Statistics show that approximately 27 out of every 1,000 births involve some sort of birth related injury, with cerebral palsy as one of the most common. Although most women give birth in a hospital surrounded by medical professionals, a birth injury can happen at almost any point during labor and delivery. These injuries are most often the result of medical negligence or error. A baby with a birth injury may recover fully and quickly, or may suffer lifelong physical and/or mental limitations.
During the course of labor and delivery complications can occur which result in various health problems for a newborn. Collectively, these problems are referred to as birth trauma or birth injuries. Birth injuries are generally caused by operative deliveries, whether vaginal or abdominal, and are affected by circumstances such as:
- Oxygen deprivation, which can occur when the umbilical cord is compressed or twisted in the birth processor when the unborn fetus chokes on it’s own meconium (fecal material comprising the first feces of the newborn, which can be released either just prior or just after birth);
- Mechanical trauma when an unusual position is adopted by the baby at the time of delivery or when the baby is too large to readily pass through the birth canal, as frequently occurs, with diabetic mothers;
- Mistakes made by any of the numerous participants on the delivery team. These mistakes can occur prior to delivery, at the time of delivery or immediately after delivery. They include events the use of excessive force or improper rotational force in the delivery process, delaying the performing of a cesarean section (C-section) delivery during fetal distress, failure of a midwife to seek the assistance of an obstetrician, and improper intubation (insertion of a tube) of a newborn requiring oxygen which results in hypoxia (insufficient amounts of oxygen reaching body tissue).
- Improper or incomplete pre-natal testing/monitoring that can result in a medical team unprepared for a difficult delivery. These include conditions such as a high birth weight baby (over 9 pounds), peculiarities relating to the size and shape of the mother’s pelvis, and an improperly positioned fetus, all of which can be detected through the use of a sonogram.
While thankfully none of these scenarios necessarily means that there will be a birth injury, they complicate the labor and delivery process, providing a statistically greater probability of occurrence. In most cases a baby with a birth injury will make a full recovery. When circumstance are such that a full recovery does not occur however, birth injuries can be devastating, frequently causing debilitating injuries for the newborn which can last a lifetime.
The most common birth injuries are cerebral palsy, oxygen deprivation, mental retardation, Erb’s Palsy, Klumpke’s Palsy and Brachial Plexus injuries. The ability to file a medical malpractice claim when birth injuries are of a permanent nature provides the possibility for both the newborn and its family to recover monetary damages for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future loss of earnings
- The cost of future care (i.e., aides, devices, counseling, physical therapy, tutoring)
- Conscious pain and suffering
- Loss of services
If you or a loved one has experienced any of the tragic conditions relating to birth injury, contact a Chicago birth injury attorney today or call us at 312-857-7285 to set up a FREE consultation to discuss your legal options.
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