When expectant parents in Pennsylvania and elsewhere are preparing for the birth of a child, they are likely thinking of the items they need when the baby comes. They are likely not focused on the issues their baby may suffer from if a birth injury were to occur. While there are risks associated with pregnancy, labor and delivery, some of the harms caused to a newborn are a result of medical negligence.
Newborn orthopedic injuries
While birth injuries can range from type and severity, orthopedic injuries are fairly common. The birthing process involves a child being delivered through a narrow vaginal canal, making certain injuries a possible risk. However, the risk of these injuries can increase if proper medical action is not taken. For example, the newborn may have an underlying medical condition, and if that is missed or overlooked by a medical professional, this could result in serious orthopedic birth injuries.
Common types of injuries
The most common orthopedic birth injury is a clavicle fracture. This is a risk with any vaginal delivery; however, this could be caused or worsened by the actions taken during the delivery. Oftentimes, these are minor injuries that heal quickly and do not result in deformities.
Brachial plexus injuries or Erb’s Palsy is another common orthopedic injury that could occur during childbirth. Located underneath the clavicle, the brachial plexus is a group of nerves going from the neck down to the arm. Injury to this could occur when the head is pulled in one direction while the arm is being pulled in the opposite direction. Such an injury could cause weakness to the arm. This injury often heals over time; however, it may require surgery.
Other orthopedic birth injuries include growth plate fractures and femur fractures. These are often easy to treat and will heal without issue. For the most part, orthopedic birth injuries will resolve themselves with treatment and observation. However, some could be more serious, requiring more involved treatment plans and even surgery.
Coping with a birth injury
It is an emotional experiencing, seeing a child suffer from a birth injury. It can feel extremely overwhelming and confusing, which is why it is important that parents take the time to gain information and insight on the situation. If medical negligence was the cause, it is possible to hold the medical professional accountable through a medical malpractice action. This civil suit could help parents recover compensation to address the damages suffered as well.