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Birth injury happens more often than you may expect

Parents of newborn babies not only here in the Boston area, but anywhere throughout the country, have plenty of things to worry about while preparing for their new arrival. The last thing on a new parent's mind should be seeing their child through a tragic medical complication or birth injury. However, the reality is that six out of every 1,000 newborn babies is afflicted by some sort of injury sustained during birth.

It's unfortunate that such a joyous event can become clouded by uncertainty and grief if something goes wrong when those entrusted to provide care do not perform up to expectations.

Though some birth injuries are quite mild, some common catastrophic birth injuries include:

  • Broken bones: the newborn must be completely immobilized for most fractures to heal properly.
  • Erb's palsy: certain groups of nerves injured during birth can cause this.
  • Facial paralysis: using forceps during delivery can lead to nerve damage.
  • Cerebral palsy: this type of brain damage occurs if the baby is deprived of oxygen for too long.

Of course, freak accidents occur on occasion and nothing can be done to stop them. Yet there are instances where negligence or malpractice on the part of medical professionals -- doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, or paramedics -- leads to a catastrophic injury that a child and their parents may have to live with forever. Unfortunately, these incidents "happen more often than most health practitioners would like to admit."

Parents place a tremendous amount of trust in medical providers. After all, they are charged with caring for whom the parents care about most. A parent only wants their child to be safe, happy and healthy. None of those things should be in jeopardy during the first moments of a baby's new life with his or her parents.

Source: KRJH, "How medical malpractice leads to birth injuries," Jan. 11, 2012

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