We often place our trust in the medical practitioners responsible for the health and safety of our children. However, it is possible that they may act negligently when delivering a child. If your child was injured while you were giving birth, you should consult with an experienced Baltimore birth injury lawyer. Our medical malpractice lawyers understand the stress you and your family are experiencing because of a birth injury, and we are here to stand with you. In this article, the attorneys of Bennett & Heyman, P.A. explain the five most dangerous birth injuries in Maryland.
5 Most Common and Dangerous Birth Injuries
There are several types of birth injuries that can affect a newborn when hospital negligence or malpractice occurs. Here are five of the most common and dangerous birth injuries that could affect your child.
Brain injuries often occur because a child was deprived of oxygen. Oxygen deprivation may cause brain cells to be damaged and lead to several types of injuries. Even if a child is briefly deprived of oxygen, there may still be serious consequences that could result from the oxygen deprivation.
One particular birth injury that can occur because of oxygen deprivation is Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE). HIE can be caused by various factors like a knot in the umbilical cord or trauma that is sustained during delivery. If your child was diagnosed with HIE, they might suffer from one or more of the following symptoms:
- Acidosis (imbalance of the body’s pH levels)
- Absent or slow reflexes
- Irregular or slow breathing
- Low heart rate
- Blue or pale skin color
In the United States, HIE is one of the most common types of infant brain injury, affecting about 20 out of every 1,000 newborns.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a fractured clavicle (broken collarbone) is one of the most common types of fracture that could occur during childbirth. Fractured clavicles and other fractures often happen when the delivering physician exerts too much force when delivering the infant. This type of birth injury can also occur when a physician pulls too hard when using forceps to deliver a child.
A fractured bone can usually be diagnosed if an infant has difficulty moving a part of their body or cannot move a particular body part at all. While many bone fracture injuries will heal within a few weeks, there is potential for permanent damage or serious complications without proper care.
Caput succedaneum is a swelling of a newborn’s scalp that usually appears as a bump on the child’s head after delivery. Caput succedaneum is caused by pressure applied to the baby’s head by a dilated cervix or vaginal walls during a long and difficult labor. If the delivering physician uses forceps or vacuum suction to aid in the delivery, this might also increase the risk of swelling. Caput succedaneum can also be caused if amniotic sac membranes rupture during labor.
The medical team in charge of your delivery should determine whether a prolonged delivery will cause an injury to your child and prepare for any changes that may be needed during delivery. Failure to diagnose a dangerous condition during delivery could cause your child to suffer unnecessary harm.
Brachial Palsy Injuries
Brachial palsy refers to an injury that occurs to nerves in the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves that control signals from the brain to muscles in the arm.
The most common cause of a brachial palsy injury is shoulder dystocia. Shoulder dystocia occurs when the baby’s shoulders become trapped behind the mother’s pelvic bone during labor. If a doctor does not exercise care when delivering your child under these conditions, your child may suffer a permanent injury.
Cephalohematoma is diagnosed by bleeding underneath the cranium (skull), directly under one or more of the baby’s cranial bones. The injury usually appears as a bump on top of the baby’s head several hours after the baby was delivered. Birthing tools like forceps and vacuum suctions are often responsible for causing cephalohematoma in an infant. While cephalohematoma may heal within a few months, it carries a risk of causing other serious conditions like jaundice, anemia, hypotension (low blood pressure), and even meningitis.
Baltimore Birth Injury Attorneys Can Help File Your Lawsuit
If your child has suffered one of the birth injuries above, or suffered another type of birth injury in Maryland, you should contact an experienced Baltimore personal injury attorney today. Bennett & Heyman, P.A. is here to help your family hold negligent medical practitioners accountable for their actions. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online, or call us at 410-429-7856.