The phrases “birth trauma” and “birth injury” might sound interchangeable. However, the difference between a birth injury and a birth trauma can impact how your child’s condition is treated if you file a malpractice lawsuit. Understanding how your child was injured will also help you understand whether it could have been avoided. If your baby was injured during delivery, you should consult with an experienced Baltimore birth injury lawyer. The attorneys at Bennett & Heyman, P.A. are ready to fight for you and your family in your time of need. In this article, we explain the difference between birth trauma and birth injury in Maryland.
Birth Injuries vs. Birth Trauma
Birth injuries and birth trauma both occur due to complications during labor or hospital negligence on the part of the medical staff in charge of your pregnancy. There are various types of injuries that can occur during childbirth, and it is important to understand how those injuries were caused.
What is a Birth Injury?
A birth injury is an injury that a baby receives primarily because of physical pressure exerted upon the baby during delivery. Birth injuries are preventable if the physician in charge of your pregnancy is able to diagnose dangerous situations that could affect your childbirth.
One way a birth injury could occur is when the delivering physician improperly pulls or twists the infant during delivery. Pulling an infant too hard during delivery can result in several kinds of injuries, one example being brachial palsy. Brachial palsy is an injury that affects the brachial plexus, a set of nerves that controls movements in the arm. A brachial palsy injury often occurs because a child’s shoulder becomes stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone when traveling through the birth canal. A physician’s failure to diagnose and address this situation accurately may result in permanent nerve damage for the child.
When delivering a child, a physician may utilize birth-assisting tools to help with the birthing process. Forceps and vacuum suction tools may sometimes be invaluable during the birthing process, but if they are not properly used, they can cause serious injuries to your child.
One serious injury that can be caused by the misuse of birthing tools is facial paralysis. If a physician applies too much pressure when using forceps, it may damage nerves in the child’s face. Signs that your child suffers from facial paralysis include being unable to close an eye or being unable to move one side of their face. Severe cases of facial paralysis may result in total paralysis on one side of the child’s face.
What is Birth Trauma?
“Birth trauma” refers to physical injuries that affect a child during delivery, like lacerations (cuts) or bone fractures (broken bones). Birth trauma is more likely to occur when delivering a child that is larger than average. Another common cause of birth trauma is the improper use of birthing tools that are usually needed to deliver larger babies.
One injury that commonly occurs because of birth trauma is infant subconjunctival hemorrhage. A subconjunctival hemorrhage happens when tiny blood vessels in the baby’s eye rupture. This type of injury may happen at any age but is common among infants after a prolonged delivery. Severe cases of subconjunctival hemorrhage may result in permanent eye damage if not treated properly.
A bone fracture is another common example of birth trauma. A fractured clavicle (broken collarbone) is one of the most common types of injury a child may sustain when traveling through the birth canal. An injury like this is more likely to occur if the child is over eight pounds, which is the average weight of a newborn baby.
Birth trauma also happens when a child is too large to fit through the mother’s pelvis safely. It is the responsibility of the delivery doctor to determine when labor will be too stressful for the child and the mother. If a safe delivery is not possible, the doctor should be prepared to schedule an emergency cesarean section (“C-section”).
Other examples of situations that could result in birth trauma include the following:
- The baby is born prior to the thirty-seventh week of pregnancy.
- The baby is an abnormal position that could make delivery difficult.
- The baby is deprived of oxygen due to the umbilical cord wrapping around the child’s neck. Our umbilical cord birth injury lawyers are highly familiar with claims of this nature.
In the United States, birth trauma does not occur as often as birth injuries do. This may be because most traumatic injuries are easier to diagnose than birth injuries, which are often caused by negligence.
Baltimore Birth Injury Attorneys Can Help File Your Medical Malpractice Claim
If your child has suffered a birth injury, or suffered any type of trauma during the delivery, you should contact an experienced Baltimore medical malpractice lawyer. Bennett & Heyman, P.A. has served parents across Maryland in complicated birth injury cases, and we are prepared to represent you.
We offer free initial consultations. To schedule your free consultation and discuss a potential birth injury claim, call our Baltimore personal injury lawyers at 410-429-7856, or contact us online.