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Medical negligence

In some cases, birth injuries could have been prevented with quality care during the birthing process. Seemingly small and careless mistakes during birth can result in lifelong complications for the child and may be considered birth injury medical negligence. Learn more about medical negligence during childbirth.

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About 7 birth injuries occur for every 1,000 children born in the United States. Was your child one of them?

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What is birth injury medical negligence?

Baby with mom

7 out of 1,000 pregnant women in U.S. experienced pregnancy and childbirth complications.

Birth injury medical negligence occurs when doctors, nurses, or other health care professionals do not meet a high standard of care during delivery, leading to complications during birth.

Medical professionals are educated and trained to act appropriately in difficult situations to keep babies and mothers safe. Not acting promptly in emergency situations can cause severe short- and long-term birth injuries.

Medical negligence can occur before, during, and/or shortly after the birth of a child.

Medical negligence during pregnancy

Doctors may commit medical negligence during pregnancy by not diagnosing or treating health complications affecting the mother and/or the baby. There are several conditions that put the mother and baby at a higher risk of complications during childbirth.

Conditions that may lead to complications during birth if not treated/controlled include:
  • Diabetes
  • Maternal Infection
  • Preeclampsia (high blood pressure)
  • Obesity

If not treated, these conditions can lead to serious complications during birth and may cause a lifelong birth injury. Failing to screen, diagnose, and treat these conditions may be considered medical negligence.

Medical negligence during delivery

Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals can commit several acts of medical negligence in the delivery room.

Acts of medical negligence during childbirth include:
  • Failing to detect fetal distress and/or properly monitor the baby’s heartbeat
  • Failing to prevent or treat severe tearing or bleeding in the mother
  • Failing to perform a medically necessary C-section (cesarean section)
  • Improperly using forceps or vacuum delivery or failing to inform mother of their risks
  • Pulling or twisting too hard on the baby as they exit the birth canal

All of these acts of medical negligence can result in direct harm to the mother and the baby. Birth trauma caused by negligence may cause a child to suffer from permanent brain damage.

Medical negligence shortly after birth

Birth injury medical negligence can still happen even after the child has been delivered. Once a child is born, medical professionals must monitor the baby and mother for any complications that may arise. Failure to do so may cause severe harm.

Acts of medical negligence shortly after birth include:
  • Failing to control loss of the mother and/or baby
  • Failing to diagnose and treat newborn jaundice
  • Failing to monitor the baby’s vital signs
  • Failing to treat the mother’s uterine ruptures and/or tears

All of these actions can lead to severe complications for the mother and child. If you believe your child suffered a birth injury due to medical negligence during childbirth, speak to one of our caring registered nurses today to learn more about next steps.

Types of birth injuries caused by medical negligence

Medical negligence during birth can cause a variety of different birth injuries. The type of injury can depend on the act of medical negligence and the severity of damage.

Common types of birth injuries caused by medical negligence include:

Cerebral palsy is another condition often caused by birth injury medical negligence. Damage to the child’s brain before, during, or shortly after delivery can cause cerebral palsy. The type of cerebral palsy can depend on the area of the brain that is damaged.

Erb’s palsy may also be caused by birth injury medical negligence. Erb’s palsy develops when the brachial plexus nerves are damaged. Babies may be diagnosed with this condition if one side of their neck is stretched while exiting the birth canal.

Excessive pulling, twisting, or stretching of these nerves can lead to Erb’s palsy. Depending on the severity of the injury, the child may lose movement in the affected arm, hand, wrist, or shoulder. While many can fully recover, some babies may experience long-term or permanent problems due to Erb’s palsy.

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The effects of birth injury medical negligence

Acts of birth injury medical negligence can lead to several short-term effects for both the mother and the baby.

Short-term effects

Effects on baby:
  • Brain damage
  • Intrauterine fetal demise
  • Intraventricular hemorrhage
  • Kernicterus
  • Newborn cephalohematoma
  • Newborn jaundice
  • Periventricular leukomalacia
  • Skull fractures
  • Spinal cord injuries
Effects on mother:
  • Blood loss
  • Incontinence
  • Vaginal tears
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Uterine tears

These short-term effects can be treated and often do not have long-lasting effects on the mother and baby. However, if left untreated, these complications can lead to more serious injuries or even death.

Long-term effects

Effects on baby:
  • Brain damage
  • Erb’s Palsy
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Kernicterus
  • Other birth injuries
Effects on mother:
  • Chronic pain
  • Incontinence

Brain damage during birth is irreversible and can greatly affect a child’s overall development. Birth trauma caused by medical negligence can lead to many physical, neurological, behavioral, and cognitive issues that have a lifelong impact on a child.

