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FAQs: Birth Injuries

According to Stanford Children’s Health, “Occasionally during the birth process, the baby may suffer a physical injury that is simply the result of being born. This is sometimes called birth trauma or birth injury.”

While giving birth is one of the greatest miracles, it is no walk in the park. Even births with no serious complications can be difficult experiences to endure.

There are seemingly endless ways for the birthing process to go wrong. Keep reading for the answers to some of your questions about birth injuries.

Your Questions, Answered

What causes birth injury?

Any of the following elements can cause birth injury:

  • Large baby
  • Baby isn’t head-first in the birth canal
  • Premature birth
  • The size or shape of the mother’s pelvis or birth canal makes it challenging for a standard vaginal birth
  • Labor is challenging or lengthy
  • The mother is very overweight or obese
  • Cesarean section delivery
  • Devices used in delivery (i.e. vacuum or forceps)

What are some common birth injuries?

The following are some examples of common birth injuries:

  • Swelling or bruising of the head
  • Bleeding beneath one of the cranial bones
  • Small blood vessels breakage in the baby’s eyes
  • Facial nerve injury as a result of pressure on the baby’s face
  • Damage to the nerve group that supplies the arms and hands
  • Clavicle or collarbone fracture

Is there a difference between a birth defect and a birth injury?

A birth injury involves a complication during the baby’s delivery itself. A birth defect is the result of harm to the baby before birth, due to an event that occurred during or before the pregnancy.

Are birth injuries common?

In the United States, approximately five babies out of every 1,000 babies born will endure a birth injury.

What sort of circumstances warrant a lawsuit for birth injuries?

A birth injury lawsuit may come about when a doctor neglects to effectively assess or respond to conditions and complications of a woman’s pregnancy or delivery. In addition, a lawsuit may be warranted if a woman consumes a prescription drug during pregnancy and the baby is harmed as a result.

Is a successful lawsuit always possible if a baby is harmed during birth?

No, certain birth injuries are inevitable. The main factor for a lawsuit is whether the medical providers and/or a pharmaceutical company neglected to provide you or your baby with effective medical care or medication advice during pregnancy and/or delivery.

What are “teratogens”?

Teratogens are chemicals or agents that incite birth defects in a baby. There are many drugs on the market that are teratogens, and several were originally designed to aid a woman’s pregnancy. The following are two common teratogen drugs:

  • Delalutin - a drug for pregnant women to prevent miscarriages
  • Bendectin - a drug administered to pregnant women to combat nausea

Are birth defects common?

Roughly 7% of all babies are born with a birth defect or irregularity.

Who receives the compensation from a successful birth injury lawsuit?

If a living child sustains harm as a result of an avoidable birth injury, the damages from a successful lawsuit will usually go to the child, at times in the form of a trust. In certain circumstances, parents may also receive compensation for emotional distress.

How does a jury decide if a doctor’s actions were acceptable with respect to the standards of good medical practice?

A jury will examine expert testimonies prepared by other doctors who testify whether they think your doctor’s actions followed standard medical practice or dropped beneath the accepted standard of care. Specialists are held to a higher degree of care than non-specialists.

Do I Need to Hire an Attorney for My Birth Injury Case?

You may not be required to hire an attorney for your birth injury case, but doing so will greatly increase your chances of a successful outcome. Dealing with a birth injury is distressing, which can make it challenging to know where to begin.

Once you’ve sought the treatment, support, and care you need for your baby, it’s important to understand your legal rights and options. Our team here at Dempsey & Kingsland, P.C. is highly skilled in the area of birth injury medical malpractice law and has helped many other people just like you obtain justice. Let us see if we can help you, too. Don’t delay—reach out to our office with your case right away.

Call Dempsey & Kingsland, P.C. today at (816) 484-3776 or complete an online form for a free consultation regarding your case.