Going through labor is hard enough. There's no need to worry about birth injuries after the birth of your child. If your newborn has suffered a birth injury during or soon after labor, you should reach out to a Miami birth injury lawyer as quickly as possible.

A birth injury, also known as birth trauma, is any type of injury that a newborn suffers before, during, or after the birthing process. Many infants suffer minor injuries during labor that don't require treatment and often heal on their own within days or weeks. However, some birth injuries may be serious and can affect your child for the rest of their life.

There are certain factors that medical professionals should address during the birth process to avoid birth injuries. If these factors aren't properly addressed, they may cause birth trauma. They include:

  • Too large infants
  • Prolonged labor
  • Premature births
  • Excessive stress on the child
  • Nontraditional delivery positions
  • Infections
  • Maternal health risk factors, such as obesity, diabetes, and an abnormally shaped pelvis, can also lead to birth injuries.

Consider filing a medical malpractice claim if you believe your child has suffered a birth injury due to medical negligence. You may be eligible for financial compensation that covers your child's treatment.

Who's Responsible for Birth Injuries?

There are many people involved in the delivery process. These medical professionals must provide acceptable standards of care during delivery, ensuring the process is safe for the mother and child.

In many birth injury cases, the doctor or obstetrician-gynecologist (OB/GYN) is liable for medical negligence. Still, medical errors by delivery nurses, nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthetists, anesthesiologists, and physician's assistants may also cause birth injuries.

In some instances, hospitals and clinics can be held vicariously liable for the actions and omissions of the health care providers they employ. Hospitals that fail to uphold certain medical care standards may be directly liable for birth injury claims.

What Types of Birth Injury Can Lead to Lawsuits?

If your child experienced a birth injury, you may wonder whether you can file a lawsuit. Here are some of the most common types of birth injuries that can result in lawsuits in Florida.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders caused by damage to the developing brain, affecting a child's ability to control their muscles. This neurological condition affects balance, movement, and muscle tone. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 85%-90% of cerebral palsy is congenital. Congenital cerebral palsy relates to brain damage that occurs before or during childbirth.

Certain risk factors can lead to cerebral palsy, including:

Cerebral palsy may affect the entire body, one side of the body, or just one limb. Improper monitoring of the pregnant mother, failure to address fetal distress, and inadequate birth techniques can lead to cerebral palsy.

Spinal Cord Injuries

The spine sends signals to the brain, allowing it to control the limbs. Spinal cord injuries can affect the transmission of these signals and impact your child's ability to move, reflexes, respiration, and sense of touch.

Spinal cord injuries occur due to the overly forceful use of forceps during delivery. Overstretching may cause damage to the spine, which is often permanent. Injuries that occur close to the neck are fatal since they affect the newborn's ability to breathe. Spinal injuries can also lead to paralysis and neurological problems.

Damage to Blood Vessels

During the birthing process, pressure on the baby's head may cause blood vessels to get damaged or rupture. Pressure due to the use of medical instruments, like vacuum extractors or obstetrical forceps, can damage blood vessels in the scalp. 

When the baby is pushed out of the birth canal, acute pressure or extreme trauma can damage the small, fragile vessels that surround the scalp. If a medical professional applies too much pressure when using medical instruments during delivery, they can damage the infant's blood vessels.

Brachial Plexus Injuries

These injuries involve damage to the brachial plexus nerves located between the neck, shoulder, arm, and hand. Brachial plexus injuries can be temporary or result in permanent disability. 

Nerve damage to the brachial plexus occurs when a medical professional excessively pulls a child's head or neck towards one side during delivery. It may also occur when a doctor decides to perform a feet-first delivery. During delivery, the child's shoulders, neck, or head may get stuck under the mother's pelvic bone.

Facial Nerve Injury

If an infant's face encounters too much pressure during the birth process, this action may damage facial nerves. This severe injury is evident when a child's face appears asymmetrical.

Facial nerve injury may occur due to how the fetus is positioned within the uterus before delivery. This injury may also occur due to the use of forceps and vacuum extractors when pulling out the baby.

Intracranial Hemorrhage

This type of birth injury is characterized by bleeding in the brain tissue or skull. Blood vessels rupture due to birth injuries, blood clots, or an illness in the newborn can cause bleeding in and around the brain. Reproductive system infections, high blood pressure, and placenta complications in the mother may also cause intracranial hemorrhage.

Premature infants have a higher risk of intracranial hemorrhage.

Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

This birth injury occurs when a blood vessel in the newborn's eye bursts. A subconjunctival hemorrhage causes a red spot to appear in the white part of the eye. This condition is very common and doesn't result in eye damage. The bright red band typically disappears within a week to 10 days.

If Your Baby Suffered Physical Injuries, Consider Filing a Birth Injury Lawsuit

If your child suffered a birth injury and you believe a medical professional is to blame for their injury, it's important to speak to a Florida birth injury lawyer. An attorney can access your case and determine if the doctor failed to offer acceptable standards of medical care during the delivery of your child.

The birth injury lawyers at Ratzan Weissman & Boldt represent birth injury victims and their families in Miami, Florida. Let our Miami birth injury lawyers help you get the justice and financial compensation you deserve for your newborn's injuries.

Contact us today to learn more about your legal options.