The events of a traumatic birth experience can also greatly impact a mother’s mental well-being. Mothers affected by birth injury medical negligence may experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and/or anxiety.

If you experienced any of these complications during the birthing process, you may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against negligent medical providers. Get started today with a free case review.

Treatment for birth injuries caused by medical negligence

Birth injury cases caused by medical negligence can be managed with a variety of treatment options depending on your child’s symptoms.

Common birth injury treatment options include:

Unfortunately, many families are not prepared for the medical expenses for treating conditions caused by birth injury medical negligence.

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Additionally, a study from Massachusetts General Hospital found 40% of families struggle to pay for costs associated with their disabled child’s care.

Families should not be responsible for paying for treatment for injuries that could have been prevented with quality care during delivery. Thankfully, there are several birth injury financial support options available for affected families.

Legal compensation from a birth injury lawsuit can help you pay for the treatment your child deserves. According to a study from the TDC Group, the average medical malpractice payout for a child under one month old is $1 million. Compensation from a birth injury claim can greatly ease the emotional and financial burdens placed on families affected by medical negligence.

Cerebral palsy treatment is not focused on curing or fully correcting a child’s condition but is focused on nurturing a child’s development to encourage an independent life.

Take legal action against birth injury medical negligence

Health care providers such as doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals have an obligation to give quality medical care in the delivery room. Small mistakes can have great consequences and may be considered birth injury medical negligence.

Complications caused by medical negligence during childbirth can affect both the baby and mother for the rest of their lives. Treatment for birth injuries can help manage these conditions, but can be very costly for families.

No family should have to pay for an injury caused by medical negligence. Thankfully, you can pursue financial compensation through a medical malpractice claim if your child’s birth injury was preventable.

If you believe your child suffered from a birth injury caused by medical negligence, you maybe able to work with a birth injury lawyer at a skilled law firm. Get a free case review today to get started.

Birth Injury Symptoms FAQs

What are common birth injuries?

Two of the most common birth injuries are cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy.

Cerebral palsy is caused by brain damage during childbirth and can lead to issues with muscle tone, balance, coordination, and overall mobility. Erb’s palsy is caused by damage to the brachial plexus nerves and can lead to mobility problems in the neck, arms, and hands.

These common birth injuries are often a result of medical malpractice. You may be eligible to take legal action if your child’s condition was caused by preventable errors during delivery.

How are birth injuries diagnosed?

Birth injuries are diagnosed by doctors with a variety of different tests depending on your child’s symptoms.

Your child’s doctor will likely conduct a physical exam to find any abnormalities. Imaging tests such as X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans may also be used to check for signs of brain damage. Doctors may also test your child’s hearing, vision, and intellectual abilities.

Reach out to a doctor right away if your child has any possible symptoms of a birth injury. The sooner a diagnosis is confirmed, the faster they can get treatment to manage their symptoms.

What are the signs of developmental delays?

Common signs and symptoms of developmental delays include children not sitting, crawling, standing, walking, talking, running, or speaking at the recommended age.

There are a variety of signs of developmental delays that can affect a child physically, cognitively, socially, and communicatively. Learn more about all the signs of developmental delay.

Cerebral Palsy Guide was founded upon the goal of educating families about cerebral palsy, raising awareness, and providing support for children, parents, and caregivers affected by the condition. Our easy-to-use website offers simple, straightforward information that provides families with medical and legal solutions. We are devoted to helping parents and children access the tools they need to live a life full of happiness

  1. Boeschen, C. (2011, October 10). Birth-related medical malpractice. www.nolo.com. Retrieved January 24, 2022, from https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/birth-related-medical-malpractice-30150.html
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, December 31). Data and statistics for Cerebral Palsy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved January 24, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/cp/data.html
  3. Katz, R. T., & Johnson, C. B. (2013, April 13). Life Care Planning for the child with cerebral palsy. Physical medicine and rehabilitation clinics of North America. Retrieved January 24, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23910487/
  4. Kuhlthau, K., Smith Hill, K., Yucel, R., & Perrin, J. M. (2005, June). Financial burden for families of children with Special Health Care Needs. Maternal and child health journal. Retrieved January 24, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15965627/
  5. Pandit, M. S., & Pandit, S. (2009, July). Medical negligence: Coverage of the profession, duties, ethics, case law, and Enlightened Defense - a legal perspective. Indian journal of urology : IJU : journal of the Urological Society of India. Retrieved January 24, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2779963/