When a child suffers an injury during the labor and delivery process, the consequences can be severe. Some types of birth injuries can lead to medical conditions that persist throughout the individual’s life, requiring expensive treatment, therapy and equipment. When a birth injury is caused by medical malpractice, parents need to be able to obtain compensation for the harm they and their child have suffered. Compensation is often needed in order to provide the child with necessary resources. Doctors and other medical professionals may have the best intentions, but if a medical mistake is the cause of a birth injury, then a lawsuit is an appropriate remedy. Medical malpractice insurance exists for this purpose.
The following are common birth injuries that may result from medical malpractice:
Cerebral palsy refers to different types of brain injuries that can occur during the labor and delivery process. A child who suffers from cerebral palsy may have problems with muscle control, limited movement, learning disabilities, or problems with vision, hearing or speech.
Erb’s palsy is caused when a baby’s shoulder becomes stuck behind the mother’s public bone during delivery, resulting in severe nerve damage. The condition can be temporary, but in some cases, permanent numbness or even paralysis can result.
Fetal distress or hypoxia occurs when an unborn fetus is not getting enough oxygen, sometimes due to complications with the umbilical cord. Medical personnel should carefully monitor the heart rate of a fetus and be prepared to give the mother more oxygen or to perform an emergency cesarean section.
Kernicterus is a type of brain damage that may result from severe jaundice. Jaundice occurs when levels of bilirubin, which is produced by the liver, are too high. Babies experiencing severe jaundice may have difficulty staying awake and may seem to be lacking in muscle tone, followed by arching of the head and back. When symptoms appear, medical personnel must act quickly to administer the proper treatment to prevent further injury.
Brachial plexus injuries involve damage to a bundle of nerves that serves the arms and hands. This is usually caused when there is a problem delivering the baby’s shoulder, which is known as shoulder dystocia. This injury can result in pain, bruising and swelling, and it may cause permanent nerve damage.
If your child suffered a birth injury that you believe may be the result of medical malpractice, contact Briskman Briskman & Greenberg to learn more about your rights.