Boston Medical Malpractice Attorneys

What Causes Birth Injuries?

January 20, 2023 | Birth Injury,Medical Malpractice

Months of thought and preparation go into the perfect personalized birth plan to welcome a new baby into a family and into the world. No parent’s birth plan or hopes and dreams for their child’s introduction to the world and their future include their baby suffering a birth injury. While some birthing complications are out of anyone’s control, other injuries occur due to a doctor’s or other medical professional’s error or negligence. Birth injuries are harm caused to a baby before, during, or after birth. When the actions or inaction of a medical professional causes an injury to a vulnerable baby, the parents deserve justice and compensation. 

Some birth injuries only result in a temporary concern that quickly resolves, but other injuries may require ongoing treatment or can even cause permanent injury or disability. While seeking monetary compensation for damages with the help of a Boston medical malpractice lawyer can’t repair an injury or turn back time, it can help parents to better afford the medical treatments their child needs in order to maximize his/her recovery.

Common Birth Injuries 

Birth injuries are harm that happens to an otherwise healthy baby through the process of birth. Most of these injuries occur during difficult births, such as from birthing large babies, babies in improper positions to facilitate easy birth, prolonged labor, or when mothers have irregularities in the size and shape of the pelvis and birth canal. Common injuries sustained by babies during the birthing process include:

  • Bruising or redness from forceps
  • Cephalohematoma or raised bump
  • Brachial Plexus, or damage to the nerves running from the upper spine to the neck, shoulders, arms, and hands
  • Fractured collarbone
  • Perinatal asphyxia, or lack of oxygen from insufficient blood flow during or after birth
  • Hemorrhages, such as subconjunctival hemorrhage in the eye from a burst blood vessel or subarachnoid and/or intracranial hemorrhage inside a baby’s skull
  • Caput succedaneum, or swelling of the scalp or portions of the scalp by pressure during a prolonged delivery 
  • Spinal cord injury, sometimes from overly forceful usage of forceps
  • Facia paralysis from pressure during birth or from forcefully used forceps

Some birth injuries happen after birth during the hours and days following labor and delivery. Some examples of this type of birth injury include:

  • Death of mother or baby
  • Untreated newborn jaundice
  • Untreated uterine rupture

Birth injuries can have life-altering consequences for babies and their families. In the death of a loved one due to medical malpractice during child birth, our compassionate Boston wrongful death attorneys have the experience and skill to represent your claim and help you recover the compensation you deserve.

How Do Birth Injuries Happen?

Doctors and medical teams must carefully monitor both mother and baby throughout labor and delivery and in the hours that follow. Complications of varying severity can lead to a variety of negative outcomes from relatively minor and temporary injuries to potentially life-altering and deadly ones. All medical professionals must provide patient care at the highest possible standards. If the action or inaction of someone on the care team does not provide the care that a reasonable physician in the same situation would have provided, then that professional has breached the care of duty they owe to both mother and child. Some examples of this type of breach of care are as follows:

  • Failing to identify and take measures to prevent pre-term birth
  • Failing to identify high-risk labor and delivery and plan appropriate care
  • Failing to promptly address problems with the umbilical cord
  • Failing to order a necessary C-section in a timely manner
  • Failing to identify maternal medical conditions
  • Improper use of labor-stimulating medications like Pitocin or Cytotec
  • Medication errors
  • Improper or incorrect use of medical equipment during delivery, including forceps and vacuum extractors

Any of the above causes often lead to harm-causing injuries, most often from delayed or prolonged birthing, oxygen deprivation during the birthing process, and medical malpractice such as forcing birth.

Speak to a trusted doctor as soon as possible if you suspect your baby suffered a birth injury. A doctor can make a diagnosis, determine a cause, and recommend a course of treatment for the best possible recovery. Then, speak to an experienced birth injury attorney in Boston about your case to work toward getting the compensation you and your baby deserve so your family can focus on recovery.