Obstetricians are primarily responsible for the healthy delivery of your unborn baby. In almost all cases, they are usually the doctor who is also responsible for monitoring the progress of your pregnancy, making sure there are no foreseeable complications or health concerns.
If ever an obstetrician or other doctor fails to detect a health issue with you or your unborn child, or commits an act that negatively affects the physical or psychological well-being of mother and child, there is the possibility that medical malpractice has occurred. Birth injuries are one of the most common types of medical malpractice to occur within hospitals and the effects can be serious and permanent.
The most common birth injuries associated with medical malpractice include:
One of the more well-known and most common birth injuries caused by medical malpractice, cerebral palsy is occurs in cases where a doctor leaves the baby in the birth canal too long, resulting in a lack of oxygen. (Improper use of forceps is also a known cause.) The effects of cerebral palsy can leave the baby with a variety of long-term conditions, including brain damage, loss of movement and functionality, seizures, as well as trouble with muscle coordination.
Also known as Brachial Plexus injury, Erb's is the result of a doctor's having pulled to hard on the infant’s arm during the birthing procedure. It can also occur from what is known as a "breech delivery" due to the excessive pressure placed on on the baby’s shoulders. The resulting injury can leave the child with pronounced weakness in the affected arm, or in severe instances, temporary or permanent paralysis of the hand and arm.
The most common fracture-type attributed to medical malpractice birth injuries is a clavicle fracture. The collar bone can fracture during a breech delivery due to difficulty delivering the infant’s shoulder. The most obvious symptom that signals a problem is the baby's inability to move their arm on the side of the fracture; however, surgery can typically repair the injury.
If your child did suffer a clavicle fracture during delivery, you still may be entitled to pursuing damages for a birth injury.
Improper use of forceps is often the main cause of facial paralysis. Specifically, if the doctor uses too much pressure when applying the forceps, there is a risk that facial nerve damage can occur. The paralysis in the face can be temporary or permanent depending on the severity of the injury.
Other common birth injuries
Fortunately, most of the markings or symptoms one might associate with a birth injury are actually common after-effects that occur with almost every delivery. The most common side effects seen in newborn babies will include minor bruising or forceps scars, or possible nerve loss caused by temporary swelling. These symptoms often resolve themselves in the days or weeks following the child's birth, but they should always be noted and monitored by your doctor.
Get free help!
If your baby has suffered any of the above conditions due to a birth injury, or if there are symptoms that we didn't discuss here yet have you concerned, our St. Joseph, Michigan law offices handles these case types for residents throughout the state, and we always offer mothers and father a free consultation.
It's possible that your family is entitled to compensation for medical bills, hospital bills, medication, lost wages, rehabilitation, and physical therapy, among other recovery options.