The birth of your child should spark feelings of joy and celebration among you, your family, and your friends. However, these feelings may not last. You might realize that there is something wrong with your son or daughter, only to find out that they've suffered a traumatic birth injury.
Many birth injuries to newborns are preventable. No parent deserves to deliver a child that ends up suffering from a birth injury, especially if it was preventable. As a parent, you should be on the lookout for any signs of a birth injury.
What Is a Birth Injury?
A birth injury, sometimes called birth trauma, is any type of harm that a baby suffers before, during, or shortly after delivery. These injuries are mainly categorized as nerve injuries, brain injuries, or orthopedic injuries.
Birth trauma may occur due to unforeseen circumstances or medical malpractice. There are various factors that increase the likelihood of birth trauma, such as:
- A baby weighing over 8 pounds
- Prolonged labor
- Abnormal positioning of the baby before or during delivery
- Mother's pelvic size and shape
- Premature birth
Many newborns suffer from minor birth injuries that don't require treatment. However, some birth injuries can lead to severe complications that may last for the rest of your child's life.
What Are the Signs of Preventable Birth Injuries?
Many birth injuries are preventable. Here are five signs that suggest your child may be suffering from a preventable birth injury:
1. Limited Arm Movement
The shoulders and arms of newborns are commonly affected during birth injuries. Shoulder dystocia can occur during birth resulting in an injury. Sometimes, this injury doesn’t involve long-term complications, and other times, it does.
Shoulder dystocia is a birth injury that occurs when one or both of a baby's shoulders get stuck inside the mother's pelvis during labor and birth. In many cases of shoulder dystocia babies are delivered safely. Although, shoulder dystocia can cause serious problems for both mom and baby
If a doctor inappropriately jerks a baby's arm during delivery the baby could suffer tendon, ligament, or nerve damage. An emergency c-section or the use of other, various birthing techniques can help to prevent injuries to your child’s arms or shoulders.
If your child has limited arm movement, they may be suffering from Erb's palsy, which is preventable. Also known as brachial plexus birth palsy, the condition affects about one or two in every 1,000 newborns. Erb’s palsy occurs when the brachial plexus (set of nerves in the shoulder) is damaged by traumatic force during delivery.
2. Developmental Delays
Brain-related birth injuries usually become more apparent as your child gets older. Your child may not develop new skills that other kids his or her age have already acquired. For example, babies typically start crawling at around nine months of age. If your child hasn't crawled by 18 months, this may be a sign that there could be a serious problem.
If your child fails to hit certain developmental milestones at recommended ages, you should visit a physician to seek professional medical help. Long-term motor or cognitive delays may be preventable. Your child's medical records would aid our legal team in building a solid birth injury malpractice case against all negligent parties.
3. Smaller Than Normal Head
The size of your baby’s head grows as their brain grows. This isn't always the case when a baby suffers from birth trauma. Microcephaly is a rare neurological condition that occurs when a baby's brain develops abnormally, causing the size of their head to be smaller than normal when compared to the heads of other babies of the same age and sex.
Microcephaly may occur due to maternal prenatal infections, like the Zika virus or German measles. Acquired microcephaly can happen when the oxygen supply is cut off from the baby after birth. Some of the most common symptoms of microcephaly include:
- Difficulty in learning
4. Trouble Feeding
A birth injury may affect your baby's brain development, causing them to experience feeding issues. Your child may find it difficult to eat, chew, suckle, or swallow. This may be a sign that your child is suffering from facial palsy, which is caused by damage to the facial nerves.
Many children who suffer from facial palsy fully recover with time. As a parent, it's advisable to be on the lookout for issues such as suckling or eating problems. If your baby is experiencing situations like these you should reach out to a birth injury attorney immediately.
5. Unresponsive to Sounds
Another sign of birth injury is if your child doesn't respond to verbal prompts. At six months, if your child isn’t responding to sounds by making their own sounds or responding when you call them by their name, they may be suffering from a birth injury.
A nine-month-old baby should understand the meaning of "no" as well as be able to imitate other people's sounds.
What Should I Do if I Suspect My Child Has a Preventable Birth Injury?
Signs and symptoms of a birth injury may be immediately apparent after birth. Other times, signs may take a while before they start manifesting. If you notice your child is showing any signs of a birth injury, at any time, contact your physician immediately.
Once your child is in the care of a reputable doctor, contact a birth injury lawyer to find out if you have a case. At Ratzan Weissman & Boldt, our birth trauma attorneys have the skills, experience, and resources that are necessary to effectively handle medical malpractice cases. We will conduct independent investigations to determine who is liable for your child's birth injury and hold them accountable for their actions.
Ratzan Weissman & Boldt is a Florida-Based National Birth Trauma Law Firm
Our Florida medical malpractice attorneys focus their careers on helping seriously injured victims and the families of patients killed due to medical negligence. Recognized for our commitment to solid medical malpractice litigation, we selectively handle the most complex and devastating medical malpractice claims in Florida and across the United States. No city or state is too far.
Our attorneys are devoted to improving the lives of our clients and the communities they live in. If your life or that of a loved one has been undone because of medical negligence, talk with us. We are here to help you. No case is too complex. We know this is a difficult time for you, and we are here to help. When you talk with us, you can expect straight answers and sound legal advice. It’s what you deserve. We will spend as much time as necessary to determine the merit of your case. When the consultation is complete, you will have a comprehensive understanding of your options.
Ratzan Weissman & Boldt is a contingency-fee based practice. What this means is that there are no fees or costs to you unless we prevail through a favorable settlement or jury verdict and judgment. Because we don’t bill by the hour and only get paid when you do, our priority is maximizing the results in your case. Read more about our approach here.