When an innocent baby is harmed during his/her birth, a family’s future can be irrevocably changed. Not only might that child face a lifetime of disability, developmental delays and countless other challenges, but the entire way that a family functions will almost certainly change. The need to pay for caregivers, expensive therapies, medications and treatments can destroy a family’s finances in a matter of years, if not months. Birth injuries can potentially require a lifetime of care, the cost of which can be astronomical and absolutely devastating.
Birth injuries, in some cases, could have been avoided by the health care professional making different choices about the way that your birth experience was handled. You will never know if your child’s birth injury could have been avoided unless a competent and experienced attorney, working on your behalf, investigates each step that occurred along the way.
If a birth injury has occurred in your family, contacting an attorney who is experienced at trying birth trauma and medical malpractice cases is the best option that you have to receive compensation for your baby’s injuries.
Turner and Turner has decades of experience getting results for our clients who have unfortunately suffered the trauma of a birth injury.
Here are some examples of the types of birth trauma that can occur:
A medical condition resulting from depriving a newborn infant of oxygen, lasting long enough during the birth process to cause physical harm, usually to the brain. Hypoxic damage can occur to most of the infant’s organs, but brain damage is of most concern and perhaps the least likely to quickly or completely heal. In the more pronounced cases, an infant will survive, but with damage to the brain manifested as either mental, such as developmental delay, or physical, such as spasticity.
This condition results most commonly from a drop in the mother’s blood pressure or some other substantial interference with blood flow to the infant’s brain during the birth process. Perinatal asphyxia occurs in 2 to 10 per 1000 newborns that are born at term, and more often for those who are born prematurely.
An infant suffering severe perinatal asphyxia usually has poor color, perfusion, responsiveness, muscle tone, and respiratory effort, as reflected in a low 5 minute APGAR score. Extreme degrees of asphyxia can cause cardiac arrest and death.
Cerebral Palsy is an encompassing term that refers to neurological conditions that result from injury to the brain, either before, during, or after birth. This disorder permanently affects body movement and muscle coordination. Even though cerebral palsy affects muscle movement, it isn’t caused by problems in the muscles or nerves. It is caused by abnormalities in parts of the brain that control muscle movements.
Cerebral palsy can’t be cured, but treatment will often improve a child’s capabilities. In general, the earlier treatment begins the better chance children have of overcoming developmental disabilities or learning new ways to accomplish the tasks that challenge them. Treatment may include physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy, drugs to control seizures, relax muscle spasms, and alleviate pain; surgery to correct anatomical abnormalities or release tight muscles; braces and other orthotic devices; wheelchairs and rolling walkers; and communication aids such as computers with attached voice synthesizers.
What are the Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy?
The following are the most common symptoms of CP. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. The child may have muscle weakness, poor motor control, or have shaking, also called spasticity, of the arms or legs. Muscle stiffness in the form of stiff legs or clenched fists may also be seen. Cerebral palsy is classified according to the kind of motor function the child may have, including the following:
- spastic diplegia (“di” – means two) – spastic movements of the arms or legs. Diplegia is also called paraplegia.
- spastic quadriplegia (“quad” means four) – spastic movements in all four limbs (arms and legs).
- spastic hemiplegia (“hemi” means half) – spasticity affecting one half, or side, of the body (such as right arm and right leg).
- spastic double hemiplegia – spasticity in both sides of the body, but the amount of shaking is different when comparing the right side to the left side.
- athetoid – involuntary (unable to control), purposeless, and rigid movement.
Brachial palsy occurs when the brachial plexus (the group of nerves that supplies the arms and hands) is injured. It is most common when there is difficulty delivering the baby’s shoulder, called shoulder dystocia. The baby loses the ability to flex and rotate the arm. Many cases of brachial palsy resolve spontaneously in 24 hours or less and splints or therapy are not necessary in these cases. If the injury caused bruising and swelling around the nerves, movement should return within a few months. Tearing of the nerve may result in permanent nerve damage. Special exercises are used to help maintain the range of motion of the arm while healing occurs.
Bell’s Palsy/Facial Paralysis
During labor or birth, pressure on a baby’s face may cause the facial nerve to be injured. This may also occur with the use of forceps for delivery. The injury is often seen when the baby cries. There is no movement on the side of the face with the injury and the eye cannot be closed. If the nerve was only bruised, the paralysis usually improves in a few weeks. If the nerve was torn, surgery may be needed.
Caput is a severe swelling of the soft tissues of the baby’s scalp that develops as the baby travels through the birth canal. Some babies have some bruising of the area. The swelling usually disappears in a few days without problems. Babies delivered by vacuum extraction are more likely to have this condition.
Cephalohematoma is an area of bleeding underneath one of the cranial bones. It often appears several hours after birth as a raised lump on the baby’s head. The body resorbs the blood. Depending on the size, most cephalohematomas take two weeks to three months to disappear completely. If the area of bleeding is large, some babies may develop jaundice as the red blood cells break down.
How We Can Help You
At the law firm of Turner & Turner, we have represented children who have sustained serious injury during the birthing process and also parents who have experienced the death of a child due to professional negligence. The experience of our law firm in the medical malpractice and products liability areas has been forcefully employed on behalf of newborns and parents to achieve successful results.
We know that we cannot erase the tragedy or heartache that you have suffered. What we can do is help get you the damages you are entitled to, which can help pay for medical and other expenses. Our legal experts will work hard to maximize the value of your settlement.
Our birth trauma legal experts will navigate the many complex issues involved in your case, working for the best possible results for you and your child.
We are a highly-skilled legal team with years of experience, delivering exceptional results to our clients.
If your child was born with a birth injury, call 1-888-8TURNER for a free consultation with a member of our legal staff who will inform you of your options and how we can help you. You can also click here to complete a confidential, online form to receive a free case review.
Page source medical information: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital