Home / Blog / What is the Cause of Birth Injuries?

Most parents-to-be hope for a healthy and happy baby, so any complications or injuries can take parents by surprise. However, when complications result from doctors and nurses acting negligently, you may feel angry because the injury should not have happened or could have been prevented. Due to the hospital staff’s negligence, you or your child may face unexpected medical bills and experience a reduced quality of life.

If your child has suffered a birth injury due to medical negligence, you may be able to recover compensation for their current and future medical treatment and pain and suffering. Read on to learn the common causes of birth injuries and how a skilled birth injury attorney from Wagner Reese can help.

What is a Birth Injury?

A birth injury is an injury or disability sustained by a baby during labor and delivery. Birth injuries can range from mild to severe and adversely impact a child’s quality of life.

While many children with birth injuries go on to live healthy, happy lives, they may need extra support, like medical treatment, rehabilitative care, and attendant care to do so. For example, the annual costs of treating children with Cerebral Palsy, a common birth injury, can be between $22,383 and $43,687.

How Common Are Birth Injuries?

Luckily, birth injuries are relatively uncommon. According to a survey in 2012, only 1.9 births in every 1,000 in the U.S. that year sustained a birth injury. However, when birth injuries occur, the consequences are often devastating for children and their families.

Birth injuries are more likely to occur when mothers deliver under the care of underqualified or undertrained doctors or nurses. Other risk factors for birth injuries include low birth weight, preterm delivery, or poor prenatal care, making them more common in mothers and babies who lack access to adequate care during their pregnancy.

What Are Common Birth Injuries?

There are a wide variety of birth injuries that can occur during birth. Some common birth injuries include:

  • Bruising: Bruising is common during birth. Although it typically resolves on its own, severe bruising may indicate a more serious injury due to medical negligence.
  • Broken bones: A physically traumatic birth or doctors handling the baby too forcefully during delivery can result in broken bones. A broken clavicle is most common, but it is also possible for other bones to fracture, like the humerus (upper arm).
  • Nerve injury: It’s possible for your baby to experience a nerve injury from twisting or bending during birth or from overly forceful use of tools like forceps. These injuries can be mild, but more serious birth injuries can result in conditions like brachial or Erb’s Palsy (which can require physical therapy to treat) or even paralysis of the affected limb.
  • Brain injury and oxygen deprivation: Both head trauma and oxygen deprivation from complications that aren’t treated properly or quickly enough can cause damage to a baby’s brain cells. Head trauma can also result in a brain bleed or cranial hemorrhage.
  • Severe scalp swelling, called caput succedaneum, can result from vacuum extraction deliveries.

Moderate to severe birth injuries can require lengthy or expensive treatment that you may not have anticipated. If your child has suffered a more serious birth injury, consult with our Indiana birth injury attorneys at Wagner Reese to determine if you can recover compensation.

How Did My Child’s Birth Injury Happen?

Birth injuries can happen for many reasons, some of which may be outside your and your doctors’ control. However, many serious birth injuries are typically preventable with adequate medical care. Some of the most common causes of birth injuries include:

  • Complications During Labor: Complications during labor and delivery can result in birth injuries, especially if they don’t receive prompt medical attention. For example, the placenta may detach from the uterus during labor, resulting in oxygen deprivation to the baby. If the doctor does not diagnose this condition and take the appropriate steps, it can result in a birth injury.
  • Improper Handling: Your doctor may need to use their hands or medical tools to assist with the delivery. For example, they may use forceps to guide the baby out of the birth canal. Handling the baby too roughly or misusing the device can cause various birth injuries, such as brachial palsy.
  • Medical Neglect: While a doctor or nurse may not be present for your entire labor and delivery, they should check on you periodically to ensure your labor is progressing appropriately. Similarly, most hospitals have buttons in the delivery room that you can use to call for a nurse. A birth injury may result if your doctors and nurses neglect to monitor you or your baby’s condition and fail to make appropriate medical interventions.
  • Delayed Treatment: If you experience a complication during labor and delivery, your doctor should administer emergency treatment to prevent or reduce injury as soon as possible. For example, if the baby shows fetal distress, your medical provider may need to schedule an emergency C-section to prevent a birth injury.

Contact Our Indianapolis Birth Injury Attorneys

Some birth injuries are preventable and only occur due to a medical professional’s error or negligence. If you suspect improper medical treatment led to your child’s birth injury, the attorneys at Wagner Reese can help you file a birth injury lawsuit.

We will investigate the circumstances of your labor and delivery to determine if medical negligence led to your child’s birth injury and fight to get you and your child the compensation you deserve.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.