Childbirth is a medical miracle. Everyone marvels at how babies come into the world with so many of the basic survival skills and instincts we take for granted every day. However, childbirth is a complicated process that could have disastrous results when something goes wrong.
According to birth statistics, six out of every 1,000 babies born in the United States suffer some type of birth injury. Mild injuries, such as a scratch or a bruise, can heal very easily. However, a number of severe injuries can have lifelong implications, such as:
Erb's palsy - Because of how the baby is positioned, it may not pass through the birth canal easily. When this happens, the group of nerves that controls hand and arm movement may be damaged.
Cerebral palsy - This condition can occur if a baby is deprived of oxygen during birth. When a baby's brain does not receive enough oxygen brain cells can die and cause brain damage.
Some birth injuries are a just a tragic matter of circumstance and cannot be prevented, but others are directly attributable to medical malpractice. Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals involved in the birthing process owe their patients a duty to use reasonable care in delivering the baby. They must use due care in conducting necessary tests, checking for signs of distress, and advising mothers as needed. Doctors and hospitals that breach this duty may be held liable.
More importantly, birth injuries due to negligence occur more often than most doctors would like to admit. Improper use of forceps, failure to conduct a timely C-section, and failing to check for signs of distress are common mishaps that result in birth injuries.
Parents of children who develop physical or developmental issues due to birth injuries can seek compensation for future medical care and therapy the child will need growing up, as well as punitive damages in egregious cases. Parents who bring suit must prove that a child's condition (whether it be cerebral palsy, fractured bones or other cognitive issues) are directly related to negligence during the delivery process, or failing to respond to fetal distress prior to birth.
If you have questions about birth injury claims, contact an experienced personal injury attorney.