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Birth Injuries are devastating injuries that affect not only the infant but also the infant's family. Birth injuries can result in serious harm to the infant, including cerebral palsy and Erb's Palsy. In addition to the cost of treatment for any conditions that develop from a birth injury, the infant's family may have to pay for rehabilitation and specialized home care. The parents of an infant born with a birth injury may be able to file a birth injury claim for emotional and psychological distress.
Birth Injury Information
Cerebral palsy is term for a group of conditions that can develop during pregnancy, child birth or the first few years of a child's life. It can also be caused by a birth injury—sometimes linked to medical malpractice. Cerebral palsy is characterized by paralysis, seizures, muscle spasm, plasticity, involuntary movements, scissor walking and/or toe walking, which are caused by trauma during the child's critical development stages. Patients with cerebral palsy may experience communication difficulties, learning disabilities, behavioral disorders and cognitive or vision impairments.
Children who go into distress during birth—for example by suffering a lack of oxygen—may develop cerebral palsy. Similarly, babies born with breech presentation may also be at risk of cerebral palsy.
If an infant goes into distress during birth and the medical staff does not take appropriate action, the doctor and/or the hospital may be held liable for any resulting harm.
Brachial Plexus Injuries
The brachial plexus is a group of nerves starting at the base of the neck and going through the shoulder to the arm and hand. During birth, the brachial plexus can suffer stretch, rupture or avulsion injury. According to birthinjury.org, a stretch injury is the most likely to heal fully, often within a few months if there is no damage to the nerve tissue. A rupture injury may require surgery to repair the damage.
An avulsion injury is known only to be caused by extreme pulling on the brachial plexus. It results in the nerve root being torn out of the spinal cord and can cause reduced ability to move the affected leg.
Brachial Plexus injuries include Erb's Palsy and Klumpke's Palsy
Erb's Palsy is paralysis of the arm that occurs when there is trauma to the upper group of the main nerves of the arm; specifically, the injuries occur in the fibers originating at the fifth, sixth or seventh cervical nerve roots.. Unlike cerebral palsy, which can be caused by a number of factors, Erb's Palsy is almost always caused by a birth injury.
Erb's Palsy often heals within six to 24 months; however, approximately 10 percent of patients with Erb's Palsy experience it for their entire lives. Patients with Erb's Palsy have limited or no use of the affected arm and may require surgery or physical therapy.
Klumpke's Palsy is an injury that involves the damage to the eighth cervical root or the first thoracic nerve root. Such damage can drastically reduce the patient's movement of the wrist or hand.
Birth injury malpractice occurs when a health care provider's negligence during the birthing process causes injury to a newborn. This can include failure to recognize fetal distress, failure to recognize potential hazards, delay in ordering a cesarean section when it is medically necessary, improper use of forceps or failure to recognize umbilical cord entrapment.
Birth Injury Malpractice
Although not technically a birth injury, use of antidepressants, known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) during pregnancy has been linked in studies to birth defects. Those birth defects include congenital heart defects. Some SSRIs have also been linked to withdrawal symptoms in infants and developmental delays.
Families of babies who experience birth injuries may find they have high medical bills resulting from treatment, medication, surgery or rehabilitation for the injury. They may also have to pay for long-term care for the infant. Finally, they often experience a great deal of stress and psychological and emotional distress. If the birth injury was caused by medical malpractice, the family may be able to recover damages linked to the harm caused to the infant. This can include compensation for all medical bills and cost of care bills, plus emotional/psychological distress.
Birth Injury Lawsuits
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Published on Jul-9-10
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