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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 and nationwide after they’ve experienced preventable injuries during a childbirth.

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 affects babies whose shoulders become stuck in the birth canal behind the pelvis. This can cause serious injury 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

Babies who experience shoulder dystocia can suffer injuries including broken bones, facial injuries, nerve damage and even light paralysis. 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.

Let Us Help You Today

Traumatic injuries can be caused by the negligence of medical professionals. Families who experience these are often left with numerous unanswered questions. That’s where we come in.

At The Daws Law Firm, we can help families uncover answers. We understand how important it is for your family to hold negligent medical professionals accountable. If you were left with questions after a birth complication, call 409-838-6000 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.