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7.02.2024

Understanding Birth Injuries: Causes, Types, and What to Do

The joy of welcoming a newborn into the world can quickly turn into worry if you suspect your child may have suffered a birth injury. Newborn injuries can range from mild to severe, and they can have a lasting impact on your child's health and well-being. In this blog post the compassionate attorneys at Conner, Marr & Pinski aim to provide you with essential information about birth injuries, including common causes, different types, and the steps you can take to protect your child's future.

What is a Birth Injury?

A birth injury is an injury a baby sustains during pregnancy, childbirth, or shortly after birth. These injuries can affect any part of the body, including the brain, bones, muscles, and nerves. Birth injuries are often caused by medical negligence or complications during delivery.

It's important to distinguish between birth injuries and birth defects:

  • Birth injuries are caused by events during pregnancy, childbirth, or shortly after birth.
  • Birth defects are structural abnormalities present at birth that develop during pregnancy, often due to genetic or environmental factors.

Common Causes of Birth Injuries

  • Forceps or vacuum extraction injuries: These instruments, used to assist delivery in difficult situations, can cause bruising, skull fractures, or nerve damage if not used properly.
  • Oxygen deprivation: This can occur during labor and delivery, leading to brain damage, cerebral palsy, or other neurological problems.
  • Shoulder dystocia: When a baby's shoulder gets stuck in the birth canal, it can cause nerve damage, fractures, or brachial plexus injuries.
  • Umbilical cord complications: A compressed or prolapsed umbilical cord can restrict oxygen flow to the baby.
  • Medication errors: Incorrect dosage or administration of medication during pregnancy or labor can harm the baby.
  • Delayed C-section: When a C-section is necessary but delayed, it can increase the risk of oxygen deprivation and other complications.
  • Premature birth: Premature babies are more susceptible to certain birth injuries due to their underdeveloped organs and systems.

Types of Birth Injuries

  • Brachial plexus injuries: These injuries affect the nerves in the shoulder and arm, causing weakness, paralysis, or loss of sensation.
  • Cephalohematoma: This is a collection of blood under the scalp, which usually resolves on its own but can sometimes be serious.
  • Caput succedaneum: This is swelling of the scalp caused by pressure during delivery, which typically disappears within a few days.
  • Erb's palsy: A severe form of brachial plexus injury affecting the upper arm.
  • Klumpke's palsy: A severe form of brachial plexus injury affecting the lower arm and hand.
  • Fractures: Broken bones can occur during a difficult delivery, especially in the clavicle (collarbone).
  • Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE): This is a brain injury caused by oxygen deprivation, which can lead to learning disabilities, developmental delays, or cerebral palsy.
  • Spinal cord injuries: These injuries can be devastating, causing paralysis or other neurological problems.

What to Do If You Suspect a Birth Injury

If you suspect your child has suffered a birth injury, prioritizing their health comes first. Seek immediate medical attention from a qualified pediatrician or specialist. Early diagnosis and intervention are crucial for maximizing your child's long-term recovery and well-being. Beyond immediate medical care, here are some proactive steps you can take:

Document Everything: Keep meticulous records of all doctor visits, medications prescribed, test results, and any communication regarding your child's suspected birth injury. This detailed record keeping will be invaluable if you decide to pursue legal action.

Educate Yourself: Research different types of birth injuries. A reputable source like Cerebral Palsy Guide can provide valuable information on symptoms, causes, and potential treatments specific to your child's situation. Understanding the nature of the injury allows you to make informed decisions about their care.

Connect with a Montana Birth Injury Attorney: Consulting with an attorney experienced in birth injury cases is vital. They can advise you of your legal rights and explore potential options for compensation. These cases can be complex, and an attorney can navigate the legal system while you focus on your child's well-being. Remember, this consultation doesn't obligate you to pursue legal action, but it empowers you with knowledge and options.

Who Can Be Held Liable in a Birth Injury Case? 

Birth injuries caused by medical negligence can lead to legal claims against various healthcare providers. This negligence can encompass a range of situations. 

For instance, if a doctor fails to identify a high-risk pregnancy during prenatal care, missing crucial signs that could have warranted additional monitoring or earlier intervention. Additionally, medical staff deviating from established birthing procedures, such as improper use of forceps or vacuums during delivery, can cause unnecessary trauma to the baby. Furthermore, a delay in performing a C-section when medically necessary can deprive the baby of oxygen, leading to serious complications. 

It's important to remember that these are just a few examples, and medical malpractice can take many forms. If you suspect your child's birth injury resulted from negligence, consulting with a birth injury attorney is vital. An attorney can evaluate the specific circumstances of your case and determine if there are grounds for legal action.

Contact a Great Falls Personal Injury Attorney 

In the face of a possible birth injury, seeking legal guidance from a qualified Great Falls personal injury attorney is a critical decision. Conner, Marr & Pinski, with their expertise in birth injury cases, can provide invaluable support throughout this challenging time. 

Their team will thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding your child's birth, meticulously evaluate if medical negligence contributed to the injury, and clearly explain your legal options. Furthermore, they will be your strong advocate in pursuing the compensation your child rightfully deserves to cover medical expenses, potential lost wages due to caring for your child, and any other damages incurred. 

The compassionate attorneys at Conner, Marr & Pinski understand the immense emotional and financial burden a birth injury can cause and they are dedicated to helping you secure the resources necessary to ensure your child's future well-being.

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