Birth Injury Types

Romanucci & Blandin: Experienced Chicago, Illinois Personal Injury & Birth Injury Lawyers

Prenatal and Birth Injuries

There are many different types of birth injuries and the severity can range from being a temporary disability to a permanent and lifelong injury. Some infants will only suffer from mild symptoms, whereas others may have very severe symptoms. Not all birth injuries are apparent right away and some parents may not notice it until their child is entering school. The symptoms and the severity will depend on the circumstances surrounding the labor and delivery along with the type of birth injury the baby has.

Brain-Related Birth Injuries
There are several different reasons why a child might suffer from a brain-related birth injury. They are usually the result of the baby suffering from oxygen deprivation, including hypoxia, anoxia, perinatal asphyxia and birth asphyxia. The brain can react in several different ways if it is deprived of oxygen. Brain ischemia results from the brain being deprived of oxygen and the brain reacts by draining the blood from the brain. If there is excess blood flowing into the brain, a brain hemorrhage occurs.

Cerebral palsy (CP) is the main brain-related injury that is caused by trauma during birth, and approximately 800,000 children are affected. CP can be caused by oxygen deprivation, maternal infections, infant infection or infant stroke. If the doctor fails to properly monitor for fetal distress and take appropriate actions to deliver the baby safety, the baby could develop CP. Other examples of medical negligence that can cause CP include:

  • Failure to identify and treat a prolapsed umbilical cord
  • Failure to monitor, detect, and treat maternal infections
  • Failure to plan and carry out an emergency C-section
  • Failure to correctly use birth-assisting tools

Muscle-Related or Physical Birth Injuries
Most muscle-related injuries are fairly easy to diagnose because you can usually see where the child is suffering from either limited movement or paralysis. These types of injuries can be caused by bruises, broken bones or lacerations. They can also cause other types of physical birth injuries including skull fractures or bruising of the area between the brain and the outer layer of skin.

There are several different types of muscle-related and physical injuries that are common and they include:

  • Shoulder Dystocia
    There are many instances of shoulder dystocia that can be anticipated and prevented if medical professionals have noticed the warning signs. Shoulder dystocia is when a baby’s shoulder gets caught on the mother’s public bone during a vaginal delivery. If this occurs, the medical staff needs to dislodge the baby’s shoulder in a safe and timely way. There are some risk factors that can cause shoulder dystocia, and the physicians should be aware of them. Risk factors include a mother having excessive weight gain during pregnancy, breech position, gestational diabetes or having a large baby
  • Brachial Plexus
    Brachial plexus is one of the more common birth injuries. Brachial plexus, also referred to as brachial plexus palsy, Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy are injuries that result from shoulder dystocia. If the medical professional uses too much force when they try to remove the baby’s shoulder, they can stretch the baby’s brachial plexus nerves and cause serious injury to the baby. These injuries can also occur during a breech delivery if there is excessive pressure placed on the baby’s neck and arms.
  • Erb’s Palsy
    Erb’s Palsy, also known as brachial plexus palsy, is the result of a birth injury in which one or all give of the primary nerves that supply movement and feeling to the arms and shoulder is affected. Paralysis from this type of injury can be partial or full. Klumpke’s Palsy
  • Klumpke’s Palsy
    Klumpke’s palsy is damage sustained to the lower plexus. This can also lead to paralysis or weakness that is the result of stretching the nerves during delivery.

Birth Injuries Resulting from Delivery

So many birth injuries that occur could have been prevented if doctors took the appropriate measures and were aware of the potential risks that are higher for some deliveries. Mothers need to be properly monitored during their entire pregnancy and the size and estimated birth weight of the baby needs to be considered. If the baby is thought to be large, an alternative birth method, such as a cesarean section, may need to be considered to avoid a birth injury. If the mother or baby are considered high risk, they need to be monitored very closely and doctors need to take necessary precautions and be prepared for any problems that could arise during delivery.

Often times, birth injuries sustained during delivery were the result of injuries caused by improper use of vacuum extractors or forceps, which are tools used to assist with delivery. Other types of birth injuries during delivery include broken bones, lacerations, mishandling the baby, skull fractures and administering the wrong type or wrong dosage of medication.

Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)

PPHN is a problem when the blood pressure in the baby’s lungs becomes too high, causing the infant to have trouble breathing. This can lead to heart murmurs, rapid heartbeats, cyanosis and other conditions. PPHN can be caused by medical negligence and usually happens during a birth that is difficult. PPHN can be the result of the mother taking a medication such as Paxil, Zoloft or Celexa, which have been linked to increasing blood pressure and placing stress on the baby during pregnancy. Additional causes are performing a C-section that was not necessary, failure to treat maternal infections and failure to detect and prevent infant asphyxia.

Romanucci & Blandin specializes in the following birth injury areas:

Free Consultation with a Chicago Birth Injury Attorney

RB Law has vast experience with handling birth injury cases for babies who suffer from hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). If your baby suffered from a lack of oxygen during delivery and did not receive the proper care, contact our proficient birth injury attorneys right away so we can help you get the compensation you deserve.

If you have questions regarding your birth injury case, contact us today for a free consultation at (312) 458-1000, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.