Types of Birth Injuries

There are a variety of birth injury types. Some injuries are temporary, while others last a lifetime. “Symptoms vary from one infant to another,” says Thomas Bumgardner, an attorney with the Law Office of Thomas D. Bumgardner, PLLC. “Where one child may have mild symptoms, the other infant may react more severely.”

Brain Related Injuries

Brain injuries arise from oxygen deprivation, such as anoxia, hypoxia, birth asphyxia and perinatal asphyxia. When a brain has been deprived of oxygen, it can react in various ways. Brain ischemia occurs when oxygen is deprived and the brain reacts by draining the blood from the brain. A brain hemorrhage occurs when a brain reacts to excessive blood flowing into the brain. More electrical responses are what happens when the brain reacts to oxygen deprivation causing general brain damage from seizures, or causing more severe disorders with cerebral palsy.

Cerebral Palsy is the leading brain-related injury related to birth related trauma. In many cases, CP could have been eliminated with the corrective preventative measures by the physician. If the physician failed to monitor fetal distress and take appropriate actions, the infant may develop CP.

Muscle/Physical Injuries

Relatively easy to diagnose, a clinical evaluation can pinpoint where the limited movement or paralysis is coming from. Some injuries may be related to more blatant medical malpractice such as lacerations, bruises or broken bones. This can also cause other physical birth injuries, such as skull fractures or cephalohematoma. Common muscle-related and physical injuries include:

Brachial Plexus

Brachial plexus happens when the upper extremity of the arm is injured, usually during delivery. Symptoms include weakness in the affected arm and the inability to use certain muscles in the affected arm. The shoulder and hands may also be affected. Electrical-type shocks and a burning sensation down the affected arm is also common.

Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s palsy is a form of brachial plexus marked by the nerves of the upper arm being affected, usually after a birth injury. Infants with Erb’s palsy may experience the loss of feeling and weakness in the affected arm. In severe cases, infants may have total paralysis in the affected arm.

Klumpke’s Palsy

Klumpke’s palsy, another form of brachial plexus, is caused by damage to the lower nerves in the arm, affecting the arm, wrists and fingers. Typically, an infant with Klumpke’s palsy will have total paralysis in the affected area, and the hand usually takes on a permanent, claw-like shape.

Shoulder Dystocia

Shoulder dystocia is a birth injury that occurs when an infant’s head and shoulders get trapped behind the mother’s pelvic bone during delivery. Although shoulder dystocia only happens in 1% of all pregnancies, the complications that arise with this type of injury can be severe. Along with the risk of maternal hemorrhaging and uterine rupture, the baby may experience difficulties when breathing, a collarbone fracture, cerebral palsy, a brachial plexus fracture, and in some instances, death.

Injuries Developed through pregnancy

In some cases, the birth injury is passed on from the mother, though a physician’s job is to detect and treat any maternal problems. A couple of these injuries are attributed to infections (such as the group B strep infection or meningitis). Children can catch this from their mothers just by being born, by passing through the birth canal where these infections are stored. Other injuries that can be caught from the mother are injuries that she developed through pregnancy that the physician should have tested for or found earlier. These birth injuries can be reversed or corrected by the mother taking supplements based on the physician’s recommendation.

Injuries from Delivery

Birth injuries that arise during delivery is a common occurrence. These types of injuries occur from the use improper use of tools invented to assist in delivery. Other injuries from delivery may include administering the wrong medication or mishandling the infant, resulting in broken bones, lacerations or skull fractures. Depending on how the physician handles the delivery, an infant may also experience injuries related to stress, high blood pressure or hypertension.

 

If you feel that your child’s birth injuries may be caused by the negligence of a medical professional, it is important that you speak with a personal injury lawyer. Thomas D. Bumgardner has years of experience in professionally handling these types of birth injury cases. To schedule a free consultation, please call (704) 887-4981.