According to Birth Injury Guide, approximately 28,000 babies suffer a birth injury. If you've recently had a baby who suffered an injury during birth, you might be struggling with several different questions and concerns—including whether it was an underlying condition or your doctor's fault. During this tumultuous period, it is important to gain as much knowledge as you can, especially if you're considering hiring an attorney. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about birth injuries:
What Is the Difference between a Natural Defect and a Birth Injury?
As a parent who is struggling with a sick or injured child, one of the first questions you might have is, "Was my child injured during birth, or is this a defect?" A birth defect is a natural and often unavoidable medical issue that occurred either during conception or as the baby was developing in the womb.
For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Down syndrome and other genetic defects and mouth or facial defects—including cleft palates—are the most common types of birth defects in the United States.
A birth injury occurs either right before, during, or after the baby is born. The injury can be minor and heal very quickly, or the injury could be more severe and lead to a lifelong disability. For instance, cerebral palsy, a condition that affects the body's ability to control muscle function, is one of the most significant conditions that can arise from medical negligence.
Depending on the type of birth injury or birth defect, the parents or doctors may notice right after birth that there is an issue. However, the symptoms of a more serious problem that was caused by a defect or birth injury may not present themselves for several months after the baby is born.
What Are Some Common Birth Injuries?
From a simple scrape or bruise to a more serious, life altering condition, there are many different types of birth injuries.
Here are a few of the most common birth injuries:
- Bone Fracture—The trauma of birth can lead to bruising, and it can also cause a broken bone. A broken clavicle, or collar bone, is one of the most common bone fractures that occurs during birth. A lump, swelling and an inability for the baby to move the affected limb are signs of a broken bone.
- Caput succedaneum—This refers to the minor swelling that appears on a newborn's scalp right after delivery. Luckily, this is often a minor problem that resolves itself without any medical intervention. Caput Succedaneum usually occurs because of excessive pressure placed on the baby's head during delivery.
- Perinatal Asphyxia—Perinatal asphyxia is caused by a lack of oxygen during delivery. The lack of oxygen might be caused by a prolonged delivery, or the umbilical cord could become wrapped around the baby's neck.
What Should I Do If I Believe My Baby Was Injured During Birth?
If you believe your baby suffered a birth injury that was caused by negligence, your first step needs to be contacting a personal injury lawyer. Your lawyer can help you decide if you have a case and will help you through every step of the process.
Depending on the complexity of the case, it can take several months or even years to complete the entire process. The process begins with an investigation. During this process, your lawyer will interview the medical staff and may consult experts in the field—including other obstetricians—to determine if there was negligence.
If your lawyer believes you have a case, you will then either settle with the medical staff or go to court. If you decide to go to court, your lawyer will help you through every step of the process, from the filing to the trial and, finally, the decision.
From a broken bone to a more serious, lifelong disability, there are several different types of birth injuries. No matter how severe the injury, if you believe your medical staff was at fault, don't hesitate to contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your options. Go to websites like this one for further information.