Birth injury causes vary from unforeseeable, unpreventable causes to clear-cut cases of negligence by healthcare providers — negligence that should never have occurred. It can be difficult to pinpoint and prove birth injury causes, but in many instances, the cause is obvious. Every birth injury cause should be explored carefully by knowledgeable medical and legal professionals.
If you suspect or know that your infant suffered a birth injury, it's well worth your time and effort to investigate the most common causes of birth injuries. As with your own health and wellbeing, "knowledge is power."
Common Causes of Birth Injuries
Common causes of birth injuries include the following:
- dystocia (difficult labor)
- too-long labor (also called "prolonged labor")
- prematurity – birth before 37 weeks
- large birth weight (over approx. 8 pounds, 13 ounces)
- fetal distress during the delivery
- unusual presentation of the baby (for example, buttocks or feet first)
- the mother's pelvis is not adequate for the baby to be born vaginally
Birth Injuries and Medical Negligence
Unfortunately, medical negligence is included among birth injury causes. Although parents hope for and expect competent and correct medical care during the delivery of their child, sometimes negligence by the following healthcare providers results in a birth injury to a baby shortly before, during or after the delivery:
- EMTs (emergency medical technicians)
- midwives and doulas
- physicians (including obstetricians and gynecologists)
Examples of medical negligence abound. Sometimes healthcare personnel are not properly trained, or they're overworked and overtired, or they are simply careless; these are just a few of the underlying reasons for negligence as a birth injury cause. The team of personnel handling the delivery might:
- deliver oxygen incorrectly
- fail to identify a condition such as fetal distress, maternal diabetes, a maternal or fetal infection, or Rh incompatibility
- fail to act quickly enough in response to delivery complications
- mishandle the baby's skull or body
- underestimate the baby's size
- use too much force during a difficult labor
If you are dealing with your child's birth injury, don't hesitate to talk to a birth injury attorney today. We offer free case reviews for parents who believe they may have a claim.