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Medical Malpractice in Illinois: Types of Birth Injuries

A child can be permanently injured due to a medical error committed during the birth process. Medical professionals are extensively trained in the protocols for various problems that may arise, but even the most highly-trained, experienced doctor, nurse, or anesthesiologist can make a terrible error that leads to permanent disabilities. Not all birth injuries are the result of medical malpractice – but recent research has revealed that medical negligence is the third leading cause of death in the USA. If your child has a condition, became seriously ill, or permanently disabled after a difficult birth, it may be the result of medical malpractice.

An error in procedure during a difficult birth can result in serious or permanent injuries to the baby. Some of the types of conditions that can be the result of medical negligence include:

Cerebral Palsy

CP is the result of restricted oxygen to the brain, which can occur during a difficult birth. Called perinatal brain cell death, blood vessels are ruptured or other events cut off the oxygen to the brain. This condition can impact a child’s muscle control, coordination, muscle tone, reflexes, posture, and ability to balance, as well result in cognitive delays.

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) or "intrapartum asphyxia" describe damage done to the brain by oxygen deprivation. If the flow of oxygen is restricted for too long, brain tissue dies, leading to impairments or in some cases, death. If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, it is vital that you understand how the condition was acquired, and whether it was the result of a medical error during birth.

Brain Damage

As with cerebral palsy, brain damage can be the result of restricted oxygen to the brain during birth. Damage can also occur due to a twisted umbilical cord that is wrapped around the baby, cutting off oxygen, or by cutting the cord too early after birth. A baby who is stuck in the birth canal for too long, without medical intervention to quickly address and resolve the problem, can be permanently disabled. Other errors that could lead to brain damage include excessive pulling or incorrect use of birth assistance tools such as forceps or vacuum extraction.

Spinal Cord Injury

A baby that is not moving through the birth canal fast enough is at risk. Forceps may be used to pull the baby out, but in so doing, can damage the delicate spinal cord. Excessive rotation in extracting the baby can leave the child with a condition similar to cerebral palsy, but caused by trauma inflicted upon the spinal cord.

Fractured Skull

Excessive force applied during birth can fracture an infant’s fragile skull, leading to brain bleeding, creating pressure and the possibility of the development of cerebral palsy or other conditions associated with oxygen deprivation. When wrongly used, obstetrical tools can lead to serious medical complications, or a lifetime of disabilities.

Brachial Plexus Injury

The network of nerves that works to send signals to and from the shoulders, arms, and hands are called the brachial plexus. When this area is traumatized during delivery, the nerves can be stretched, bruised, or torn. The child may develop a limp or paralyzed arm. The exact site and degree of injury to the nerves will determine the long-term prognosis. Some children may require surgery to attempt to correct the problem, and others may need extensive physical therapy in an effort to restore motion and sensation to the shoulder, arm, and hand.

Resources for Illinois Parents

Parents face many challenges when a child has been seriously injured during birth, and is permanently disabled. In Illinois, various resources in medical care and support are available, including:

Your Rights in Cases of Medical Negligence Leading to Permanent Injury

When a doctor, nurse, anesthesiologist, or any other medical professional fails to provide the accepted standard of care, and the child is left with permanent disabilities or the need for extensive medical intervention, the facts of what occurred must be established. Parents can seek justice through filing a lawsuit against all liable parties. A doctor who has been careless and made an error, or failed to administer the standard of care that another similarly-trained medical professional would have provided under similar circumstances, can be held accountable in a medical malpractice lawsuit.

The first step to take is to get help and advice from a birth injury lawyer. These can be difficult cases to resolve, and require a high level of legal skill. Call upon Birth Injury Safety to get information about proceeding with a legal action to recover compensation. Contact us at (214) 974-4121.


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Birth Injury Safety
Saint Paul Place, Suite 1660A,
750 N. Saint Paul Street, Dallas Texas 75201

Phone: (214) 974-4121
Email: brown@trialfirm.com

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