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Common Types of Birth Injuries

Published on June 13, 2016

If you’re expecting a child, congratulations! There is no greater joy than bringing a child into this world. By educating Arizonans on the problems that could arise, we in no way want to take away from that. However, as you’ve probably figured out, becoming a parent comes with a lot of responsibility and here at Knapp & Roberts we do our best to educate parents so that they can recognize signs of medical mistakes and potential birth injuries. That way, you can take proper steps in ensuring your child receives the best care and ideally recover from any injury he/she endured.

Here are the top 5 most common birth injuries:

Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) affects 20 out of every 1,000 full term births. In premature babies, it affects 60% of all births. It is the brain injury caused by oxygen deprivation to the brain, also commonly known as intrapartum asphyxia. The newborn’s body can compensate for brief periods of depleted oxygen, but if the asphyxia lasts too long, brain tissue is destroyed. Since this is considered a brain injury, the time of the oxygen deprivation generally relates to the perinatal period, just before and just after delivery. HIE caused by asphyxia is the leading cause of infant fatalities in the United States, as well as the primary source of severe impairments. This can cause cerebral palsy.

Cerebral Palsy is a form of brain damage that affects coordination, movement, speech, and various bodily functions. It is often the result of some type of injury to the brain at birth. Many cases are preventable and are the result of improper surgical procedures or care during the birthing process.

Erb’s Palsy (also known as a brachial plexus injury or Klumpke’s palsy) occurs in one out of every 1,000 births. Mayo Clinic defines brachial plexus as a network of nerves that sends signals from your spine to your shoulder, arm and hand. An injury occurs when these nerves are stretched, compressed or in the most serious cases, ripped apart or torn away from the spinal cord.

Spina Bifida is when the embryonic neural tube, the tissue which develops into the baby’s spinal cord and brain, fails to develop or close properly. Normally, the neural tube forms early in the pregnancy and closes by the 28th day after conception. Postnatal surgery can close this tissue up, but research shows that prenatal doses of folic acid reduce the risk of spina bifida by up to 70 percent. A medical practitioner should detect the baby’s condition with an ultrasound and communicate this prior to birth.

Shoulder dystocia happens during the second stage of labor as the uterine contractions push the baby into the birth canal: the baby’s head has come through the pelvis, but one or both of the shoulders get stuck behind the bony structure. This can happen for various reasons including the mother’s pelvis is unusually small, the baby is large relative to the mother’s pelvis or the baby is not in the usual position. The likelihood of shoulder dystocia increases if the mother naturally suffers from gestational diabetes, if labor has been induced, and if the mother has had previous deliveries with shoulder dystocia, or if the mother is obese. However, the obstetrician should know and anticipate a difficult delivery because of this.

Of course, things can go wrong that are no one’s fault. Not all birth injuries are the result of negligence. Sometimes a doctor does everything right, but the outcome for the child is not the best. However, when carelessness or negligence has harmed your child, the emotional impact is even more devastating. The central question is whether or not the doctor, hospital, and staff followed proper medical procedure and met the standard of care expected in the practice of obstetrics in Arizona. Take a look at our blog to learn what delivery errors cause these types of birth injuries.

If your child has suffered a birth injury and you think it’s due to the negligence of a doctor, nurse, hospital or other health professional, give the Phoenix Medical Malpractice lawyers at Knapp & Roberts a call at 480-991-7677 today for a complimentary case analysis. Legal time limits apply, so protect your child’s interests by calling today.

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The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona, at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.