Trauma during the birthing process is a common cause of injury and even permanent disability in infants. Childbirth can be a difficult and confusing process for new parents, and, unfortunately, many patients are only marginally aware of what is happening during the delivery of their child.
In many cases, parents whose children have suffered from birth trauma have a difficult time piecing together the events that led to their child’s injury, and medical professionals may be of little help in this process.
TO UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEM BROADLY, THERE ARE TWO PRIMARY CAUSES OF BIRTH TRAUMA: MECHANICAL AND ANOXIC INJURIES.
Mechanical injuries are caused by physical force, as when a child is injured from use of forceps or pulling on a limb during the delivery.
Anoxic injuries are caused by oxygen deprivation, which can cause a variety of brain injuries including blindness, mental retardation, and other disabilities.
Common types of mechanical injuries caused by birth trauma include:
- Brachial Plexus Injury, an injury caused by tugging on the infant’s arm during delivery
- Brain trauma, caused by forceps or other trauma to the infant’s head
Mechanical injuries may or may not be obvious early in infancy. In some cases, mechanical injury may be obvious, but others may only show up as the child begins to show developmental abnormalities.
It is important to note, however, that it is normal for infants delivered vaginally to show some degree of bruising, so not every bruise is an indication of malpractice. However, if your newborn infant has unexplained injuries, including unusual bruising or abrasions, it may be a sign of birth trauma.
Depending on the type and severity of anoxic injury, it may be very difficult to diagnose during infancy and to effectively attribute to medical error. Anoxic injuries can be a result of oxygen deprivation caused by:
Drugs administered during childbirth
Physical obstructions such as an umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s neck
Obstructions to breathing
Common types of anoxic injury include:
In addition to mechanical and anoxic injuries, other complications such as brain damage resulting from kernicterus can occur due to medical negligence, resulting in tremendous emotional and physical hardships.