By now, you know that cerebral palsy is one of the most common and severe birth injuries caused by medical malpractice. However, many things can go wrong during childbirth, and medical professionals often make mistakes. According to The Department of Health and Human Services, 30% of birth injuries are preventable. Unfortunately, medical malpractice is one of the leading causes of birth injuries in the United States. Here are some of the common birth injuries caused by medical malpractice.
Brachial Plexus Injuries
The brachial plexus is a collection of nerves that controls the functions of the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and hands. Brachial plexus injuries occur when these nerves are stretched, pulled, compressed, or ripped apart. This can be caused by:
- Excessive force or pulling during delivery
- Incorrect use of vacuum or forceps
- Failure to prepare for a difficult birth
- The child being delivered feet first
This kind of injury can result in temporary or permanent damage to the child’s muscles. This can cause weakness or paralysis in the arms and shoulders, loss of sensation and motor function, and a weak grip.
Birth asphyxia occurs when the baby is deprived of oxygen during or after birth. If not addressed quickly, this lack of oxygen can lead to damage to the brain. This type of birth injury can be prevented with accurate monitoring and taking the necessary steps to quickly deliver a distressed baby, such as performing an emergency C-section.
During childbirth, too much pressure may be put on the baby’s face, resulting in damage to the facial nerve. This type of injury occurs when doctors use forceps or a vacuum to assist in a difficult delivery. Facial paralysis in newborns results in the inability to close the eye or control the facial muscles on the injured side of the face. Mild injuries can heal within a few weeks. However, severe cases can lead to total paralysis of the face.
Bone fractures, unfortunately, occur during difficult deliveries. Fractures are usually caused by rough handling of the child or misuse of birth assistance tools, such as forceps. A fractured collar bone is the most common type of fracture during delivery. This type of birth injury may occur when a doctor pulls on the infant too hard while in the breech position or when the shoulder is pulled forcefully during a prolonged delivery.
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