a boy with a birth injury talking to mother

Long-Term Effects of Birth Injuries

Birth injuries can have a lasting and profound effect on the health of a child. While some injuries are minor and may only require short-term medical attention, others can result in long-term complications that affect your child's entire life. This blog will discuss some of the most common birth injury cases resulting from medical malpractice and how an experienced attorney can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

Common Causes of Birth Injuries

Birth injuries are often caused by medical negligence, with the severity ranging from mild to severe. The most frequent causes include the following:

  • Delayed response to fetal distress
  • Waiting too long to perform a c-section when there is fetal distress (or not performing one at all)
  • Overdose of Pitocin (a.k.a. oxytocin) causing excessive uterine activity and fetal distress
  • Failure to diagnose or treat infection
  • Improper use of forceps or vacuum extractors during delivery
  • Failure to monitor fetal oxygen levels
  • Failure to recognize placental abruption (when the placenta separates from the uterus before delivery)
  • Failure to recognize uterine rupture
  • Umbilical cord entrapment (when the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby's neck or torso)
  • Shoulder dystocia (when a baby's shoulder gets stuck during delivery)
  • Mismanaged labor

Long-Term Consequences

The long-term consequences of birth injuries vary widely, but they typically involve nerve damage, brain damage, visual or hearing impairment, developmental delays and physical disabilities.

Related Reading: "Can Birth Injuries Cause Autism?" (Link Once Live)

One of the most serious long-term effects is cerebral palsy (CP)—a neurological disorder that affects movement—which can cause impaired coordination and muscle control as well as speech difficulties. Other severe conditions resulting from birth injuries include:

  • Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) - A brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen or blood flow. This can occur before, during or after the birthing process. HIE often leads to a diagnosis of cerebral palsy as the child grows older.
  • Erb's Palsy - Damage to the nerves that control the arm, causing paralysis or weakness. This may occur when the baby is forcefully pulled from the birth canal, stretching the nerves in the neck. The most common situation when this occurs is when a shoulder dystocia is encountered.
  • Kernicterus - A form of brain damage caused by an excess of bilirubin (a pigment created during the breakdown of red blood cells) due to prolonged jaundice. Kernicterus can further lead to cerebral palsy and/or hearing loss.

When a birth injury occurs, there is often no cure. Some methods, though, can help improve outcomes for babies born with HIE, such as neonatal cooling.

Related Reading: "Can Neonatal Cooling Improve Outcomes Following Birth Injuries?"

Maternal Injuries Resulting from Birth Injuries

It's important to note that birth injuries do not just affect the baby. Mothers can develop severe conditions as a result of medical malpractice during the birthing process. These can take the form of uterine ruptures, bladder or bowel perforations and postpartum hemorrhage, among many others.

Financial Compensation for Birth Injuries

If your child was injured during birth due to medical negligence, you may be entitled to financial compensation. An experienced attorney can help you understand the various options available and what type of compensation you are eligible for. Potential damages include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Mental anguish
  • Cost of special education or care
  • Punitive damages in certain cases

High-Quality Legal Representation Following a Birth Injury

Birth injuries often have far-reaching consequences that impact not only the victim but also their family members, who must provide care for them in the long term. If you think your child's birth injury was caused by medical negligence, then it is important that you seek legal advice from an experienced attorney who specializes in medical malpractice cases in order to ensure that justice is served and that your family receives financial compensation for what happened.

With the help of Daniel, Holoman & Associates LLP, victims of birth injuries can receive much-needed assistance with both physical rehabilitation and emotional support so they can move forward with their lives without further worry or stress about their future prospects.

If your baby was injured due to birth asphyxia which was brought on by negligence, call us today at (866) 380-2281 for a free consultation.


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