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What errors during delivery can lead to birth injuries?


For people in Boston, one of the most thrilling moments of their lives is to have a child. The excitement that accompanies a birth tends to shunt any trepidations off to the side whether it's concerns about what kind of parents they're going to be to possible mistakes that might be made during the delivery process. However, it is not an infrequent occurrence that neonatal birth injuries happen. Sometimes they're due to unavoidable circumstances. Other times, they happen because a doctor or medical professional made a mistake.

Errors that can happen to an infant during delivery can be lifelong problems. While an abnormally large child, an obese mother and abnormal fetal position at birth all can factor in, doctor's errors also lead to a wide range of maladies. If the doctor is forced to use an operative delivery, these could also lead to birth injuries.

In an operative vaginal delivery, forceps or a vacuum are utilized to help the birth process. The fetus's head has the equipment attached to it. Studies have shown that these instruments raise the risk of the baby suffering an injury. The use of both the vacuum and forceps combined is shown to be far more risky than when one or the other is used on its own.

While C-section deliveries are often viewed as safer than vaginal deliveries, there are still dangers involved and the kinds of birth injuries that occur from a C-section differ from the risks of those from a conventional birth. With a C-section, there is the possibility of a laceration of the infant; brachial plexus injury; skull fracture; and cephalohematoma (blood under the scalp). All can cause long-term damage to a baby.

With birth injuries come a change in life plans. Parents who were hoping to start a family soon find themselves having to alter their entire lives to accommodate a child suffering from various ailments or even permanent disability due to these mistakes. Knowing how to pursue litigation when there was a mistake is often the only way that these parents will make ends meet and simultaneously care for a child whose life was altered when they were born.

Source: UpToDate.com, "Neonatal birth injuries," Tiffany M McKee-Garrett, MD, accessed on Sept. 2, 2014

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