Texas Birth Injury Attorneys
Common Birth Injuries
Birth injuries, also known as birth traumas, refer to injuries sustained by a baby due to complications that occur during labor and delivery. Birth injuries are sometimes unavoidable, but some occur as a result of mistakes made by the delivering physician or nurse. If cases of medical malpractice such as this, the parents of the baby may be entitled to bring a medical malpractice suit against those who inflicted the injury.
- Bruising and Forceps Marks: Sometimes a baby will have bruising on its face or head. If forceps or vacuum suction are used during a delivery, they may cause temporary marks, bruising or even lacerations. In extreme cases, the use of forceps may cause depressed skull fractures which may need to be repaired through surgery.
- Subconjunctival Hemorrhage: A bleeding beneath the eyes. This injury results in the appearance of a bright red band around the iris of one or both of the baby's eyes. Caused by broken blood vessels, the condition is harmless and will usually resolve on its own within two weeks.
- Caput Succedaneum: Severe swelling of the baby's scalp, most likely to occur with vacuum extraction. Usually, the swelling disappears within days of the birth.
- Cephalohematoma: Bleeding that occurs between the bone and its fibrous covering; in birth injuries, the affected bone is usually on the baby's head. Cephalohematomas usually resolve within a few weeks to a few months, but if the injury is particularly bad the baby may develop jaundice.
- Cerebral Palsy: This is a disease that many children are born with. Although it does not get worse over time, the symptoms can manifest themselves in different ways, which may appear as if the condition is progressing. It is most commonly caused by nerve damage during pregnancy or during a traumatic childbirth. There is no cure, but those with cerebral palsy may benefit from lifelong therapy.
- Facial Paralysis: Pressure on the face during labor or birth, particularly in cases where forceps are used, may result in an injury to one or more of the baby's facial nerves. If the nerve is only bruised, the paralysis will resolve within a few weeks. If, however, more severe nerve damage is incurred, the injury may require surgery.
- Brachial Palsy Injuries: The brachial plexus is the group of nerves that control movement of arms and hands. Brachial palsy injuries usually result from deliveries where the baby's shoulder gets stuck or caught. When brachial nerves are injured, the baby is left unable to flex or rotate his or her arms. The condition often resolves on its own; where more serious damage has occurred, physical therapy, or surgery may be required.
- Fractured Bones: The most common fracture incurred during birth is that of the collar bone. This injury usually results from difficult births or breech deliveries. If the bone is properly immobilized, it usually heals quickly.
- Brain Injury: During birth, the baby may experience oxygen deprivation as a result of blood loss, compression and/or entanglement of the umbilical cord. If the baby's oxygen is cut off for too long, brain damage may occur, potentially resulting in the development of seizure disorders, cerebral palsy, or mental impairment.
Important Birth Injury Terms to Know
Those with children who sustained trauma at birth may benefit from having a greater understanding of some important terms.
These terms are listed and defined below:
- Bilirubin: This is a colored substance (appears yellow) that is formed when a baby's red blood cells break down. High levels of bilirubin are associated with jaundice.
- Jaundice: High levels of bilirubin in the blood can cause jaundice. Common indicators of jaundice are yellow tinting of the skin and yellow in the portion of the eye that is typically white.
- Dystocia: This word is commonly used in the medical field to describe a difficult birth. For example, "Shoulder dystocia is caused when the infant cannot easily pass through the birth canal."
- Antigen: An antigen is a substance that a body produces in order to produce more antibodies. Antibodies will fight off infection. Antigen is actually what determines blood type (A, B, AB or O).
- Induced Labor: When a childbirth becomes difficult, prolonged, or the mother becomes too weak, a doctor may induce a woman's labor. This can be done a number of different ways, such as medication.
- Cesarean Section: This surgical procedure is performed on women who could not give birth safely vaginally. In this operation, a surgeon will make an incision in the abdomen to extract the infant directly through the uterus.
Do Not Hesitate to Contact Us for a Free Case Evaluation
Many factors may contribute to a birth injury, including the baby's size, the mother's anatomy, prolonged labor, and the baby's position. If you or a loved one has been affected by a child's birth injury, and you suspect medical malpractice was involved, you may be entitled to compensation. A medical malpractice lawyer at our firm can help you pursue justice for your baby's pain.
Medical malpractice may have occurred if a doctor:
- Fails to anticipate birth complications related to the baby's size or the mother's health
- Fails to respond to bleeding
- Fails to observe and respond to umbilical cord interferences or fetal distress
- Delays a necessary cesarean section
- Misuses forceps or vacuum extractors
- Inappropriately administers drugs during labor and delivery
- Provides any other form of inadequate or poor caring during labor, delivery or in the immediate aftermath
If you would like to take the first step in your case, do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.