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Most common birth injuries and their causes

Expectant mothers and fathers want more than anything a healthy, happy baby – a baby they can hold, kiss, nurture and love. Fortunately, the hopes of the vast majority of parents are fulfilled. Unfortunately, the hopes and dreams of some parents turn into nightmares when doctor negligence causes birth injuries that require a lifetime of medical care.

How birth injuries happen

In some cases, a New York City doctor’s or hospital’s negligence causes birth injuries to the mother, and sometimes to both the mother and baby. The harm can occur before or during the baby’s birth.

Birth injuries are sometimes caused by the negligence of a doctor or hospital medical team in a failure to monitor a mother’s blood pressure or to control her post-delivery excess blood loss.

Other damaging incidents involve failures to monitor the baby’s oxygen levels before, during or after birth. In other cases, a doctor applies excess force to extract the baby during a difficult birth, or misuses surgical tools.

No matter how birth injuries occur, the results for victims can be devastating and permanent.

Common birth injuries due to malpractice

  • Brain injuries can be caused by extreme hypoxia (inadequate oxygen) during birth. Oxygen deprivation can be caused by allowing an infant to remain in the birth canal too long or by failure to perform a medically necessary cesarean section. Hypoxic episodes can also be caused by failures of doctors and hospitals to detect and treat infections during birth or to recognize a prolapsed umbilical cord. Brain injuries can result in cerebral palsy or limited behavioral or cognitive development.
  • Facial paralysis can occur when facial nerves are damaged when a doctor using forceps or vacuum extraction places too much pressure on the baby’s face. The paralysis varies in extent and duration.
  • Spinal cord injuries can also be caused by physician negligence in the use of forceps. These injuries can mean permanent paralysis.
  • Brachial plexus injuries include Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy. These shoulder nerve injuries often occur when the baby’s shoulder is caught inside the mother and a doctor pulls incorrectly on the baby during delivery.

Changed lives

These birth injuries (and others not listed) are life-altering, meaning that the baby will require extensive medical care (including corrective surgeries), therapy and rehabilitation, sometimes lasting the rest of their lives.

Thankfully, New York recognizes that medical malpractice causing birth injuries leaves victims and families in need of compensation to meet staggering costs of needed professional care and medical expenses. To pursue compensation, contact an attorney experienced in medical malpractice litigation.

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