Every parent hopes their newborn child will enter this world happy and healthy. In most cases, this is exactly what occurs. In some rare instances, however, newborn children may suffer from a birth injury. Following are ten of the most common birth injuries seen by medical lawyers in Georgia.
Bone Fractures - It is not unusual for newborns to sometimes suffer broken bones during the birthing process. Often the clavicle (collar bone) is damages. Usually these broken bones heal on their own, but sometimes the child must be immobilized for a period of time to facilitate healing.
Facial Paralysis - This birth injury includes the damage of facial nerves, which may resolve over time or result in permanent damage. This results in a lack of control over facial muscles in the newborn.
Caput Succedaneum - This birth injury is often due to excessive pressure during the delivery process. This pressure results in swelling and bruising of the scalp. Caput succedaneum is usually not a life-threatening injury and clears up on its own.
Brachial Plexus Injuries (BPI) - This birth injury is caused by damage to the bundle of nerves that connect the upper spine and neck, shoulders, arms, and hands. The severity of this type of birth injury varies significantly. Children may suffer from a stretching of the nerve (called neuropraxia) to a complete dislodging of the nerve (called avulsion). Ten percent of BPI cases result in permanent disability, which sometimes includes paralysis.
Cephalohematoma - This birth injury is a collection of blood below the skull bone and poses little danger to a newborn. Cephalohematoma generally clears up on its own.
Perinatal Asphyxia - This type of birth injury occurs when a newborn does not receive enough oxygen during the birthing process. This may result from an oxygen deficiency in the blood or insufficient blood flow to the fetus. The severity of oxygen deprivation will determine the extent of harm to the newborn. In milder cases, the child may experience labored breathing or pale complexion, which will resolve naturally. In more extreme cases, the newborn may suffer from permanent brain damage.
Intracranial / Subarachnoid Hemorrhage - This type of birth injury results in bleeding in the skull, usually under the innermost layers of the brain covering.
Subconjunctival Hemorrhage - Like other types of birth injury, subconjunctival hemorrhage results from pressure during the birth process and is merely a bursting of blood vessels in the eye.
Spinal Cord Damage - Spinal cord injuries often result from traumatic nerve/cord damage, sometimes from the use of forceps. Spinal cord injuries are often much more severe than other types of birth injuries and may lead to paralysis and neurological problems.
Cerebral Palsy - This type of birth injury is characterized by muscle spasms, weak muscles, or a lack of development of motor skills, and may be associated with cognitive disabilities or epilepsy. Cerebral palsy can result from trauma experienced during the birthing process.
When Your Child Has Suffered a Birth Injury
As mentioned above, some birth injuries are minor and resolve on their own. Other birth injuries, however, can lead to permanent harm to your newborn. In some cases, these birth injuries are due to the negligent or reckless actions of medical professionals. If your child has suffered a significant birth injury, speak with a skilled Atlanta birth injury lawyer right away. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Goldstein Hayes & Lina, LLC, have years of experience helping families understand their legal rights and hold those responsible for their harms accountable. Contact us today.