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Birth Injuries FAQs

Birth Injuries

What are the most common types of birth injury?

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Erb’s palsy / Brachial plexus injuries (Neuroma, Rupture, Avulsion)
  • Brain injury caused by improper use of vacuum extractors or forceps
  • Untreated jaundice
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Stillbirth
  • Seizures
  • Meconium aspiration
  • Fetal distress
  • Excessive bleeding

My child was diagnosed with a birth injury called Cerebral Palsy. What is and what causes cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a condition involving a group of disorders that affects the child’s ability to control his or her own movement. Cerebral palsy results from injury to the cerebrum (the largest portion of the brain, involved with higher mental faculties, sensations, and voluntary muscle activities). It can be caused by injury to the brain before, during, or after birth.

My child was diagnosed with Erbs Palsy, or Brachial Plexus Palsy. Can this be the result of medical malpractice?

Any excess stress to the baby’s neck during delivery may result in injuries child’s nerves. This can result in paralysis of the arm, causing it to be limp or dysfunctional. Injuries such as these are classified by severity. Avulsion rupture is when the nerves are torn away at the area of the spine. Neuroma is when the nerves are torn, but during the healing process, scar tissue has formed. This can result in the disabling of the arm. A rupture occurs when the nerves tear at other locations.

What are the most common instances of medical negligence in a birth injury case?

The most common examples of medical negligence are related to improper responses by the doctor or anyone on the medical team. These responses are usually related to circumstances such as a larger baby than expected, an unexpected shift in baby’s position, and other unexpected complications, which may include:

  • Bleeding, distress, or lack of oxygen experienced by mother or infant
  • Umbilical cord entrapment or compression
  • Long labor
  • Breech
  • Fetal distress
  • Delay in decision to do cesarean section
  • Use / misuse of vacuum extractor or forceps
  • Delay in recognizing or treating Infections, bacterial meningitis and viral encephalitis
  • Excessive water retention and weight gain by mother
  • Shoulder dystocia (shoulder becomes caught and baby has difficulty breathing)
  • Inadequate medical care during pregnancy

What could the doctor have done in order to deliver the baby properly?

  • The physician can perform a Cesarean section to remove the baby surgically in order to avoid a difficult vaginal delivery.
  • The physician can attempt to relieve the shoulder dystocia (trapped shoulder) by performing a Woods and/or a McRoberts maneuver.
  • The physician can perform a vaginal delivery with an episiotomy.

What factors would suggest that my child’s Cerebral Palsy was the result of medical malpractice?

  • Poor APGAR scores
  • Low umbilical cord blood gases
  • Blue skin color
  • Meconium (fecal matter) on the baby’s body or in the amniotic fluid after delivery
  • Seizures within the first few days after birth
  • Placing a full-term baby in the Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
  • An emergency Cesarean Section (C-Section)
  • Floppy baby (poor muscle tone and/or poor sucking response)
  • Baby needs resuscitation after birth
  • Baby is not delivered within 24 hours of water breaking

What should I do if I suspect medical negligence caused my child’s birth injury?

As soon as you suspect that negligence may be the cause of the birth injury in your baby, you should contact Scott C. Gottlieb. It is necessary to gather facts and evidence early. There is a statute of limitations for filing medical malpractice claims, so do not delay. Contact us today.

How do I know if my doctor’s negligence caused my child’s birth injury?

There are several tools that birth injury attorneys use to prove that an injury was caused by negligence or carelessness. An experienced attorney will closely observe and investigate every aspect of your pregnancy and childbirth. He or she will carefully study the medical records, including neonatal records, the fetal heart monitor strip, newborn records, and your labor and delivery records. Also, copies of imaging studies performed on the child, including ultrasounds, CT scans, or MRIs of the head should be carefully studied. Any deviation from the standard of care is an indication that negligence has occurred. Scott C. Gottlieb has experience in these types of cases and how to investigate them. Contact us today to discuss your case.

What are other types of birth injuries?

Other types of birth injuries include:

  • Fractures – fractures of the clavicle or collarbone are most common
  • Intracranial hemorrhage – bleeding in the baby’s head
  • Spinal cord trauma
  • Cephalohematoma – an area of bleeding beneath the scalp, which can lead to jaundice
  • Cranial nerve trauma
  • Swelling, bleeding, bruising, or discoloration of the scalp
  • Depressed skull fractures
  • Bruising/forceps marks
  • Facial paralysis
  • Temporary body paralysis
  • Group B strep infections
  • Spasticity – a condition in which certain muscles are continuously contracted
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Skin irritation

What is the difference between a birth defect and a birth injury?

Birth injuries are generally caused by something that went wrong during child delivery itself, while birth defects usually involve harm to a baby that arose prior to birth, due to something that happened during or before the pregnancy.

Should I hire a lawyer to help with a birth injury claim?

Yes. Contacting or hiring an attorney does not necessarily mean you are suing anyone. However, it is a good idea to do this if you feel you have a case. Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney, will be able to assess your case in the first meeting and advise you of your rights and options for litigating the case. Contact us today.

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