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For every 1,000 infants who are born in the U.S., between six and eight of them are born with some kind of birth injury.
Birth injuries may not be exceptionally common, but they’re still a serious issue when they occur.
To make matters worse, many parents don’t have a thorough understanding of their rights and may not seek the compensation they deserve after a birth injury happens.
In order to take proper action in the event that your child experiences a birth injury, it’s important to be educated about some of the most common ones.
Read on to learn about some common birth injuries and to find out what to do if one affects your child.
Brachial Palsy Injuries
There are a variety of brachial palsy injuries that can affect newborn children. Some common ones are Klumpke’s palsy and Erb’s palsy. These injuries occur when the brachial plexus (the nerves responsible for the movements of the arms and hands) becomes injured.
Brachial palsy injuries often result from shoulder dystocia. This is a condition that occurs when the infant’s shoulder gets caught behind or underneath the pubic bone of the mother. If the physician pulls too hard when trying to deliver the baby, they could damage the brachial plexus.
Sometimes, during delivery, the newborn can become deprived of oxygen.
When this happens and their oxygen supply is cut off for too long, the child could experience severe brain injuries. These injuries, in turn, can lead to lifelong conditions like chronic seizure disorders and cerebral palsy.
Oxygen deprivation often happens when the physician is not monitoring the infant correctly and allows them to remain in the birth canal for too long.
This is an injury characterized by bleeding below the cranium. Usually, the bleeding takes place right below one of the cranial bones.
Cephalohematoma often appears hours after birth in the form of a raised bump at the top of the infant’s head. Sometimes, the bump goes away within a few months. However, it can remain and cause serious health problems like jaundice, hypotension, anemia, and even meningitis in rare cases.
Cephalohematoma is often the result of the incorrect use of birth-assisting tools like forceps.
Caput succedaneum is characterized by swelling of the soft tissues of the scalp. This condition usually develops as the infant is traveling through the birth canal.
Usually, when caput succedaneum occurs, it is because the physician is using a vacuum extraction tool incorrectly. Swelling associated with this injury usually goes down within a few days following the birth.
If the infant’s face has too much pressure placed on it during the delivery, they could experience damage to the facial nerves. This, in turn, can lead to facial paralysis.
Usually, when facial paralysis occurs, it only affects one side of the face. Sometimes, the injury can clear up on its own within a few weeks. In other cases, though, the paralysis is permanent.
Facial paralysis is often the result of incorrect use of forceps or vacuum extraction tools.
Some infants experience fractures during the delivery process. The most common fracture that affects infants is a fracture to the clavicle.
This injury often occurs when the physician pulls too hard on the infant. It’s especially common when the infant is in a breech position.
If a fracture occurs, the infant may not be able to move the arm on the fractured side at all. Fractures often heal within about 10 days, but they still need to be monitored very carefully.
Another one of the most common birth injuries an infant may experience is known as a subconjunctival hemorrhage.
This occurs when the blood vessels in the eye break. You’ll be able to tell if your child is suffering from this injury because one or both of their eyes will develop a bright red band around it.
In most cases, subconjunctival hemorrhage goes away on its own and does not cause permanent damage to the eyes.
What to Do If Your Child Experiences Birth Injuries
If your child has experienced any of these common birth injuries (or any other kind of injury, for that matter), it’s easy to feel scared and overwhelmed. You may not know to whom you can turn for help or guidance.
It’s true that many birth injuries clear up on their own. You can’t always tell how extensive the damage is though. Because of this, it’s important to take appropriate action to ensure your child gets all the care they need to make a full recovery from the injury.
If you’re in this position right now, here are the steps you ought to take moving forward:
Seek Medical Attention
As soon as you notice symptoms of a birth injury in your child, you should alert a physician or another healthcare practitioner. The sooner you take action to treat the issue, the better their chances are of healing.
Hire a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Next, hire a medical malpractice lawyer. A medical malpractice lawyer will help you navigate the legal process and make sure you understand your rights and your child’s rights as a patient who was injured by a physician’s cerebral palsy negligence.
File a Claim with the Hospital
Once you have a lawyer on your side, you can move forward with filing a claim with the hospital. Your lawyer can help you do this and work with the hospital’s insurance provider on your behalf to negotiate the best settlement possible.
Hire a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today
If your child has experienced one of these common birth injuries, it’s important for you to seek legal help as soon as you can.
A medical malpractice lawyer will represent you and work on your behalf to ensure you receive the compensation needed to care for your child and get them access to the care they need.
Do you need help finding a qualified medical malpractice lawyer in your area?
If so, check out some of the other legal articles on our site today. They’ll give you the tools you need to find the best person to represent you and your child.