What Are Considered Birth Injuries?

A birth injury lawyer Philadelphia PA trusts understands that parents have many questions and concerns following a birth injury or trauma. The days following a birth injury can be an incredible whirlwind of information. Many parents question on whether their child’s injury was preventable or caused by malpractice. A birth injury lawyer Philadelphia PA relies on will share information in this article to define what birth injuries are, discuss common causes of birth injuries, and provide information on steps to take following a birth injury.

Birth Injury Definition

A birth injury is a physical injury that a baby suffers during the birthing process. These injuries frequently occur as the result of physical pressure during the birthing process during transit through the birth canal. While many newborns have minor injuries during birth, sometimes birth injuries result in broken bones, nerve damage, or brain injuries.

Are Birth Injuries Permanent?

Most birth injuries can resolve on their own with little to no treatment. For example, a minor scalp scratch from a monitor or forceps may resolve within a week or so. However, more severe birth injuries may have lasting effects on the infant’s physical, cognitive, and emotional development for years to come. Serious birth injuries, such as cerebral palsy or shoulder dystocia, are sometimes the result of medical malpractice. A birth injury lawyer Philadelphia PA depends upon is experienced in helping parents in these types of cases to pursue compensation for their child’s injuries.

What are Common Birth Injuries?

Head / Brain Injuries

According to the Merk Manual, head injuries are the most common birth related injury. Some of these injuries can be minor, such as swelling or bruising of the scalp or a cephalhematoma. However, other head and brain injuries are very serious. Examples of serious brain injuries at birth include:

Brain Bleed – bleeding in or around the brain is called an intracranial hemorrhage.  The baby’s prognosis following a brain bleed often depends on the location and extent of the bleeding. Brain bleeds may cause apnea, seizures, developmental problems or death.

Asphyxia – perinatal asphyxia happens when a baby experiences a decrease in blood flow and oxygen to the baby’s brain. While asphyxia is rare, it can be very serious. Some causes of asphyxia include:

  • Placental abruption – a separation of the placenta from the uterus before delivery
  • Obstruction of the umbilical cord blood flow
  • Infection in the fetus
  • Severe maternal hemorrhage or illness

Babies who survive asphyxia may have minimal to no brain injury and experience normal development. However, those with a moderate to severe injury may have permanent brain damage. This brain damage may be result in learning disorders, delayed development, or disorders such as cerebral palsy. Some babies who are severely asphyxiated during birth do not survive.

Nerve Injuries

Nerve injuries may occur during labor or during delivery. These injuries typically cause muscle weakness. A brachial plexus injury affects the group of nerves located between the neck and shoulder that lead to each arm. This can occur if the baby is pulled to vigorously from the birth canal. A birth injury lawyer Philadelphia PA trusts litigates brachial plexus injury cases as well as other types of nerve injury cases including spinal cord injuries, radial nerve injuries, sciatic nerve, and obturator nerve injuries.

Bone Injuries

A traumatic birth may result in the baby suffering a broken bone.

Clavicle fractures occur in up to 2% of newborns but typically require no treatment and spontaneously heal within a few weeks. Other fractures may include skill fractures, upper arm fractures, or leg fractures.

What Caused My Child’s Birth Injury?

Birth injuries can occur for many reasons. In some cases, a birth injury is an unpreventable event that could not have been predicted or avoided. In other cases, medical professionals assisting in the labor and delivery make errors that result in injury. The birth injury lawyers Philadelphia PA relies on to handle these types of cases groups birth injuries into three general categories.

Oxygen Deprivation – birth injuries from oxygen deprivation frequently cause a wide range of injuries that affect the brain. In severe cases, the baby will have permanent effects from the brain injury. A physician who fails to notice and respond to warning signs of asphyxia may be liable for the baby’s birth injury.

Delayed Birth – A delayed birth occurs when delivery lasts for over 18 hours. In these situations, pressure on the infant’s brain can lead to high blood pressure and fetal distress. Physicians who do not appropriately manage the birthing process may be liable if the infant suffers a stroke or cardiovascular problems from the delayed birth.

Medical Malpractice – physicians who make mistakes during labor and delivery may cause a birth injury. Medical malpractice occurs when a hospital, physician, or medical professional causes an injury to a patient through negligence. This negligence includes errors in diagnosis, treatment, and aftercare of the mother or baby. An example of medical malpractice would be a physician who uses tools such as forceps incorrectly causing serious injury to the baby.

How Can a Birth Injury Lawyer Help Me and My Child?

A birth injury lawyer that Philadelphia PA goes to for these types of cases can help determine if the hospital, physician, or another medical provider may be liable for your child’s birth injury. Our team of birth injury lawyers request medical records and collaborates with specialists in the field of obstetrics in order to get to the bottom of what happened during your child’s delivery. Then, we work to hold liable parties accountable and garner financial compensation for the child’s injuries. This compensation is often instrumental in enabling the parents to access necessary care and services for their child’s current and future medical and developmental needs. Call the Wieand Law Firm, LLC today for a free consultation by calling 888-520-0096 or send us a message via the online form to speak directly with an attorney. Our lawyers will listen closely to your situation and help you understand the legal options available to you and your family.


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