BIRTH INJURIES You envisioned the delivery of your baby to be one of your most beautiful memories. Unfortunately, it has become one of your most painful. Every year roughly 6 to 8 out of every 1,000 infants will suffer a significant birth injury. BRAIN INJURIES Infants suffer brain injuries during delivery when they are deprived of oxygen. This results in varying degrees of injury. Hypoxia, anoxia and perinatal asphyxia all describe varying levels of oxygen deprivation up to and including death. The term Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) is a birth injury that describes the starvation the brain suffers when it is deprived of oxygen for a prolonged period. Ischemia refers to the brain’s response of draining the blood from the brain when it lacks oxygen.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the brain can hemorrhage when excessive blood is flowing to the brain. The brain has various electrical responses that begin taking place when it is deprived of oxygen or when too much blood is flowing. Seizures are just one example. Additional cascade events follow a brain injury and result in related complications. Newborn jaundice, prolonged seizures, stroke, cerebral palsy, and infant infection can all occur in the aftermath of an initial insult to the brain.
Failures to monitor for fetal distress, assess the level of distress and take appropriate and timely action to prevent further injury cause these types of brain injuries. Failure to timely plan for and perform C-section can cause these types of injuries.
BRACHIAL PLEXUS INJURY The brachial plexus is a group of nerves that come from our spinal cord in our necks and down into our arm. This group of nerves controls the muscles of the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand. They also provide basic feeling in the arm. This type of injury occurs when the upper extremity of the arm is injured during delivery. First signs often include a floppy arm accompanied by overall weakness in the arm. This can persist and result in the inability to use certain muscles of the arm and hand. Electrical-shock sensations or burning sensations down the arm are not uncommon. A brachial plexus injury can include Erb’s Palsy. This more specific diagnosis applies where the nerves of the upper arm are most affected. Where the nerves do not regenerate or cannot be repaired with surgery, a brachial plexus injury can create life-long permanent and devastating effects for your young one, including paralysis of the arm and hand.
SHOULDER DYSTOCIALarger infants are more likely to suffer shoulder dystocia than are smaller infants. This injury is usually linked to a medical provider’s failure to recognize the size of the infant and plan for a safe delivery. Shoulder dystocia occurs when the infant’s head and shoulders become trapped behind the mother’s pelvic bone during delivery. While there are maneuvers that can be performed to safely free the infant’s head and shoulders, these are not always successful. Complications that arise from shoulder dystocia to both the mother and infant can be very significant. Maternal hemorrhage and rupture of the uterus can both occur. The infant can suffer from a lack of oxygen while they are trapped. Physical injuries such as fractured collarbone or brachial plexus injuries can also result. Cerebral palsy and death are the most severe complications. Proper prenatal care that assesses and plans for delivery via C-section of a larger infant where the mother’s anatomy does not allow for vaginal delivery can avoid these injuries.
WRONGFUL DEATH OF A NEWBORNNo parent should be faced with the death of their newborn. Fetal and newborn death can result from the failure to timely assess, diagnose and treat any of the above complications, as well other maternal health conditions such as high blood pressure during pregnancy, placental abruption or other complications. In other cases, women undergoing fertility treatments are improperly monitored or counseled regarding the viability of their pregnancies and lose their babies when physicians do not allow for the proper time for fetal development given circumstances of the pregnancy before recommending and prescribing medications or performing procedures. Mothers learn too late that the pregnancy may have been viable with additional time and proper evaluation and monitoring.
If you or your baby have suffered any of these devastating complications, please call the office. You will speak with Julie, an experienced female trial attorney and mother in a comfortable and compassionate setting.