When preparing for a new baby, parents trust that health care providers will do the best they can to ensure a safe delivery. While some babies are born with medical issues stemming from undiagnosed birth defects, other newborns can suffer birth injuries as a result of negligence or malpractice that occurred during labor.
Everyone makes mistakes, but physicians and medical staff are responsible for ensuring that an infant is delivered safely and without injuries caused by medical negligence.
Birth Defect vs. Birth Injury
A large majority of birth defects are based on a child’s DNA and affect a child prior to delivery. Examples of birth defects include Down Syndrome, a cleft palate, a heart murmur, or other health issues stemming from the child’s DNA structure.
Yet some birth defects are a direct cause of external factors, such as medications that have been shown to cause birth defects. In those instances, the birth defects could have been prevented had a physician not prescribed specific medication while a mother was pregnant.
A birth injury is a preventable health problem that an infant suffers during labor. The most common injuries are caused by:
- Improperly pulling and/or twisting the infant during delivery
- Incorrect use of birthing tools such as forceps or extraction tool
- Administering the wrong dose or type of medication to the mother during pregnancy and/or labor
- Failure to properly monitor the infant for distress
- Failure to schedule and perform an emergency cesarean surgery
Consequences of Birth Injuries
If you believe your child may be the victim of a birth injury, it is important to monitor your child’s symptoms and consult a physician as soon as possible. Some of the long-term consequences of a birth injury can be mitigated if medical attention is provided in a timely manner.
Infants who are severely injured during birth face serious and often life altering issues such as:
- Persistent decrease in strength and stamina
- Decreased and/or lack of nerve sensations
- Cognitive impairment
- Emotional impairment
- Failure of bones to develop correctly
- Osteoarthritis and joint dysfunctions
Cerebral Palsy and Birth Injuries
Any type of birth injury is devastating, yet cerebral palsy is one of the most severe health disorders that can occur. In many cases, cerebral palsy leads to long-term health issues and disabilities. Cerebral palsy can vary in severity, ranging from light involuntary movements while performing daily routines, to a total loss of movement.
Costs Associated with Birth Injuries
Unfortunately, the complications associated with a birth injury require consistent, and often life-long medical treatment and rehabilitation. The financial costs can range from several thousands of dollars to millions of dollars during the lifespan of the child. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the lifetime costs associated with a child who has cerebral palsy are significant.
There are several ways that parents can seek help with the high costs of taking care of a child with a disability, such as grants and other forms of government assistance. However, it is important to remember that if your child’s injuries are a result of medical negligence, the medical staff, hospital, and/or physician may be liable for damages.
For more information regarding birth injuries and medical negligence, contact the Law Offices of Peter Angelos.