Birth injuries, sometimes called birth trauma, refer to physical injuries to a newborn,
which occur during the labor and delivery process. Approximately six out
of every 1,000 newborns suffer from a birth injury every year. Birth injuries
are also a significant contributor to infant mortality, causing approximately
20 percent of all infant deaths.
Birth Injury Statistics:
A mother’s age can influence a newborn’s chances of sustaining
a birth injury. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
birth injuries are more likely to occur in children born to mothers who
are between the ages of 25 and 29.
Birth injuries are also more common in male newborns than female newborns.
Furthermore, birth injuries are more prevalent in newborns born at non-profit
hospitals as compared to those born at for-profit hospitals. In addition,
there is a greater likelihood of birth injury to newborns born at large
hospitals, those with greater than one hundred beds, as compared to those
who are born at smaller hospitals.
Causes of Birth Injury:
Birth injuries are caused by a variety of factors including the size and
position of the newborn fetus, and the mother’s health at the time
of delivery. In some instances, medical negligence may cause birth injuries.
Medical professionals may fail to properly use medical equipment such
as, forceps or a vacuum, or they may not recognize fetal distress in a
timely manner. In addition, medical professionals may be responsible for
other types of medical error that leads to birth injuries.
Types of Birth Injury:
Birth injuries can range in severity from minor bruising and fractures
to conditions that require a lifetime of medical treatment, and some that
are even fatal.
One of the most serious birth injuries that can occur during the labor
and deliver process is cerebral palsy. According to data released by the
Mayo Clinic, it is estimated that two to four out of every 1,000 infants
born in the U.S. and Europe suffer from cerebral palsy. This condition
occurs as a result of a newborn’s brain being deprived of oxygen
during the labor and delivery process.
Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder, which affects an individual’s motor
abilities. This condition can present itself in different ways. The three
most common types of cerebral palsy are:
Spastic Cerebral Palsy: 80 percent of individuals who suffer from cerebral palsy have this manifestation
of the condition. It is characterized by muscle tightness that makes it
difficult to move. As a result, individuals have a hard time grabbing
onto and letting go of objects.
Athetoid Cerebral Palsy: 10 percent of individuals who suffer from cerebral palsy have this manifestation
of the condition. It is characterized by involuntary movements, difficulty
swallowing, slurred speech, and an inability to maintain one’s posture.
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy: 10 percent of individuals who suffer from cerebral palsy have this manifestation
of the condition. It is characterized by problems with depth perception
and balance as well as, tremors and difficulty coordinating movements.
It may take time to diagnose a child who suffers from cerebral palsy as
a result of a birth injury. If you believe your child sustained a serious
injury during the labor and delivery process, you should contact an attorney
immediately. An attorney can review the circumstances of your case and
help you achieve the best outcome in light of your circumstances.