Most Common Types of Birth Injury
If a baby is injured before, during, or shortly after delivery, it is defined as a birth injury. Birth injuries are not uncommon. Fortunately, many injuries are minor and heal on their own, while others heal with prompt medical treatment. Unfortunately, there are some that result in long-term complications or permanent disability.
Here, birth injury lawyers from Burke Argos in Irvine, CA, discuss some of the most common types of birth injury. We also go over how medical malpractice may result in these injuries, and how injury victims can pursue financial compensation for the physical, emotional, and financial damages of a birth injury.
During birth a baby has to travel through a narrow birth canal. This can be a difficult process, so head injuries are not unusual. Sadly, serious head injuries during birth can cause brain damage. Brain damage can also be caused by lack of oxygen, which may occur if the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck.
The effects of brain damage vary, depending on the extent of injury and the area of the brain that is affected. However, all types of brain damage have the potential to cause neurological and physical disabilities, which may include:
- Visual impairment
- Speech impairment
- Memory problems
- Muscle weakness
Cerebral palsy is a common result of brain injuries during birth. If there is bleeding in the brain, if a baby lacks oxygen, if they suffer a heart attack or stroke, or if they suffer from fever or infection, cerebral palsy may develop. Cerebral palsy may result in a wide range of side effects, including:
- Compromised muscle control
- Speech delays
- Developmental delays
There is no cure for cerebral palsy, but with treatment, symptoms can be managed so that children gain a degree of independence.
Erb’s palsy is a nerve injury that affects movement of the hand, arm, or shoulder. This injury can occur if the child’s upper body gets stuck in the birth canal, or if the neck or shoulder are pulled on excessively during birth. Many children with Erb’s palsy recover without treatment, but some need physical therapy or surgery to restore movement to the affected area.
Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy
Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, or HIE, is caused by a lack of oxygen and blood flow during birth. HIE can develop if birth is prolonged (and a C-section is delayed), if there is a placental rupture, or if the umbilical cord is prolapsed. HIE symptoms depend on the severity of the injury, but potential side effects include feeding problems, impaired vision or hearing, and seizures.
Jaundice is a fairly common newborn problem. This condition is caused by high levels of bilirubin, a pigment that can give the skin a yellow appearance. Most cases of jaundice resolve easily with treatment, but if the condition is not treated it can lead to kernicterus. Kernicterus develops when bilirubin collects in the brain. Left untreated, kernicterus can cause long-term complications, including seizures and brain damage.
Can I Sue for Medical Malpractice?
Birth injuries can sometimes be a result of medical malpractice. If a medical professional fails to deliver the accepted standard of care, or if they make a mistake that would not have been made by a similarly trained/experienced medical professional, that is classified as medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice victims have the right to sue for damages related to a birth injury, including pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages. Individuals who believe that medical malpractice may have caused a birth injury can work with the lawyers at Burke Argos in Irvine to explore their legal options.
Contact the Lawyers at Burke Argos
If your child has suffered a birth injury, the lawyers at Burke Argos can examine the details of your case to determine if there are grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. To schedule a consultation with our Irvine birth injury lawyers, contact our law firm online, or call (949) 438-4416.