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What is a Birth Injury?

June 11, 2024

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

The birth of a child is a milestone that parents look forward to with much excitement. Unfortunately, there are times when medical errors are made either during pregnancy, labor, or delivery that turn a joyous event into one of tragedy. These mistakes often result in birth injuries, which can cause permanent harm to the newborn. Birth injuries are preventable and constitute medical malpractice. When these injuries occur, parents must understand that they can claim compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and any other losses incurred as a result of the injury.

Birth Injuries During Pregnancy

Birth injuries are typically thought of as medical negligence that occurs during labor or delivery. There are however, many risk factors and warning signs of possible complications that present themselves during pregnancy. Doctors, midwives, and other healthcare professionals are required to provide you and your child with the highest standard of care throughout your pregnancy. This means they must assess conditions that could place you or your child at risk for injury.

For example, preeclampsia is a condition some pregnant women develop. This causes a woman’s blood pressure to rise, putting the mother at risk of a brain injury. When doctors and healthcare staff do not properly monitor a woman’s health, they may fail to recognize the signs of preeclampsia. In the most severe cases, this can cause maternal or infant death.

Birth Injuries During Labor

When you go into labor, it’s essential that medical staff act swiftly. The actions performed by the doctors and nurses will directly impact the safety of you and your child. This means they must properly monitor the oxygen levels and blood flow of both you and the infant so they can take immediate action if a problem occurs. It’s not uncommon for medical staff to become negligent during this monitoring. There is a lot happening during labor and this is sometimes overlooked. A busy labor room however, is no excuse for this type of medical negligence that can cause you and your child severe harm.

Other errors that result in birth injuries during labor include medication errors, failure to learn your medical history and pre-existing conditions, and failing to respond to maternal or fetal distress.

Birth Injuries During Delivery

Many birth injuries occur during delivery and most of them are caused by excessive force. Erb’s palsy is one such condition that is caused by forcefully removing the infant from the birth canal. During this process, nerve damage may occur around the shoulder, also known as a brachial plexus injury. This can result in the child being unable to move their arm or hand on one side of their body.

Cerebral palsy is another birth injury that can occur during delivery. It’s commonly caused when a baby is deprived of oxygen during the birth. It is a lifelong condition that causes people to live with permanent physical disabilities. Those that suffer from cerebral palsy typically require a lifetime of special care.

Have You or Your Child Suffered a Birth Injury? Contact Our Pennsylvania Personal Injury Lawyers

No one should ever have to suffer from the pain and costly expense of a birth injury. If you or your child has sustained a birth injury as a result of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation that can help cover the cost of treatment and care. At van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim, our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers know that birth injuries should never occur. It’s why we are so committed to helping families get the compensation they need to move forward. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation so we can review your case.


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