A birth injury is any type of injury to a child during childbirth, usually
as the child moves through the birth canal. Most infants sustain minor
injuries during birth due to the natural forces and pressure of labor
Unfortunately, newborns can also suffer more serious birth injuries such
as fractures, nerve injuries, and brain injuries during birth. While not all
birth injuries are avoidable, sometimes medical negligence is to blame.
When a physician, nurse, or other medical professional gives substandard
care, fails to take appropriate action, or does not recognize signs of
distress in the mother or infant, they may be responsible for a child's injuries.
One of the most serious conditions that can result from a birth injury is
cerebral palsy, a group of neurological disorders that can affect a child for his or
her entire life.
What Causes Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is caused by an injury or abnormal development of the region
of the brain that controls movement. CP may be the result of abnormal
development, damage to the brain before or after birth, a stroke in utero,
or a lack of oxygen to the brain, for example.
While many cases of cerebral palsy are unavoidable or have an unknown cause,
there are many ways in which birth injuries can be directly attributed
to cerebral palsy. Injury to the brain during a forceps delivery may cause
cerebral palsy as can complicated labor and delivery that causes low oxygen
to the brain or too much pressure on the brain.
Common Birth Injuries That Cause Cerebral Palsy
Not all birth injuries happen at birth; they may also happen during pregnancy
or just after birth. There are many ways in which a preventable brain
injury can lead to cerebral palsy. Some of the most common birth injuries
that may be responsible for cerebral palsy include:
Failing to respond to fetal distress in a timely manner. Signs of fetal
distress like an abnormal heart rate and decreased movement need to be
addressed immediately to prevent brain damage due to oxygen deprivation.
Failing to respond to signs of oxygen deprivation. Severe oxygen deprivation
to the brain is a common cause of cerebral palsy. Physicians have a duty
to monitor the conditions of the mother and child during labor and recognize
then respond to signs of oxygen deprivation in a timely manner.
Failing to recommend or offer a C-section in a timely manner. A difficult
and prolonged labor can compress the baby's brain in the birth canal
or cut off the supply of oxygen to the brain.
Failing to diagnose, treat, or prevent an infection during pregnancy. While
any infection in a pregnant mother that causes a high fever can lead to
cerebral palsy, the risk is higher with some infections like rubella and
Incorrect use of forceps or vacuum extraction. These devices, when used
improperly, can cause too much pressure on the baby's brain.
What Are Birth Injuries of Medical Malpractice?
Not all birth injuries are considered medical malpractice, even when the
injuries lead to cerebral palsy. Medical malpractice occurs when a hospital,
doctor, or medical professional acts with negligence and causes an injury
to the child. While the vast majority of medical professionals are caring
and exercise due diligence, sometimes negligence does occur that has life-changing
If you believe your child's cerebral palsy was caused by negligence
on the part of someone on your medical team, you have rights. The Johnson
City birth injury attorneys at The Haynes Firm can help you explore your
legal options to seek fair compensation to pay for your child's long-term
medical needs and give them the best possible future.
Contact The Haynes Firm at (423)451-4999to discuss your medical malpractice case.