Birth Injuries and Wrongful Death
You should understand the difference between birth injuries and birth defects. Birth defects usually have one of two causes: genetic factors or the mother’s actions during her pregnancy. Down Syndrome, for example, is caused by a genetic defect. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome can be caused by a mother drinking during pregnancy.
Birth defects are determined before the child is born.
Birth injury, on the other hand, is the result of a medical complication that occurs during labor or birth. For example, if the baby is too large for the mother’s pelvic bone structure, a lengthy delivery might cause the baby to suffer either physical injury or temporary loss of oxygen. Loss of oxygen could cause brain damage.
Pregnancy and childbirth do carry some unavoidable risk. Sometimes, birth injuries are simply inescapable. Unfortunately, though, a physician’s or hospital’s actions or negligence can cause or aggravate a birth injury. When this happens, we can protect your legal rights and help you obtain the compensation you will need to care for your child’s injury or disability over his or her lifetime.
Three major causes of preventable birth injury are improper technique, improper equipment use, and lack of action or decision by the attending physician. If you suspect that one of these causes may have contributed to your baby’s injury, we can help you sort through the complex legal and medical issues to discover the primary cause of your child’s birth injury.
Types of Birth Injury
Medical malpractice can cause the following birth injuries:
- Birth paralysis. Can be caused by shoulder dystocia or cerebral palsy (see below). May range from loss of feeling in a single area of the body to quadriplegia: the loss of movement in all four limbs.
- Brachial Plexus Palsy Caused by shoulder dystocia (see below). Total brachial plexus palsy results in paralysis of the shoulder, arm and hand.
- Cerebral Palsy Overview Caused when blood flow (and oxygen) is cut off from the brain for an extended period of time. Cerebral palsy can often result when a cesarean section procedure is delayed.
- Erb’s Palsy A type of incomplete brachial plexus palsy that affects only the shoulder and upper arm.
- Klumpke’s palsy. A type of incomplete brachial plexus palsy that affects only the lower arm, wrist and hand.
- Shoulder dystocia. Occurs when the baby’s shoulder gets stuck on the mother’s pelvic bone. When not addressed promptly and correctly by the doctor, shoulder dystocia causes brachial plexus palsy.