Birth has never been a risk-free event for California mothers but technological improvements have made childbirth significantly safer in recent years. Unfortunately, the negligence of a medical professional can cause unnecessary birth injuries that require a lifetime of medical care.
"Unfortunately, negligence is all too common during delivery," one attorney said. "There are a number of things that can cause birth injuries, ranging from the failure to use state of the art monitoring equipment to improper use of forceps or drugs to a failure to conduct a timely C-section."
The type of birth injuries that can arise from medical malpractice vary in type and severity. Some children may suffer only transient trauma or bruises whereas others suffer severe disability from anoxic events or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.
The most serious consequence of obstetrical negligence is cerebral palsy. This condition is marked by serious disabilities in body movement. Cerebral palsy is caused when a baby's brain is deprived of oxygen during birth process either due to inadequately oxygenated blood or inadequate blood flowto the brain. Children with cerebral palsy typically require lifetime medical attention and therapy.
Other conditions include Erb's palsy, also known as shoulder dystocia. This condition results from cephalo-pelvic disproportion and may cause of limitations in a child's arm and hand movements. This is produced by nerve damage resulting from a child's shoulders hindering its passage through the birth canal.
Hydrocephalus and facial paralysis may develop where a provider puts too much pressure on a baby's face. Improper forceps use can also cause this injury.
Newborn injuries may occur at any time during pregnancy, delivery, or after birth. Negligent health care professionals can be held accountable for the harm that they cause to a child through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Source: KJRH, "How medical malpractice leads to birth injuries," Jan. 11, 2012