What Is a Birth Injury?
A birth injury is physical damage that occurs to a baby or mother during the birthing process. These injuries often occur during transit through the birth canal. It is common for newborns to have minor injuries at birth due to birthing complications. However, when medical personnel are negligent, severe injuries can occur.
During the course of labor, mothers are usually monitored by an electronic fetal heart monitor (EFM) that assists healthcare providers to determine the wellbeing of the baby. The EFM can show possible fetal distress, that the baby is not receiving enough oxygen during labor. This can lead to a brain injury in the baby if it is not recognized and appropriate steps are not taken to protect the baby.
If a baby sustains extended periods of hypoxia, lack of proper oxygenation, during labor and delivery the doctor, nurse, or midwife might be negligent and responsible for the injuries suffered by the newborn.
Another common birth injury is a nerve injury to the newborn’s shoulder and arm called Erb’s Palsy. This is most often caused by the baby being stuck in the birth canal at the time of delivery, called shoulder dystocia. As a result, the doctor or midwife apply pressure or traction to free the shoulder that results in a sometimes permanent injury to the shoulder and arm.
There are many risk factors that a mother might have for a large baby that causes the baby to be at higher risk of being stuck at the time of delivery. Failure to recognize those risks and plan for the possibility of shoulder dystocia may be a violation of the standard of care.
Mothers can also suffer injuries during and after birth. While some injuries may be related to pre-existing medical conditions, negligent doctors and nurses can also cause harm. If mothers are not treated appropriately immediately after birth and in the following days and months after birth, they can suffer serious injuries. These can include developing blood clots, excessive bleeding, and infections can lead to serious complications, or even wrongful death.
Also, newborn babies can suffer serious and even fatal injuries immediately following birth. If a newborn is not closely monitored after birth, he/she can have signs of infection, respiratory/breathing problems, heart conditions, or other issues that go undiagnosed and untreated. As a result they can suffer severe permanent injuries or even death.
If you had a newborn that appeared otherwise healthy at the time of delivery, who then developed post-delivery complications that lead to an injury, we recommend that you contact Atlee Hall to discuss whether this may have been due to the negligence of a healthcare provider.
Where Do Birth Injuries Occur in Pennsylvania?
Birth injuries can occur in any hospital or birthing center. They may even happen at home if parents opt for home delivery. Anywhere that a child is born, injuries can occur.
Harm may come to mothers in the hospital, birthing center, or at their OB-GYN’s office. Although their doctor may evaluate them regularly throughout the pregnancy, an injury could occur due to the negligence of a medical provider at any time.
Common Birth Injuries to Babies
Babies may suffer an array of injuries during birth, including:
- Cerebral palsy
- Untreated jaundice
- Birth infections
- Damage from forceps extraction
- Brain injury
- Fetal distress
- Birth asphyxia
- Umbilical complications
- Shoulder dystocia/Erb’s Palsy
If your child was diagnosed with a birth-related injury, you should immediately contact a birth injury lawyer in Lancaster, PA. Atlee Hall has a team of people ready to help.
Common Injuries Suffered by Mothers
Women who give birth can also suffer serious injuries before, during, and after having a child. Common injuries experienced by mothers include:
- Birth infections or sepsis
- Complications related to a delayed c-section
- Excessive bleeding or hemorrhage
- Prolapsed bladder
- Muscle tears
- Soft tissue tears
- Hairline fractures in the pubic bone
Liability in Birth Injury Cases
It can be challenging to determine the actual cause of a birth injury, whether the child is hurt or the mother suffers an injury. Doctors, nurses, midwives, anesthesiologists, and others may all be partially to blame. Also, the hospital, birthing center, or medical center that should have trained and provided capable medical personnel may be at fault.
Contact a Pennsylvania Birth Injury Lawyer for Help
If your child, wife, partner, or other loved one has been diagnosed with an injury or condition related to giving birth, you should speak with our attorneys right away. We have been working with victims like you for decades. We will help you find the resources you need and guide you through a personal injury claim.