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5 common, yet often preventable, birth-related injuries

Expecting a child should be a joyous time, not a period fraught with fear that your doctor is putting you and your future child at risk.

Unfortunately, however, there are many conditions that, if not handled correctly or diagnosed properly, may result in tragic injuries for both a mother and child. What is particularly saddening is that many of these injuries continue to occur despite the fact that many of them can be prevented if doctors, nurses and other medical staff simply provide professional, competent medical care.

A few of the most common - and often preventable - birth-related medical issues include:

  • Brain Injuries: Lack of oxygen (hypoxia) to a child during labor can result in many issues, including severe brain injuries. Oftentimes, lack of oxygen is caused when the umbilical cord is compressed by the child (cord prolapsed) and, due to improper fetal monitoring, the doctor does not quickly order a Cesarean section. Failing to perform a timely C-section may injure your child, and in some cases, result in cerebral palsy, which is a disorder that impacts a baby's muscle movements and brain function.
  • Shoulder Dystocia: This type of injury typically occurs after a baby's head has been delivered but the shoulder becomes impacted behind the pubic bone. If the delivery is improperly done, vital oxygen and blood to the child may be cut off, often resulting in severe and long-term injuries for the child, including brain damage. Also, if the child is pulled too hard the bundle of nerves responsible for moving arms and hands (brachial plexus ) may be damaged or torn - leading to a condition known as Erb's palsy.
  • Bone Fractures: Broken bones can occur for a variety of reasons. For instance, bone fractures are common if a doctor forcefully pulls a shoulder through during a difficult delivery, or if forceps or vacuum extraction tools are not properly used.
  • Placenta Previa: If a doctor fails to diagnose in time, a placenta obstructing the birth canal may hinder a proper delivery, and in some cases, lead to excessive bleeding, which can injure both the mother and child.
  • Facial paralysis: Nerves may be damaged if, during delivery, a child's face has too much pressure on it. Similar to broken bones, facial paralysis can occur because of the improper use of forceps and vacuum extraction tools. In serious cases, a child may encounter total paralysis on the impacted side of his or her face. In addition, improper use of the vacuum extraction tool can result in the swelling of the infant's scalp, also known as caput seccedaneum.

If you believe you or your child has suffered an injury due to the negligent acts of a doctor, nurse or other hospital staff, you need to seek professional legal guidance. After all, your child shouldn't have to suffer because of the mistakes of others.

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