Childbirth is never completely safe, but modern medicine has come a long way to help care for newborns and avoid birth injuries. However, sometimes things go wrong during the labor and delivery process.
Some circumstances that can lead to birth trauma include:
Misuse of medical devices. During the delivery of a baby, doctors sometimes use forceps or vacuum extractors to remove the baby from inside the mother. Forceps are a tong-like device which the doctor uses to guide the baby's head out of the womb, while vacuum extractors use suction to accomplish the same task. When used carefully, these devices can assist birth and prevent injuries, but when they are used incorrectly, traumatic injuries to the newborn baby can occur.
Medication errors. Overdoses of medications such as Pitocin (which is used to induce labor) can cause contractions to happen too quickly or irregularly. This can cause injuries to the baby during the labor and delivery process.
Prolonged delivery. Every delivery takes time, and it's not unusual to take multiple hours to deliver a baby. When delivery takes too long, the risk of trauma increases. Doctors need to monitor the progress of labor and move things along more quickly of the baby is at risk.
Abnormal positioning. The risk of birth trauma increases if the baby is born feet-first or face-first.
Birth trauma can cause a wide range of injuries. For example, injuries to the head or skull can cause brain injury, and trauma to the neck or back can cause spinal cord injury. When the baby's shoulders become stuck during delivery, carelessness can lead to a brachial plexus injury and complications such as Erb's palsy and Klumpke's palsy.
The important thing to remember about birth trauma is that it is usually preventable. All of these circumstances can be anticipated and promptly addressed by medical professionals. As such, when children sustain permanent traumatic injuries during birth due to medical malpractice, their families have legal recourse. If you suspect this happened to your child, contact an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction for a free consultation.