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What are Common Birth Injuries?

Nov 20, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

The birth of a child should be a joyful occasion. Unfortunately, when a doctor or nurse makes a mistake, a child can suffer a birth injury that comes with lifelong implications. While the consequences of a birth injury vary depending on the facts and circumstances, they can often lead to brain damage, visual or hearing impairment, physical disability, and developmental delay. If your child suffered a birth injury, you may be entitled to compensation for the economic and non-economic damages you and your child were caused to suffer.                 

What is a Birth Injury?

A birth injury is any type of injury that a child suffers before, during, or immediately following childbirth. These are distinct from birth defects, which typically form in the womb. Birth injuries can be the result of oxygen deprivation, failure to perform an emergency C-section in a timely manner, negligent prenatal care, failure to properly monitor the child during delivery, and various other causes.    

What are the Common Types of Birth Injuries?

Birth injuries can impact a child for the rest of their lives. Often, these injuries are the result of medical malpractice. If a doctor, nurse, or healthcare professional assisting with the delivery is negligent or deviates from the accepted standard of care, they may be held accountable in a legal action for the harm they caused.     

Some common birth injuries can include the following:   

  • Brain damage — Brain damage is one of the most common birth injuries and can occur in a variety of ways. For example, undiagnosed infections, oxygen deprivation, delayed birth, and failure to use delivery tools properly can all be causes of brain damage.
  • Cerebral palsy — Cerebral palsy is a motor disability that can be caused by lack of oxygen or physical damage to the brain during delivery. It can lead to a variety of physical disabilities and mobility problems, such as those involving balance and posture.       
  • Spinal cord injury — Spinal cord injuries are common types of birth injuries that can be caused by blunt force trauma, medical errors, and excessive rotation or hyperextension of the baby’s neck during delivery.                                                            
  • Asphyxia — Asphyxia can occur when a baby is unable to breath due to an unnecessary delivery delay or if the umbilical cord is wrapped around their neck. Lack of oxygen can lead to severe brain damage, causing physical and mental disabilities. 
  • Brachial plexus injury — Brachial plexus injury occurs when the nerves of the brachial plexus are stretched, torn, or compressed during delivery. This can result in loss of muscle function or paralysis of the upper arm. 

In some cases, birth injuries appear immediately in a newborn. In others, the child’s birth injury may not show up until they are older. For instance, a child’s disability may not become apparent until they fail to reach certain milestones, including standing, crawling, walking, and talking. They may also have difficulty socializing, following directions, or learning once they have reached school age.                  

Compensation for Birth Injuries

The emotional and financial toll of a birth injury can be substantial. If your child’s birth injury was caused by medical malpractice, you may be entitled to hold the healthcare provider accountable — and recover compensation for the economic and non-economic damages you incurred. By filing a birth injury lawsuit, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical expenses, past and future medical bills, rehabilitative services, assistive devices, at-home nursing care, necessary home modifications, and out-of-pocket costs. 

Non-economic damages are much more difficult to quantify. In a birth injury lawsuit, they can include compensation for the child’s pain and suffering, disability, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and other non-pecuniary losses. If the medical provider’s actions were severely egregious, punitive damages may be awarded to punish them and serve as a deterrent to others.

Contact an Experienced New York Birth Injury Attorney

The Edelsteins, Faegenburg & Brown, LLP is a New York personal injury firm that has been fighting for the rights of victims of medical malpractice since 1937, including those who have suffered birth injuries due to a medical provider’s negligence. Handling every case with compassion and the attention it deserves, we have earned a well-deserved reputation among our clients and colleagues for our skill, candor, and impressive track record of success. Contact us to schedule a free consultation at (212) 425-1999 today.    




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