More than 215,000 babies were born in Florida in 2013, including more than 16,600 in Hillsborough County alone, according to the Department of Health. The birth of a baby should be a joyful occasion for the parents and relatives.
Unfortunately, some newborns sustain serious birth injuries while being delivered. Parents of a baby who sustained a birth injury are often left to wonder if the injury could have been prevented and if the hospital’s delivery team could be at fault.
Parents can’t be expected to figure out exactly what went wrong on their own. Experienced guidance is needed to determine whether doctors missed the signs of a problem during pregnancy or failed to follow the recognized standard of care and respond appropriately to a difficult delivery.
That’s why Florida families who believe their baby’s birth injury could have been prevented should seek legal guidance. The Disparti Law Group works with doctors and medical professionals to review your medical records and help a family determine if an infant’s injury was caused by some form of malpractice.
Birth injuries are more common than you might think. They include fractured collarbones, head injuries, brain damage, spinal injury and paralysis. A 2010 study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology found nearly 26 of every 1,000 births involved enough trauma to cause a birth injury.
Causes of birth injuries, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center, may include the following:
- A large baby
- Baby not situated head-first in birth canal
- Child born prematurely
- Normal vaginal birth difficult because of size or shape of mother’s birth canal
- Long and difficult labor, which can be caused by contractions too weak to move baby through birth canal
- Mother extremely overweight
- Cesarean delivery
- Devices such as forceps used to deliver baby
Common birth injuries include:
- Swelling or bruising of head
- Bleeding beneath cranial bones
- Breaking of small blood vessels in eyes
- Facial nerve injury from pressure on face
- Injury to nerve group for arms and hands
- Collarbone fracture
Babies can suffer brachial plexus injuries when physicians or mid-wives use too much force trying to pull them out of the birth canal. The force may stretch or tear the nerves in the infant’s neck when their shoulders get caught behind the mother’s pelvic bones, according to birthinjury.org.
In some instances, the baby’s shoulders may be too wide to fit through the mother’s pelvis, a condition known as shoulder dystocia. The complications of birth trauma caused by shoulder dystocia may include brain damage causing cerebral palsy; Erb’s palsy, a loss of function in the hand or arm; and Klumpke’s palsy, a paralysis of the hand because of the amount of force used during delivery.
Women who have a history of shoulder dystocia or brachial plexus injury in previous children should be aware of the risks and try to avoid going through a similar delivery.
Slow or weak contractions could make a doctor decide to use forceps or a vacuum extractor to speed up the birth without determining whether the baby will be a tight fit in the birth canal. A doctor’s failure to perform a C-section when medically necessary can result in serious injuries to the fetus and leave a baby with lasting disabilities.
Determining whether your baby suffered a birth injury caused by either doctor or delivery team error requires an attorney experienced with medical malpractice.
Parents may face ongoing medical care expenses related to a birth injury. You need an attorney to guide you through the process to make sure you recover the funds needed to pay for the baby’s care.
If you believe your child has suffered a birth injury caused by the error of a physician or health care provider, contact Disparti Law Group at 727-934-7862 or 877-554-2766. The firm will show you and your family compassion in assisting you in this traumatic time in your life and the life of your child.