What Is the Most Common Birth Injury?
Birth injuries can be devastating for both mother and child. Learn about the most common birth injury, its causes, and how a Houston birth injury attorney can help you get justice.
A birth injury occurs due to physical pressure during child delivery. It occurs during transit through the birth canal. If your baby has suffered a birth injury, a Houston birth injury lawyer may be able to file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Not all birth injuries are a result of medical malpractice or medical negligence. Some birth injuries are the inevitable result of some necessary actions. The advancement of medicine has made child delivery safer. However, there are possible birth injury risks associated with birth processes.
In mothers, birth injuries can range from tearing in the vaginal to damage in the pelvic area. For newborns, birth injuries can range from bruising to a broken bone. While some injuries heal without treatment, some are permanent. This type of injury gives rise to a birth injury claim, and victims are entitled to financial compensation.
What Causes Birth Injuries in Newborns?
Birth injuries are usually caused by the natural forces of labor and delivery. It is a result of fetal health issues, maternal health issues, and medical negligence. Many newborns have injuries during birth in Houston, Texas. However, there are still preventable birth injuries.
The common causes of birth injury include:
- Breech deliveries
- Extremely large fetuses
- Umbilical cord/placenta complications
- Premature birth
- Genetic conditions
- Excessive pulling on the baby
- Medical errors
- Negligent care
- Maternal health conditions
- Improper use of surgical instruments such as forceps or vacuum extractors
- Difficult labor, etc.
What Are the Most Common Forms of Birth Injuries?
Different types of birth injuries can vary in severity. They affect specific areas of a child’s body and may cause lifelong impairments. Again, you have the legal option of filing a claim for the medical costs incurred. The most common type of birth injury include:
- Brachial Plexus Injury
This injury damages the brachial plexus nerves. The symptoms are muscle weakness in the hand or arm. The brachial plexus consists of a network of cells located in the lower neck and underarms. The nerve carries signals from the spinal cord to the shoulder, arms, etc., responsible for the range of motion.
Babies suffer brachial palsy injuries if the physician pulls too hard during the delivery process. If the shoulder is caught behind the public bone, it can cause damage. Spinal cord injuries are also likely to occur.
- Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is categorized by a lack of motor skill development, muscle spasms, and stiff muscles. It can also lead to vision and hearing impairment, speech problems, or learning disabilities.
It occurs as a result of damage to the brain during the birthing process. There is usually no cure for this injury. It often requires a lifetime of physical therapy. However, the doctor may recommend surgery to help the child.
Head injury or skull fracture is one of the most common birth-related injuries. If the baby’s brain lacks oxygen during birth, it can lead to complications. The issues can range from cerebral palsy to chronic seizures, physical impairment, etc.
- Facial Nerve Injury
When a baby’s face is under pressure for a long time during delivery, it results in facial paralysis. The pressure causes facial nerve damage. When a facial injury occurs, the infant may be unable to open their eyes. There may also be a lack of movement on the affected area of the face. While the damage may be permanent, it may also clear up after a few weeks.
- Bones Fractures and Bone Injuries
A bone fracture can occur during long and difficult delivery. It occurs when the baby is pulled too hard or the shoulders pulled too forcefully. As a result, the baby’s bones can be broken, causing severe injury.
The most common type of fracture that occurs at birth is the fracture of the collar bone. These fractures can cause severe pain with movement in the first few days. This wound can also occur in the upper arm bone. Generally, they heal well unless the head of the bone is broken.
- Bleeding in and Around the Brain
Bleeding in the brain is caused by a rupture of blood vessels. Prematurity increases the risk of intracranial hemorrhage. Hence, it is common among premature infants. Sometimes the cause of this birth injury is unknown.
Babies who suffer hemorrhage at birth tend to have seizures, eye bursts, or act sluggishly. The affected infant may be admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for treatment purposes. In addition, fluids may be given intravenously (by the vein) and other birth injury treatments.
- Respiratory Distress Disorder (RDS)
RDS is a common breathing disorder caused by a birth injury. This condition occurs in babies who are born preterm, usually within 28 weeks of pregnancy. However, it can also affect full-term babies.
Babies suffer from this condition due to a lack of surfactant that keeps the lungs fully expanded. If the baby does not get enough surfactant, the lungs can collapse. Complications can cause brain damage, impaired vision, difficulty breathing, oxygen deprivation, etc.
- Shoulder Dystocia
This form of birth injury occurs when the baby’s shoulders get stuck during vaginal delivery. There are usually no signs or ways of preventing this condition. The causes of this injury include: having a large baby, a baby in a breech or abnormal position, a small pelvis, etc.
- Bruising or Forceps Marks
Forceps are surgical instruments used to pull out the baby during a difficult delivery. Bringing the fetus down from the birth canal has a risk of causing birth injuries. In addition, forceps can cause damage to the skin. Swelling and bruising may also occur around the eyes, face, genitals, etc. In most cases, no treatment for these bruises is needed.
- Perinatal Asphyxia
Perinatal asphyxia is a decrease in the blood flow to the baby’s tissues. It is also a decrease in the oxygen in the baby’s blood. It causes the child to look pale and lifeless once delivered. They appear weakly with a low heart rate.
The standard form of treatment is to resuscitate the baby or, in severe cases, blood cell transfusion. It is generally caused by:
- Severe infection in the fetus
- Abnormal development in the fetus
- Obstruction of umbilical blood flow
- Placenta obstruction
- Severe maternal illness
- Severe maternal hemorrhage
How Common Are Birth Injuries in Houston, Texas?
Unfortunately, birth injuries are more common than you think in Houston, Texas hospitals. It is often impossible to prevent birth injuries leading to death. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the infant mortality rate in Texas stood at 5.22 per 1,968 deaths in 2020.
Can a Traumatic Birth Affect the Baby?
A traumatic birth can affect a baby in adverse ways. In addition, it can have a long-term psychological effect on the child. Although the infant has an unconscious mind, these early experiences are the blueprint on which future psychological development takes place.
Most children from difficult birth tend to be more aggressive, angry, and experience physical trauma. During birth, they are usually separated from their mothers for treatment purposes. This can affect the mother-child bonding. Most babies with birth injuries also have autism and developmental delay.
What Can I Expect From a Birth Injury Lawsuit?
Medical professionals and health care providers have a duty to uphold a high standard of care for pregnant women and their babies. If they fail, they are liable to pay compensation to the victim of their negligence.
You can hold the negligent party responsible for your pain and suffering by filing a legal action. In Texas, the Statute of Limitations for a birth injury claim is two (2) years. If you don’t file within this deadline, your case can be dismissed. Unfortunately, you also lose your chance of receiving damages for your claim.
You do not have to go through the legal process by yourself. You might want to consider reaching out to a Houston birth injury attorney for support and guidance. A birth injury lawyer will help you fight to recover the maximum compensation you deserve.
In seeking compensation, your birth injury lawyer can either settle out of court or pursue damages in court. The amount you receive depends on the fact of your case and the severity of the injury suffered. Recoverable damages include the following:
- Medical care expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Physical impairment
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of quality of life
- Lost wages/earning capacity
- Child care costs, etc.
Contact An Experienced Houston Birth Injury Attorney Today!
If your child has suffered damage during childbirth, you have a right to legal action. Consider contacting a personal injury law firm in Texas to see if they can take on your case and get justice for your family. At McDonald Worley, we fight for victims of negligence-related birth injuries. An experienced Houston birth injury attorney at our firm may be able to help you get the fair compensation you deserve. We invite you to contact our firm for a free consultation.