A childbirth injury can occur before, during, or after delivery. To be clear, not every injury is the fault of a doctor or grounds for medical malpractice. Sometimes, a delivery has complications and despite a skilled OBGYN’s best efforts, an injury happens.
What moves the needle from “bad outcome” to “medical malpractice” is if the doctor was negligent in some way. One way we can determine this is by examining how another doctor would’ve handled the exact same situation. If your doctor deviated from this standard of care, they may be negligent and financially liable for a victim’s injuries.
Let’s look at a few types of childbirth injuries where malpractice could be a factor.
- Spinal Cord Injuries. A spinal cord injury can happen during a difficult delivery if a doctor improperly pulls on the baby, damaging their spine. The results can be catastrophic. A child with a spinal cord injury may need care throughout their life. In the most serious cases, this type of injury can be fatal.
- Brain Damage. Fetal monitoring is essential for healthy labor and delivery. If vital signs are missed, a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain can cause a range of severe outcomes including seizures, behavioral problems, balance problems, and sleep disturbances.
- Fractures. The clavicle (or collarbone) is the most frequently broken bone during childbirth. It can happen if a doctor fails to detect a breech presentation or as the result of improper vacuum or forceps use.
- Vacuum or Forceps Injuries. During a difficult delivery, a doctor may suggest the use of vacuum or forceps. However, these tools require special care and expert skill. Injuries could include bleeding in the brain, bruising, facial paralysis, and skull fractures.
- Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral palsy can come about due to a challenging childbirth, such as a large baby. This type of brain injury is often caused when oxygen gets cut off to a baby’s brain during delivery. Sadly, it can have permanent, life-long impacts.
- Erb’s Palsy. This injury happens when nerves from the base of the baby’s neck are damaged during delivery. As a result, the affected arm may lose some immobility or in the worst cases, become totally paralyzed.
Of course, it’s also possible for the mother to be injured during delivery. If you or a loved one has suffered a childbirth injury and you would like to explore what happened with an attorney, call us. One of our medical malpractice attorneys can meet with you at no cost or obligation. .