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Cause and Effect: Uncovering Various Birth Injuries

Wagner Reese

The birth of a child is one of the most momentous times in the life of a parent, but for some families, the excitement can turn to fear and devastation when their newborn suffers a birth injury.

Although some birth injuries may be unavoidable or caused by a congenital birth defect, other injuries are caused or aggravated by the negligence of doctors, nurses, and midwives. Approximately 7 out of every 1,000 births in the United States involve birth injury. Many birth injuries can cause permanent neurological damage to a newborn, which can affect you and your child physically and psychologically.

Special medical care could be necessary throughout the life of the child. The effects of some birth injuries are discovered right away, but some may not be discovered for months or years after the child is born. The most common birth injuries are cerebral palsy and birth asphyxia. If your child has suffered from a birth injury that could be due to the negligence or fault of the doctor or nurse, you should consult experienced Indiana medical malpractice attorneys to learn about your options.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a developmental disorder and one of the leading causes of disability among young children. As many as 10,000 babies are born with cerebral palsy each year in the United States. This condition has many causes, and often occurs when a child suffers from brain injury during fetal development or the birthing process. The symptoms of CP usually affect the child's coordination and movement.

Most of the parents that Wagner Reese represents usually notice their child has CP when he/she fails to:

  • Rollover;

  • Crawl; or

  • Walk.

This is why the condition is often diagnosed later in life when the child has difficulty achieving developmental milestones.

Cerebral palsy has many causes, and can occur when an unborn baby’s brain is damaged or when developmental processes are disrupted. Some examples of when this can occur include:

  • A lack of blood flow to the unborn baby’s brain or other important organs;

  • A lack of oxygen to the unborn baby’s brain and other organs;

  • Bleeding in the brain while in the womb or during birth;

  • Seizures during birth;

  • Maternal infections;

  • Genetic causes;

  • Brain injuries after birth, including trauma causing traumatic brain injury, brain infection, and seizures.

Birth Asphyxia

Asphyxia means lack of blood flow and oxygen to the brain. It occurs when the baby's brain does not get enough nutrients and oxygen during birth. Without nutrients and oxygen, body cells cannot function properly. Waste products build up in cells and result in cell damage.

This is a very dangerous condition for the baby, and health care providers should be vigilant to prevent this condition from occurring during the birthing process. When the baby’s brain is damaged as a result of birth asphyxia, Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) can result.

The severity of the condition depends on:

  • How long the child has lasted without sufficient oxygen;

  • The child's oxygen levels;

  • How quick the appropriate treatment is administered.

Basic causes of birth asphyxia are:

  • The child's airways are blocked;

  • The child's mother has little oxygen before or when giving birth;

  • Long delivery periods;

  • The placenta is separated from the womb too soon;

  • An infection in the baby or mother;

  • Problems with the child's umbilical cord;

  • The mother's blood pressure is high or low;

  • The child's airway does not form properly.

Effects of Childbirth Injuries

Childbirth injuries have devastating effects, and victims may be able to claim damages by hiring Indiana medical malpractice attorneys. Some of the ways childbirth injuries may affect families include:

  • Relationship breakdown;

  • Loss of work;

  • Physical symptoms like incontinence that affect the quality of the mother’s life;

  • Difficulty bonding with the newborn;

  • Emotional turmoil, such as guilt or low self-esteem for children or their families;

While giving birth is welcomed as a wonderful experience full of hope and promise, it does not always go as planned. Many families experience severe childbirth injuries due to the negligence of doctors or midwives. Some of these injuries have long-term effects and may continue to impact the affected parties many years down the line.

If you notice that your child has any signs of birth injury, you should seek the assistance of an experienced medical malpractice attorney to take action against the at-fault party.

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