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.