Birth injuries can be devastating to the future health of the child as well as to parents who have to cope with the effects of the injury. When parents discover their baby’s injury may have resulted from a physician’s negligence, the response is understandably disbelief. Mothers trust physicians to do what’s best for the health of the baby during pregnancy and delivery. Unfortunately, physicians can make mistakes, and those mistakes can lead to birth injuries.
Types of Birth Injuries
When the brain is deprived of oxygen, it reacts by draining blood from the brain. Hypoxia, anoxia, birth asphyxia, and other birth injuries resulting from oxygen deprivation can lead to various types of brain damage. Birth injuries may not immediately be apparent to parents, but they can surface sometime later as the child develops.
The most common birth-related brain damage is cerebral palsy (CP). CP has a variety of causes, including lack of oxygen to the brain, maternal infections, infant stroke, and infant infection. Many cases of CP could have been prevented had the physician taken the proper preventative measures. The attending physician must monitor fetal distress in the womb during birth and look for signs of oxygen deprivation in the mother and baby.
In most cases, a physician should detect fetal distress, infection, or oxygen deprivation in time to take action. It is the physician’s responsibility to take due care to monitor and treat infections, as well as a prolapsed umbilical cord cutting off the baby’s oxygen supply. The physician also needs to plan and execute an emergency C-section and use birth-assisting tools correctly.
If the physician negligently fails in one or more of the above prevention techniques, the baby is likely to develop CP. CP affects the way a baby’s brain sends communication to the muscles—leading to CP often being misinterpreted as muscle-related instead of a brain-related birth injury. Other common birth injuries include:
- Fetal distress (hypoxia) from lack of oxygen to the brain
- Brain hemorrhage
- Electrical disorders
- Erb’s palsy
- Brachial plexus
- Fractures and broken bones
Erb’s palsy, brachial plexus, Klumpke’s palsy, and shoulder dystocia are forms of muscle-related birth injuries. These injuries are often the result of improper use of birth tools, such as forceps or a vacuum extractor. If a physician improperly handles the infant or is guilty of blatant medical malpractice, like bruising or breaking bones, muscle-related injuries can occur. Serious injuries, such as skull fractures, can lead to permanently damaging brain injuries.
Birth Injury Vs. Birth Defect
You should not confuse birth injuries with birth defects, which inflict your baby based on his or her DNA. Birth defects can, however, result from external factors (like the medications a mother takes while pregnant). If a physician mistakenly prescribes a medication known to cause birth defects, the courts can hold the physician responsible for consequent damage. If, however, the drug’s affects were the result of a manufacturer defect, the drug company may be at fault.
How to File a Birth Injury Claim
Discovering your child suffers from a birth injury, whether with temporary or permanent effects, can be devastating. It may be difficult to think about a lawsuit on top of the problems you are currently facing, but acting fast will benefit your child in the long run. In the state of Texas, parents have two years from the time of the injury or when the injury was discovered to file a claim against the negligent physician.
Filing a birth injury claim is complicated, and it must be done correctly for the courts to take your case to trial. The defendant must be identified and notified, whether it is the individual physical, a product manufacturer, a birthing facility, or a combination of parties. For help starting your case, contact Ted Smith Law Group, PLLC, today.