Birth Injuries vs Birth Defects: When to Take Legal Action

Birth Injuries vs Birth Defects: When to Take Legal Action

Out of every 1000 infants born in the United States, at least six to eight of them end up with a birth injury. Statistics also show that birth injuries are more common in boys than girls. Several parents, who have to deal with injured infants, never know if they have a right to take legal action against the hospital.

This might be because no hospital will want to admit that they injured the fetus at birth. If your baby was harmed, you have a right to sue because some of those injuries are very expensive to manage. Here is what you need to know.

The Difference Between Birth Defects and Birth Injuries

Birth defects mainly occur when the baby is still in the womb. They mostly develop within the first trimester. Birth defects can be caused by untreated infections, family planning methods, family medical history, genetics, lack of proper nutrition, and drug use. You cannot sue the hospital for a birth defect. In most cases, parents are aware of their baby’s condition and are already psychologically prepared to handle it.

However, birth injuries happen during childbirth and can be caused by several things. Birth injuries are hard to deal with. If you’re in Kentucky and your baby sustained an injury at birth, you would need a Kentucky birth injury lawyer to help you file a lawsuit. Some of the common types of birth injuries include the following:

Brain Damage

This injury occurs when a baby suffers a head injury during delivery, which can be caused by any of the following:

  • Bleeding in the brain
  • Loss of oxygen (Asphyxia)
  • Physical injuries from pulling on the head, blunt force, forceps or vacuum extraction
  • An undiagnosed brain infection
  • Umbilical cord choking

The damage is different in each case and is mostly determined by the part of the brain affected and the severity of the injury. These factors will also determine if the baby will have a life-long disability or make a full recovery.

HIE (Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy)

HIE, which is a form of brain dysfunction, refers to a condition where the brain does not get enough blood flow or oxygen for some time. During childbirth, it can be caused by:

  • Fetus in the wrong position
  • Placental bleeding or abruption
  • Loss of oxygen flow through the umbilical cord (umbilical cord prolapse)
  • Abnormally long labor

The magnitude of the injury will determine how this condition will affect your baby. Some babies suffer from vision issues, hearing problems, problems feeding, or seizures. Some babies do not experience any long-term health problems.

Erb’s Palsy

Also known as brachial plexus palsy, it is a birth injury where the child’s shoulder, hand, or arm is paralyzed. Erb’s palsy is caused by nerve damage and can happen when any of the following occur:

  • A doctor or midwife pulls on a baby’s neck or head during a difficult delivery
  • A baby’s head, neck, or shoulders getting stuck in the delivery process (shoulder dystocia)
  • The midwife or doctor pulls on the baby’s feet in a feet-first (breech) delivery

Babies with this injury often make a full recovery without treatment. However, in some cases, there are children who may need surgery or therapy to make a full recovery. Some children never regain use of the affected body part.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is quite common and is caused by a brain injury during delivery. This condition can limit a child’s ability to speak, see, and hear their mental functions, and muscle control. During birth, cerebral palsy can be caused by:

  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Bleeding in the brain
  • Medical negligence
  • Fever and infection
  • Lack of oxygen to the brain

It is important to note that cerebral palsy has no cure. Many treatments can help children with this condition live as independently as possible and also manage the symptoms.

Call a Birth Injury Lawyer

If you suspect that your baby is a victim of birth injury, seek legal help immediately. An experienced birth injury lawyer will review your case and help you file a lawsuit.

Written by George K.

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