An Overview of Birth Injuries: What to Know About Different Types of Birth Injuries
When your child has suffered a birth injury, the mental and physical repercussions for both you and your child can be devastating. While the severity of these injuries varies, knowing that injuries to your child could have been prevented can leave you feeling overwhelmed and even outraged. At The Law Office of Evan K. Thalenberg, P.A., our duty is to fight for the rights of families who have fallen victim to negligence by medical professionals. Here, the birth injury and medical malpractice attorneys at The Law Office of Evan K. Thalenberg, P.A. provide an overview of different types of birth injuries that can occur, and give insight on how to move forward in seeking legal counsel and justice for your family.
Brain-Related Birth Injuries
One of the most severe types of birth injuries are brain-related birth injuries, which can cause long-term harm. Typically, these birth injuries result from oxygen deprivation before birth, or result from infant-related illnesses. Oxygen deprivation can cause mental and physical brain damage, including brain ischemia. Brain ischemia is a hemorrhage that can result from nutrient and oxygen deprivation; blood vessels may leak into the brain, and electrical response deficiencies can result in seizures or cerebral palsy (CP).
Approximately 8,000 to 10,000 cases of CP are diagnosed each year, many of which could have been easily prevented with proper physician intervention. These injuries can occur before, during and after birth, and can be a result of negligence on the part of a medical professional due to improper prenatal care, misdiagnosis of a maternal infection, failure to carry out an emergency C-section, improper use of medical tools during birth, and more.
Physical and Muscle-Related Birth Injuries
Physical complications before and during delivery can also pose a risk for many children, and if not handled properly by the medical professional, can lead to severe and even permanent physical injury. Birth injuries include caput succedaneum, which is marked by scalp swelling after birth, typically after vaginal delivery. While this is common in many newborns, if untreated, their condition could become exponentially worse. If not monitored correctly, caput succedaneum can cause newborn jaundice, and if this jaundice persists, it can result in kernicterus. Kernicterus occurs when a substance called bilirubin in the blood spreads throughout the brain, damaging tissues and causing permanent brain damage.
Other physical injuries that can be sustained during birth are brachial plexus injuries, including Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy. Erb’s palsy can result in nerve damage and, in severe cases, total paralysis of the arm after birth. Klumpke’s palsy, similar to Erb’s palsy, can result in major damage to the forearm, wrist and hand due to trauma caused during birth, and can ultimately tear muscles and nerves. In rare cases, shoulder dystocia may happen, which occurs when a baby’s head and shoulders are stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone. If not handled properly, the child can suffer severe trauma to their entire body, potentially leading to both physical and mental disabilities, or even death.
Birth Injuries Related to the Mother
When speaking of birth injuries, the primary thought is often of the child. However, mothers can also suffer life-altering injuries during childbirth, harming both her and her child for a lifetime. Uterine ruptures occur when the wall of the uterus tears during childbirth, causing potential hemorrhaging and even death for both the mother and baby if not caught. Similarly, a uterine prolapse, which occurs when the muscles of the uterus weaken and slip down into the vaginal canal, can have detrimental effects if not handled properly. If a uterine prolapse occurs before or during childbirth, and a medical professional inadequately treats the patient, she may require intensive surgery, and in severe cases, a hysterectomy. Negligence on the part of a medical professional can result in women being unable to bear future children, placing unbearable physical and emotional burdens on them for decades to come.
Seek Help From Birth Injury Attorneys at The Law Office of Evan K. Thalenberg, P.A.
It is vital for medical professionals to act within their duties to avoid causing life-altering and permanent harm to the baby, the mother, or both. If your child suffered an injury before or during birth at the hands of a medical professional, know that you are not alone, and that you can seek help for both you and your child. Many birth injury cases could have been easily prevented if a medical professional intervened when they should have or carried out their responsibilities to the fullest extent. At The Law Office of Evan K. Thalenberg, P.A., it is our duty to be a voice for victims of medical malpractice and fight for the justice that you and your family deserve. To learn more about our birth injury team and how we can assist you, contact our Baltimore office today.