Understanding 2 Birth Defects That May Be Caused by Medical Malpractice

21 March 2017
 Categories: , Articles


If you have recently given birth, then you may be grieving if your child was injured in some way during the delivery. Infant injuries are often the cause of a difficult birth and difficulties are typically natural. In other words, your own anatomy or the anatomy of your baby led to the injuries. However, certain injuries are caused by medical malpractice.

While malpractice lawsuits should only be filed if there is a good deal of evidence that suggests that the injury was caused by the negligence of the physician, you may want to work with an outside doctor and a medical malpractice lawyer if one of the following common birth injuries have developed.

Brain Injury

When you start to go into labor, a great deal of hormones are released into your body. These hormones stop the production of fluid in your child's lungs. This prepares your baby to take his first breath. Oxygen is still absorbed by the body for a short period of time, thanks to the fluid already in the lungs as well as the connection of the umbilical cord. This allows your baby to remain alive during the birthing process. However, once your child is born, the first breath must be taken fairly quickly. 

Since air needs to fill the lungs where fluid once sat, the first few breaths are difficult. It is normal for your child to breathe shallowly and irregularly at first. This is more likely to occur as well if you had a long labor or if you had a cesarean. 

Once your child has been delivered, the physician will stimulate your child until they breathe on their own. Breathing should be monitored to make sure it is regular and consistent. If this does not happen and breathing remains shallow for some time, then your child may be deprived of oxygen. This can lead to brain damage. 

Brain injury can lead to mental, developmental, and physical issues. Some of these may present right away or they may appear later on in life. If you want to prove malpractice in this situation, then you will need evidence that that physician fell short of their duty of care. In this instance, the physician should have been monitoring oxygen levels with a fetal hemoglobin-oxygen saturation sensor placed on the foot. If this monitor was not used or if oxygen levels were not monitored and supplemental oxygen was not provided, then evidence of this can be used to prove your malpractice case in court. 

Facial Paralysis

Physicians will need to make some timely decisions when it comes to deliveries. Some of these decisions involve the approach that must be taken to make sure infants can be delivered safely. If there is a concern about a natural birth, then a cesarean may be required. There are many situations where the procedure is considered the best choice. For example, if your child is abnormally large, in the breech position, or if the child has not fully developed, then a cesarean will likely be performed. This may also be the case if your pelvis is small or if the placenta is blocking the birth canal. 

If your physician fails to schedule or arrange for a planned or unplanned cesarean, then this can lead to a difficult birth. If the birth is lengthened due to this, then the doctor may need to assist the delivery by using forceps or a vacuum extractor. If the tools place a great deal of pressure on your child and are used to force him or her out of the birth canal, then an injury can occur. 

One injury that is commonly seen when excessive force is applied with forceps is facial paralysis. Specifically, the forceps place so much pressure on your child's face that the nerves are damaged. Nerve damage may be temporary or permanent. Bone fractures, substantial swelling across the scalp, brachial plexus, and spinal injuries are all commonly associated with instrument force as well.

If one of these injuries occurred, then you will need to prove that the doctor should have known that a natural birth would be difficult. You may need a number of physician statements that indicate that the doctor did not act in accordance with normal procedure when he failed to compete a cesarean. 

To learn more about how you can move forward with your case, click here to continue reading.