One of the most fearful effects of failure to ensure proper child care during pregnancy or medical mistake is birth injury. Birth injury is a cause of trauma to the injured infant’s family and one type of injury that can forever change the life of a child. Thus to avoid the possibility of a birth injury, it is important that physicians make sure that the best care is provided to both the pregnant women and to her child during pregnancy and delivery.
An OB/GYN (Obstetrician / Gynecologist) is responsible in providing the needed care to women during her pregnancy, childbirth and until about six weeks after she delivers her child. Proper care includes regular check-ups to help ensure that the unborn child is not malnourished, deficient in folic acid, underweight and not suffering from any birth defects. Birth defects, like birth injury, are health issues. But while the cause of birth defects can be the unborn child’s DNA or the pregnant woman’s intake of medication, like anti-depressant drugs or birth control pills, birth injury is mainly due to mistakes committed either by the physician in charge or by a member of the medical staff . Being a mistake, birth injuries, therefore, are totally preventable.
Birth injury incidences in the US number to about 28,000 annually. These injuries are usually caused by single mistakes, but which are enough to alter the life of a should-have-been normal child to a child with a disability. The following are the 10 most common reported cases of birth injuries:
- Cephalohematoma, which is a cranial injury resulting from prolonged labor or use of forceps, vacuum or other birth-assisting tools
- Brachial Plexus Palsy or Erb’s Palsy, which is paralysis of the arm due to injury to the group of main nerves of the upper arm
- Cerebral Palsy, a condition marked by spastic paralysis or impaired muscle coordination and/or other disabilities; this condition is typically due to damage to the brain before or during birth
- Bone Fracture, like fracture to the collar bone or clavicle
- Caput Succedaneum, the swelling of a newborn ‘s scalp due to long or hard, head-first (vertex) delivery that causes pressure on the uterus or vaginal wall
- Perinatal Asphyxia, a permanent damage to the brain that is caused by the insufficient supply of oxygen to the newborn
- Intracranial Hemorrhage, which is hemorrhage inside the skull/cranium
- Subconjunctival Hemorrhage, or hyposphagma, a condition characterized by bleeding under the conjunctiva (the membrane lining the inside part of the eyelids)
- Facial Paralysis, a temporary or permanent damage to facial nerves due to lack of control of facial muscles
- Spinal cord injuries
To protect the life of the child and to help the child’s family afford the costly medical treatments that the injury may require, the law allows the family to take legal actions against the negligent physician, member of the medical staff or the hospital itself, for all the present and future damages resulting from the injury. A personal injury attorney can help you determine whether or not you have a case.