Chicago, one of the common medical malpractice lawsuits is over issues in the birthing process when a Cesarean section, or C-section, is involved. C-sections account for roughly a third of all births in the United States, usually chosen by an expecting mother’s medical staff because the fetus is too large for the mother’s birth canal. While most C-sections are safe, there are issues that lead a family to pursue a birth injury case.
An infant may require stitches or even a permanent disability because of cuts and lacerations brought on by medical errors during the Cesarean section, particularly a carelessness by medical professionals in the delivery process. This can lead to potentially severe injuries, including amputation of fingers or organ damage. In some cases where a C-section is performed too late, even if in the best interest, and a baby can suffer from a lack of oxygen. This oxygen deprivation can result in developmental delays and potentially lead to brain damage. Tragically, while rare, birth injuries during an improperly performed C-section can lead to the wrongful death of the newborn.
Medical Negligence During Childbirth
An expecting mother relies on their gynecologist or obstetrician, along with other members of their care team, to be vigilant and address issues with the pregnancy in a timely manner. However, medical negligence during pregnancy is another common cause of birth injuries among newborns. This often involves failure by gynecologists or other medical professionals to diagnose conditions or misdiagnosis for both the fetus or the mother. Obstetricians must properly screen the mom-to-be for high-risk conditions to ensure safe childbirth, including:
- Umbilical cord issues
- Gestational diabetes
- Potential fetal distress
Failure by a healthcare provider to properly monitor medical records and address these issues or deliver a misdiagnosis can cause serious harm during the delivery process or major birth defects. This can even lead to a permanent brain injury to the baby, especially if a lack of oxygen is brought on by this medical neglect. Cerebral palsy has been commonly linked to medical malpractice and has led some families to pursue birth injury litigation to cover medical expenses for the severity of the injury.
The Mother’s Health
Beyond issues in the delivery process and with medical care providers, a birth injury can be the result of issues within the mother’s birth canal. Sometimes, the size or shape of the mother’s pelvis can make it difficult for normal vaginal birth. This can lead to some common birth injuries, including swelling of the newborn’s head or even bone fracture in the clavicle. A difficult time in labor can also lead to those birth injuries, especially when contractions aren’t strong enough to move the baby through the birth canal.
This could lead to the use of devices, like a vacuum or forceps, to deliver the child, leading to potential nerve injuries or broken bones that can be caused by hospital staff in the delivery room. Other health issues for the mother, including obesity, can have an impact on the birthing process. This increases the risk of certain abnormalities and potential injuries for the mother including gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. It could lead to a birth injury claim if a proper level of care was not provided to the mother-to-be.