Birth Injuries in Medical Malpractice Claims
Having a baby should be one of the most joyous moments in parents’ lives. But sometimes everything doesn’t happen as it should, and a newborn baby starts off life with a birth injury that may leave the child permanently disabled either physically, mentally or both.
Finding out that your baby has a potentially life altering injury often leaves parents searching for answers with the help of their medical malpractice lawyer.
The most common link to many types of birth injuries is oxygen deprivation. Throughout a pregnancy, both the mother and the fetus need to be periodically evaluated to make sure the pregnancy is proceeding normally. When something starts to go wrong, doctors should investigate what is causing the concern, and in many cases, they are able to intervene and correct the problem.
What are some red flags that indicate a fetus is at a higher risk of birth injury?
Two of the biggest red flags that an infant may be born with an injury or sustain one shortly after birth have to do with the weight of the baby and the weight of the mother. Different diagnostic and monitoring methods allow doctors to be able to estimate how much a baby weighs at different stages of a pregnancy. When it comes to birth injuries, high birth weight, particularly a weight of more than 8.8 pounds, makes it far more likely that a birth injury may occur.
Women who are very overweight (the medical term is obese) when they get pregnant are also more likely to have a baby who will be injured during the birth process. This is because in many cases, larger women give birth to larger babies. Some instruments that are used to monitor fetal well being, like electronic fetal heart monitors, may be more difficult to use when mom is over weight. Doctors delivering babies born to larger mothers are more likely to use instruments when delivering, which can cause injuries.
Babies that are in the wrong position (breech) are also more likely to sustain an injury during the birth process.
Do all birth injuries have a permanent impact on a child’s life?
Not all birth injuries are permanent and not all birth injuries are catastrophic or life aletering.
For example, some babies are born with injuries like broken bones. While injuries like these heal, they also represent a painful experience for your baby.
What types of birth injuries are potentially fatal, or likely to cause considerable disability?
There is strong scientific evidence to suggest that oxygen deprevation during labour and delivery (the medical term is Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy or HIE) can cause cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy can happen when the fetus (your baby) becomes distressed because it is not getting the oxygen your baby requires.
This can result in a low APGAR score, which is a measure of how healthy your baby is at birth. Scores lower than 5 are associated with cerebral palsy.
Another test that strongly points to oxygen deprivation as a possible cause of cerebral palsy is the blood tests taken after your baby is delivered. If the blood PH is less than 7 that is strong evidence that your baby may have suffered HIE that can cause cerbral palsy.
Bleeding in the Brain
There are several conditions where bleeding in the brain is a primary reason for the birth injury, and often these injuries happen when tools such a forceps or a vacuum are used for delivery.
Some birth injuries hit a nerve, resulting in various difficulties, for example, injuries to the nerves in the larynx can lead to long-lasting respiratory problems.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Babies born with spinal cord injuries may never walk or move normally. They may also experience breathing problems and various other issues.
When should I talk to medical malpractice lawyers about my baby’s birth injuries?
If you are parent of a baby who has sustained injuries at birth, and you are not satisfied with the explanation the doctor gave you, it is worth your while to speak to a medical malpractice lawyer in Halifax. Your lawyer can help you look more closely at your child’s records as well as at the records of the mother during pregnancy. These records often lend insight into mistakes that were made or actions not taken that could have prevented the birth injury from happening or lessened its effects.