Massachusetts Medical Malpractice – Birth Injury
A birth injury is a trauma that occurs as the baby is born.
Many times the injury caused by a very large baby, often weighing as much as nine pounds. On the other end of the spectrum, prematurely born babies, or “preemies” have fragile, little bodies and may be hurt during birth as well. Birth injuries can also be a result of a difficult and prolonged labor, or a breech birth (bottom first). In other cases, the baby may not be able to be born vaginally due to the shape and size of the woman’s pelvis.
Birth injuries vary greatly, but the following are some of the most common:
- Clavicle Fracture: The most common injury is a fracture of the baby’s collarbone (clavicle) during labor or delivery. This can occur in a breech delivery or when the shoulder is delivered.
- Caput Succedaneum: Another injury is called caput, and occurs when the soft tissues of the baby’s scalp swell severely. This happens as the baby passes through the birth canal. Occasionally, babies have bruising, but problems tend to arise when the baby has been extracted by a vacuuming procedure. Signs of this also include bleeding occurring below the scalp while above the periosteum. In most cases it will resolve itself over the course of a few days, and the amount that the baby is handled may be reduced during this time as this condition causing irritability.
- Facial Paralysis: A third injury is facial paralysis, which is sustained when there is too much pressure put on a baby’s face during delivery. If this occurs the baby will not be able to close its eye and will have no movement on the injured side of the face.
- Brachial Palsy: When the baby has brachial palsy, the group of nerves for the arm and hand is injured, most often resulting from a difficult birth where the baby experience shoulder dystocia. Because of this the baby loses rotation and flexibility in the arm. Brachial palsy could result in permanent nerve damage, and the avulsion fractures often require surgery.
- Cephalohematoma: This is the breaking of blood vessels in the baby’s eye and bleeding between the bone and the fibrous covering, and usually occurs when the second stage of labor is prolonged. In severe cases it can also lead the baby to experience jaundice, anemia or hypotension. The related swelling can take weeks to go down completely while the blood clot is absorbed.
- Other conditions, such as bruising and forceps marks
Treatment for these injuries differs greatly. For example, if the baby has a fractured collarbone there may not be a need for any treatment; however, if the newborn is in pain, the area can be bandaged to limit movement. For facial paralysis, the baby may be fine in a few weeks, but if the nerve is torn, s/he will need surgery to repair it. With brachial palsy, permanent nerve damage may be a result, in which case, the baby will have to endure special exercises in the healing process.
Find Out If You Have A Medical Malpractice Injury Case
If you believe you or someone you love has been the victim of medical malpractice, you should talk to an experienced lawyer about your case. Parker Scheer lawyers have successfully negotiated and tried dozens of Massachusetts medical malpractice and personal injury cases, recovering millions of dollars for their clients. Please contact us for a free confidential case review and receive a response within hours, or call (617) 886-0500. If you need a lawyer outside of Massachusetts, Nevada, please contact us for a referral.