Birth Injuries: A Guide For Parents

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Becoming a parent is a joyous experience. But at the same time, you’re scared. What if something happens to the mother and the baby? Your fears become a reality when the hospital or doctor you choose messes up your case.


 Birth injuries are injuries either the child or the mother sustain during labor. These injuries can wound the child, disable it, or be fatal in some cases. Hospitals owe you a responsibility. If they can’t take care of you and your baby, they’re neglecting their job. As a parent, if your child gets hurt at the hands of healthcare practitioners, you can find help. Here’s what you need to know about birth injuries: 

What to do if the baby is injured?

If the doctor in charge injures your baby, you need to shift your baby into emergency care. After which, you need to look towards the legal system for help. Medical malpractice, including injuring babies at birth, is an offense liable to a lawsuit. You need to contact a birth injury law firm to understand the process of holding a doctor accountable for malpractice or negligence. When you visit a professional law firm, they’ll guide you on what you need to submit to make your case stand in court. For your understanding, here’s a brief outlook of what your lawyer will inform you and ask of you:


  • Statute Of Limitation. Every state has a time limit for submitting a lawsuit. Your lawyer can inform you best on your state’s timeline. You will need to gather the necessary documents and ensure that the paperwork reaches the court during the limit. Along with a statute of limitation, there are also certain sets of rules for you to use. One of them is the discovery rule- when did your baby incur the injury, and when did you find out. 


  • Certificate Of Merit. Before a court can take your case, they need to know its authenticity. Among hundreds of valid claims, there are also those trying to extort money. So, when you submit your case to the court, they will have a medical expert look it over. If the expert confirms that it falls in line with malpractice, you get to have your time in court. 


  • Submit medical bills. Lawyers need every medical invoice, document, or prescription that the hospital wrote for you. These will stand as evidence in your case against the doctor. It will also prove that you were under the care of the mentioned hospital and confirm the doctor in charge. These bills also prove what injuries your baby sustained at birth. The bills and medical expenses will also determine how much money you will receive at the end of the trial/settlement. 
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  • Get credible witnesses. In a medical malpractice case, you need a practitioner to testify the case for you. The lawyer you work with will know medical practitioners who can inform the court about the issue. Witnesses make your case stronger and valid for the court.


  • The damages sustained.  You will cover all damages you suffer from the hospital’s neglect. These include the baby’s injuries, emotional distress, and monetary loss. Any suffering you have had to put up with is known as damages. 

What are the causes of birth injury?

There are numerous reasons why the baby may incur an injury during labor. However, you can chalk them up to neglect and recklessness. Here are some reasons because of which a baby may get injured while in delivery:


  • Delayed C-section. A doctor has the training to know when the mother needs an emergency C-section. Generally, when the baby’s oxygen levels are low, it is time to get the baby out. However, doctors that ignore the mother’s reducing oxygen saturation end up delaying the C-section. If the baby isn’t getting enough oxygen in the womb, it can become fatal. However, sometimes doctors are not mindful and end up being late in carrying out the procedure. 


  • Oxygen deprivation. A baby needs a steady flow of oxygen when the mother is in labor and preparing for birth. If the mother experiences a uterine rupture, infection, or the umbilical cord wraps around the baby, the oxygen levels drop. Babies that don’t get sufficient oxygen may get cerebral palsy after birth. 


  • Meconium aspiration. Meconium refers to the baby’s feces in the womb. If the baby is under stress, they may gasp while in the womb. As a result, they may take in feces and amniotic fluid. Consequently, the baby’s lung gets partly blocked or wholly blocked. There is also a risk of the baby catching an infection that needs emergency care. 


  • Excessive force. Trauma injuries can occur when the doctor and nurse use too much pressure. If the baby is too large for a vaginal delivery, they get stuck. Doctors may try to force the baby out using forceps or suction that can injure them. These injuries also happen when the baby gets positioned wrong. Such cases are avoidable if the doctor pays attention to the mother’s condition and administers care. Doctors have a rough idea of how large the baby is by measuring the mother’s waist. So if they choose to ignore these factors and mismanage a case, it is on them. 
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Common types of birth injuries

Babies act a certain way after they’re born. If you can see apparent wounds or limbs hanging at an odd angle, you should get concerned. If the baby is entirely unresponsive, warning bells go off in your head. Here are some common types of birth injuries:


  • Head injuries. The doctor may use a medical instrument that harms the baby’s head. It can cause internal bleeding or a damaged skull. It also includes damaging a baby’s skull that causes the head to misshapen. 


  • Nerve damages. A doctor can injure a baby’s nerves. These include harming the facial nerves by clamping down too hard— for example, Erb’s Palsy.


  • Fractures. A baby’s bones are already extremely fragile. If a doctor tries to grab and pull a baby, it can injure their bones. They can damage the baby’s clavicle or shoulder bones by exerting excessive force. 


  • Death. If a doctor completely mishandles a case, they can cause the baby to die. These include damaging vital nerves, organs and even blocking the lungs. A death is unpardonable unless a baby died for other reasons outside of the doctor’s care. 


Wrap up

If your baby sustains injuries at birth, you should pursue a legal case. However, while taking such an action, you should also learn what birth injuries are. Damages that a medical provider causes come under the banner. These happen either because the doctor was careless or too assertive to deliver the baby. When a mother is in labor, the condition needs monitoring. The doctor must know if the mother is experiencing trouble breathing or if she’s not dilated enough. When medical apparatus and tools are misused, or the staff ignores protocols, the child may sustain a birth injury. Consequently, the baby may be disabled, receive flesh wounds or pass away. No matter what type of injury the baby gets, these are regrettable circumstances and tragic for any parent.