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Birth Injuries Caused by Difficult Labor

By Norman Younker on September 06, 2014


A child receiving special aid for his disorderLearning that your child has suffered permanent damage due to someone else’s negligence can be devastating. This prospect is all the more difficult when the child has only just been born, and when the negligent party is the one person whom you entrusted to ensure his or her safe delivery. It’s sad to think that medical malpractice can even have such consequences, and yet, birth injuries caused by unnecessarily difficult labors are a very real possibility.

If your child has sustained significant injuries during birth and you suspect the doctor may be at fault, our Salt Lake City firm is prepared to help you pursue legal recourse. By first understanding the dangers of a difficult labor, hopefully you can begin to discern whether or not medical malpractice is to blame.   

What Causes Birth Injury?

There are many factors that may contribute to injury during birth, some of which are within the doctor’s control and some of which cannot be helped. Large babies, for instance, tend to encounter more problems during birth, thus resulting in potential injury. Premature births can be similarly problematic. Still, there are numerous ways in which an obstetrician or hospital can complicate a birth:

  • The decision to delay or forego a C-section delivery when one is needed
  • Excessive force with forceps or a vacuum for extraction
  • Failure to free a child from an entangled umbilical cord
  • Failure to recognize or respond to bleeding
  • Failure to recognize or respond to an irregular heartbeat
  • Failure to reasonably predict potential health problems or birthing difficulties
  • Ignoring or inappropriately responding to fetal distress
  • An unnecessarily long or complicated labor

These may be the result of inexperience, an understaffed hospital, lack of training, or medical professionals who have simply shirked their responsibilities. No matter the reason, any medical negligence before, during, or after pregnancy can have dire consequences. 

What Types of Birth Injuries Are Possible?

The type and severity of injury can vary greatly among victims. In many cases, head trauma or lack of oxygen can lead to permanent brain damage, while other problems may be neurological or respiratory in nature. Here are just a few disorders and diseases that a child might develop after suffering from birth injury:

  • Cerebral palsy: This umbrella term covers a range of neurological disorders that typically begin to surface in infancy or early childhood. Most cases of cerebral palsy affect a person’s movement, coordination, fine motor skills, and cognition.
  • Brachial plexus palsy: Force to the head or neck may result in damaged nerves, in turn partially or completely paralyzing the child’s arm.
  • Kernicterus: If an infant develops jaundice that goes untreated, it may result in progressive brain damage that can permanently inhibit the child’s thinking, learning, and physical ability.
  • Cortical visual impairment: A lack of oxygen or blood to the brain can cause long-lasting damage that leads to vision problems. Problems can include limited field of view, loss of depth perception, variable vision, difficulty in visual processing, and photophobia.
  • Autism: Although the exact mechanisms of autism are still not distinctly understood, and genes alone may account for some cases, studies are increasingly linking birthing complications with autism risk. Specifically, a lack of oxygenated blood to the brain has been correlated with almost eight-times the risk of a child developing autism.      

What Can You Do?

Financial compensation may not be able to reverse the effects of medical malpractice, but it can at least alleviate any resulting financial burdens and bring some peace of mind to those affected. If your child has been injured due to medical malpractice, we will work ceaselessly to bolster your case. By working closely with other medical experts, reviewing medical records, and calculating the personal and economic effects of your child’s injuries, we can help you receive the compensation that you and your family deserve. This compensation can cover nearly any expenses incurred by your child’s injuries, including medical bills, special care or services, therapy, educational needs, pain and suffering, and any additional expenses as deemed appropriate by the court.  

Speak with a Lawyer Today

It is important to seek medical and legal help as soon as your child exhibits symptoms of a potential birth injury. The sooner we learn about your case, the easier it will be to directly connect your child’s injuries to their source. Contact our office today to speak with one of our knowledgeable lawyers and learn what your next step should be.

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