Traumatic Injuries To Babies

The birth of a child should be a joyous occasion for parents. But when things go wrong, a child can sustain injuries that will affect them for the rest of their life or even death. At The Daws Law Firm, our lawyers help families in the greater Beaumont area, across the state of Texas and across the country recover compensation for injuries and death caused by preventable birth injuries, including traumatic injuries caused during birth.

Traumatic injury refers to injuries caused by a wide variety of blunt or penetrating forces and mechanisms. When medical professionals improperly use medical devices (such as forceps or vacuum extractors) or try to forcibly pull the baby through the birth canal, traumatic injury can occur.

Assisted Deliveries – Forceps And Vacuum Extractors

Using a device such as forceps or a vacuum extractor to aid in delivery is known as assisted delivery. While there are good reasons why a doctor might use assisted delivery, there are also risks. Doctors who use forceps or vacuums negligently put babies at risk for severe injury. Examples of improper use of assisted delivery include:

  • When maternal pelvis is too small for a vaginal birth
  • Failure to measure the size and shape of the maternal pelvis
  • Fetus condition warranting emergency delivery by C-section
  • Improper use of forceps (too much force or pulling in wrong direction)

Injuries from assisted delivery to the mother can include:

  • Damage to tissue in the lower genital tract
  • Additional pain and blood loss after labor and delivery
  • Muscle and ligament weakness
  • Urinary or fecal incontinence

Injuries from assisted delivery to the baby can include:

  • Brain damage that could lead to permanent impairment
  • Bleeding under the skin or in the brain
  • Wounds and bleeding to the scalp
  • Stretching of the nerves to the neck causing Erb's palsy or a brachial plexus injury
  • Bleeding in the eyes
  • Jaundice

If your child was seriously injured during an assisted delivery with forceps or a vacuum extractor, you should have an experienced attorney review your case to see if your medical providers were negligent.

Shoulder Dystocia

Shoulder dystocia is a condition that occurs during delivery when an infant's shoulders become lodged in the mother's pelvis and injury occurs when the baby is forcibly moved through the canal. Typical causes for shoulder dystocia include:

  • Cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD) — occurs when the baby is proportionately too big to fit through the mother's birth canal
  • Turtle syndrome — occurs when the baby is pulled out face first causing undue stress and injury on the neck
  • Breech birth — occurs when the baby is born feet first causing undue stress and injury on the shoulder and neck area

Shoulder Dystocia Injuries

Shoulder dystocia injuries occur when the baby's shoulders are stuck in the mother's pelvis and the physician attempts to pull the infant out completely. Forcing the baby out this way can result in:

  • Brachial plexus palsy — occurs when the brachial plexus nerves (nerves running from the cervical spine through the shoulder, arm and hand) are damaged
  • Broken bones
  • Facial injuries
  • Nerve damage and pain to the injured area
  • Light paralysis to the affected arm

Babies who have shoulder dystocia injuries can be treated depending on the severity of the injury. Babies with severe brachial plexus injuries may require physical therapy, massaging and even surgery.

Shoulder Dystocia Is Preventable

Shoulder dystocia is in most instances completely preventable. The factors that cause shoulder dystocia injuries can typically be known before delivery is attempted and therefore avoided by opting for a C-section. Vaginal deliveries that are still attempted can mitigate the risk of injury with various maneuvers, including internal rotation, the McRoberts maneuver, the Zavanelli maneuver and suprapubic pressure.

Shoulder dystocia occurs in about 1 percent of births in which the fetus weighs between 5.5 lbs. and 8.8 lbs. This rate increases to 5-9 percent for fetuses weighing over 9.0 lbs. If you suspect that your doctor caused a shoulder dystocia injury, you should consult with an attorney.

How We Can Help You

Traumatic injuries can be caused by the negligence of medical professionals. Families who have babies with forceps injuries, broken bones and brachial plexus nerve injuries have questions about what happened that are often left unexplained by negligent medical professionals without the litigation process. After a bad outcome with a patient, doctors and hospital personnel often engage in secretive, post-injury review, but often they refuse to tell their findings to those injured, which leaves families wondering – what happened? Besides questions, families are often left with extensive past and future medical bills, funeral costs, and unimaginable emotional grief and pain.

At The Daws Law Firm, we have an impressive track record of helping families uncover answers about how their baby was injured or killed and holding those responsible accountable for their actions. Answers not only help bring closure to families, but also help medical providers better treat the condition, school administrators help with the education process and government agencies assist with potential benefits. We have also helped families receive substantial compensation to help offset the past and future financial costs of these injuries and to provide some semblance of financial compensation for their loss.

If you believe your child was injured at birth due to the negligence of a medical provider, call 409-838-6000 or send a message online to schedule a free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.