Expecting a child is one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking times in people’s lives. For Pennsylvanians who are experiencing this, there are a seemingly endless serious of concerns that will go through their minds. Much of the worry centers around what life will be like after the child has been born. However, the birth itself could lead to apprehension. Although it is relatively rare and medical advancements have made birth somewhat routine, it is still risky. Parents should be cognizant of what kinds of birth injuries can occur and what might cause them. This is true before the birth and it is especially true after the birth if the child did suffer birth injuries.
Common types of birth injuries and how they might happen
It is unfortunate but not unusual that babies suffer injuries during birth. There are many types of birth injuries and their causes can vary. It can happen because of mistakes made before birth, during labor or delivery, or immediately after the child has been born. There are several factors that can contribute to the possibility that birth injuries will occur and medical professionals should know them and try to mitigate the chance of a mishap. This can include a larger baby weighing more than eight pounds and 13 ounces. If a baby was born prematurely – at approximately 37 weeks or fewer – they are less developed and hold a greater chance of injury. The mother’s physicality could also be a challenge if her pelvis is shaped in such a way that vaginal birth is problematic. Dystocia refers to a birth that happens slowly or is difficult. A long labor, a breech birth or an obese mother can also present obstacles to a safe birth.
Among the most common injuries babies might suffer during birth are brachial palsy, fractures, facial paralysis, bleeding between the skull and its covering, soft tissue swelling in the scalp and bruises or marks from forceps use. Brachial palsy, for example, might come about because the child suffers injuries to the nerves supplying blood to the upper extremities. Shoulder dystocia can cause this. While this typically will resolve itself after a few months, more severe damage like torn nerves can result in permanent injuries. Equipment like forceps are used to facilitate the birth. When they are used, it is possible that the newborn will suffer bruising and marks. If a Cesarean section is needed to complete the birth, it is not uncommon for sharp surgical tools to cut the baby during the process. This too can spark permanent damage.
Understanding potential alternatives after birth injuries have occurred
Since a child who suffered birth injuries could have lasting damage, it can be costly emotionally, personally and financially. If, for example, a child has cerebral palsy due to errors by doctors and other medical professionals, then he or she will need therapy, equipment, extensive care and more. To cover for these needs – much of which may not be paid for by insurance – the parents may be forced to weigh their legal options.
Even if the birth injuries are not permanent, there can still be pain, suffering, medical costs and more. Consulting with professionals who understand the steps to investigating birth injuries, gathering evidence and pursuing a claim can be essential. This is imperative from the start and calling for information should be a first step if a child might have been injured because of medical errors or mistakes.