Home / Blog / What Are the Biggest Risk Factors for Birth Injuries?

Having a child is often one of life’s happiest moments. After hours of labor and anticipation, new parents expect to bring home a beautiful, happy, and healthy baby. A new parent’s worst nightmare is their baby sustaining a birth injury that requires months, years, or even a lifetime of ongoing medical treatment.

Parents trust their doctors and expect them to always provide the highest quality of care. Unfortunately, medical professionals sometimes do act negligently and can cause harm to you or your child. Learn the biggest risk factors for birth injuries relating to medical mistakes and how a birth injury lawyer from Wagner Reese can help you get compensation.

Inattention to Oxygen Levels

Labor is exhausting and can last hours. While it is not uncommon for the umbilical cord to wrap around the baby’s neck, failure to take the necessary steps to fix it can cause serious injury to the baby. Monitoring oxygen levels is important as the baby goes through the birth canal.

Failure to maintain oxygen levels can lead to serious birth injuries such as Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). HIE can cause lifelong side effects, including behavioral issues, impaired memory capabilities, and cerebral palsy. In severe cases, it can reduce your child’s life expectancy.

To prevent HIE, the doctor and nurses must monitor both the mother and baby’s oxygen levels during delivery. If your care team fails to notice or treat a lack of oxygen to your child and their negligence causes HIE or another injury, you may have grounds for a birth injury case.

Instrumental Deliveries

Assisted deliveries, or deliveries in which a physician uses medical instruments to assist birth, can cause birth injuries if the tools are misused. The most common instruments used during deliveries are vacuum extractors and forceps.

A physician may use forceps to speed up the delivery and guide the baby’s head through the birth canal. Improper use of forceps can lead to birth injuries like:

  • Broken bones
  • Facial trauma
  • Facial palsy
  • Brachial plexus injuries
  • Seizures
  • Uterine rupture

Vacuum extractors are also used when labor has stalled to help the baby through the birth canal. Improper use of vacuum extractors can cause:

  • Lacerations
  • Skull fractures
  • Hematoma
  • Erb’s Palsy
  • Hemorrhage
  • Jaundice

Your physician may use instruments to assist you in giving birth; however, your provider should limit the use of these devices to medical necessity.

If your doctor used a vacuum extractor or forceps during a standard delivery for convenience, or if they caused injuries to you or your baby by using excessive force with these instruments, speak to a birth injury attorney at Wagner Reese.

We can assess whether the physician acted negligently and if their actions caused your baby’s injuries. If we determine negligence, we can help you pursue a fair settlement.

C-Section Errors and Failure to Perform a Necessary C-Section

A cesarean section, also known as a C-section, is a surgery in which a baby is delivered through an incision made in the mother’s abdomen and uterus. Although roughly a third of births are C-sections, a C-section is a major surgery that should only be performed when medically necessary.

Two main types of C-section mistakes can lead to birth injuries: failure to perform a necessary C-section or error when performing a C-section. A C-section can be medically necessary if a baby is in breech position, the labor stalls, or a baby goes into distress.

If a doctor fails to notice signs of fetal distress and doesn’t perform the procedure promptly, this can be grounds for a medical malpractice claim. Failure to perform a necessary C-section can lead to potentially lifelong or even fatal side effects for the baby, such as developmental delays.

Improper C-sections can cause harm to both the mother and baby, including lacerations, broken bones, and oxygen deprivation. Doctors are responsible for providing a proper standard of care; if they fail to do so, they can be found negligent and held accountable for malpractice.

Seeking Justice for Medical Malpractice

No parent deserves to have their child suffer due to a birth injury caused by medical negligence. Negligence by a delivery room doctor can cause families years of emotional suffering and require expensive, ongoing medical care for the child.

If the attending physician, nurses, or hospital staff acted negligently and caused your child’s injuries, contact the experienced Indianapolis birth injury lawyers at Wagner Reese. We can help you get the justice you deserve by holding the negligent parties responsible and seeking economic and non-economic damages for you and your child.

Contact us today to schedule your free legal consultation. We’ll help you assess your legal options and get started toward winning a settlement, so you can focus on caring for yourself and your child.