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Birth Injuries

A birth injury is one suffered by the infant during labor and delivery or soon after birth. A child’s birth injuries may lead to impairment in physical, learning, language and behavior areas that cause developmental delays or disabilities.

In addition to the heartbreak caused by a birth injury, a child’s significant disability may be costly to parents and eventually the young adult whose educational and occupational opportunities may be limited. If a medical error caused by negligence has led to a birth injury, the child’s family and the injured child may be eligible to obtain compensation for their losses through a medical malpractice claim.

Kraft & Associates, P.C., helps families in Dallas and throughout Northern Texas who are facing the consequences of birth injuries. We can investigate your child’s circumstances and, in cases of medical negligence, seek compensation for you.

Contact us today for a free and confidential discussion of your legal options if you believe your child was injured because of a preventable medical error at birth. We’re an established and professional law firm with friendly lawyers and staff who are easy to talk to.

Common Traumatic Birth Injuries

Most birth injuries can be attributed to asphyxia (a lack of oxygen) or another form of trauma during labor and delivery. A baby may be deprived of oxygen if he or she is left in the birth canal too long because of complications, or if the umbilical cord becomes wrapped around the infant’s neck. Traumatic injuries may occur if instruments like forceps or vacuum delivery devices are used to deliver the child. If a baby is not properly positioned for delivery (head first) efforts to move the child may cause injury.

In addition to soft tissue injuries, such as lacerations, abrasions, hemorrhages and fractures, common birth injuries that are potentially disabling include:

  • Cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of incurable disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. CP is the most common motor disability in childhood. Head trauma or a lack of oxygen during birth, or an infection that develops soon after birth, can cause cerebral palsy. Individuals with cerebral palsy may be unable to walk or care for themselves, and in some cases may suffer hearing or vision loss, epilepsy or intellectual deficiencies.
  • Cerebral hypoxia / anoxia. Whenever too little oxygen is supplied to the brain, the individual may suffer brain damage. A hypoxic injury is partial loss of oxygen, and an anoxic injury is caused by complete oxygen deprivation. The more complete and longer the deprivation, the more severe the harm to the brain. Hypoxia or anoxia can cause serious impairments to cognitive (thought) abilities, as well as in physical, psychological and other functions. Some individuals can improve with therapy, but others may not.
  • Brachial plexus injuries (Erb’s palsy, Klumpke’s palsy). The brachial plexus is a group of nerves in the neck that are linked to the shoulders, arms and hands. Excessive pressure applied to infant’s head or neck during delivery can damage the brachial plexus. A brachial plexus injury may lead to loss of muscle control, strength and sensation, or paralysis in the neck, shoulders, arms or hands. Damage to the upper nerves is referred to as Erb’s palsy. Damage in lower nerves is called Klumpke’s palsy. Children with brachial plexus injuries usually require physical therapy and potentially surgery to graft or transfer nerves or muscle to bypass paralysis.
  • Cervical dystonia (spasmodic torticollis). A birth injury to the head, neck or shoulder may cause muscles in the neck to contract and draw the head forward, backward or to the side. Cervical dystonia is painful and can be disabling. The child will require physical therapy and medication. A child may also need multiple surgeries to sever affected nerves or muscles. Deep brain stimulation (DBS), in which an electrode surgically implanted in the brain interrupts the nerve signals that make the victim’s head twist, may help some severely affected victims.
  • Spinal cord injury. Excessive traction or rotation during delivery may cause a spinal cord injury. A severe spinal cord injury may result in stillbirth or rapid neonatal death. Babies who survive may suffer weakness and hypotonia (low muscle tone and strength). Most infants later develop spasticity that is much like cerebral palsy.
  • Facial Paralysis. If pressure is applied to a baby’s face during delivery, the facial nerve may be injured. If the nerve is only bruised, the child’s facial paralysis will probably improve in a few weeks. If the nerve was torn, surgery may be required.

Many birth injuries are avoidable with recognition and anticipation of obstetric risk factors. Ultrasonography and fetal monitoring allow an obstetrician to recognize birth injury risk factors before attempting vaginal delivery, and to opt for a Caesarean delivery as necessary.

Obstetricians and obstetric nurses are trained to monitor mother and child’s oxygen levels and other vital signs during labor, delivery and neonatal care. Each hospital or medical center with birthing facilities has established protocols for how to aide a mother or child who is not receiving enough oxygen or who exhibits other signs of distress, including when performing a Caesarian section (C-section) is necessary.

Birth injuries may be caused by neglecting proper procedure, not recognizing and addressing complications properly, or taking too long to make decisions, such as when to order a C-section. Some obstetric personnel make errors due to a lack of training or experience and poor supervision or a reluctance to ask for help.

If negligence leads to a birth injury, a medical malpractice claim may provide compensation for the family’s losses and the disabled child’s ongoing needs. This may include past, current and future medical expenses, money for future lost wages due to diminished earning capacity, as well as compensation for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.

Contact Our Texas Birth Injury Attorneys

A disability due to a birth injury may have far-reaching financial consequences that should be addressed. If your child suffered an injury during birth or while under neonatal care that has caused lasting harm, the lawyers of Kraft & Associates, P.C., in Dallas want to help you. We can investigate your child’s medical records and current condition and advise you of your legal options.

Please contact Kraft & Associates today to set up a free, confidential and no-obligation review of your case. If we can pursue a medical malpractice claim for a birth injury on your behalf, we will work aggressively for you. Phone us at (214) 999-9999, email kraftlaw@kraftlaw.com, or fill out our online form.

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