While the vast majority of childbirths occur without incident, each year there are thousands of newborns that sustain preventable injuries during childbirth. The injuries that newborns can sustain can range from minor injuries that are self-resolving and have little to no risk of permanent after-effects to those that have a significant impact on a victim’s quality of life and future. Fortunately for victims, when these accidents are the result of medical malpractice they can often recover for their current and future medical expenses. In many cases, the settlement or award that victims obtain is essential in paying for medical care that will be necessary for the rest of their lives. As a result, anyone who believes that their newborn sustained an injury because of the carelessness of a medical professional during childbirth should discuss their case with an Atlanta medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
While there are myriad ways that a medical professional could be negligent during childbirth, some ways tend to occur more than others. Below is some information regarding four of the most common causes of birth injuries.
Misuse of medical instruments
Modern childbirth often involves the use of several medical instruments, including forceps, amniotic hooks, hemostats, and vacuums. While these tools can make childbirth easier and safer, their misuse also has the potential to cause serious injury to both the mother and the newborn.
Excessive force during delivery
Sometimes, a newborn becomes positioned in the birth canal in such a way as to become stuck. If a physician uses excessive force trying to dislodge an infant, he or she can develop significant injuries, including brachial plexus injuries and Erb’s Palsy.
Failure to diagnose medical conditions in the newborn
In certain cases, a child is born with certain medical conditions that could potentially result in serious complications if not treated right away. In some cases, these conditions could result in a deficiency of oxygen in a newborn’s bloodstream, which has the potential to result in brain damage or other serious conditions if not treated. Other conditions that could potentially be missed by medical staff include congenital heart problems, nerve damage, reduced blood flow, and other medical issues.
Failure to diagnose medical conditions in the mother
Certain medical conditions in the mother could pose a health risk to the mother and newborn alike. In some cases, a failure to diagnose such a condition could result in serious issues that result in long-term medical issues. In these cases, victims may be able to recover for both their economic and non-economic losses, including past, present, and future medical expenses, educational therapy, lost income, and loss of quality of life, among others. Some of the conditions that could be missed in an expecting mother include preeclampsia, cephalopelvic disproportion, placental previa, umbilical cord compression, or placental abruption.