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Childbirth Injuries May Be Result of Medical Error

Studies show that birth trauma - babies suffering injuries during childbirth - occurs in about six of every 1,000 births. Birth injuries include bruising, broken bones, severe swelling, internal bleeding, facial paralysis and cerebral palsy. A baby's head is particularly susceptible to lacerations and other injury. Some injuries are minor, while others require surgery or other serious medical treatment. In the worst cases, birth injuries can lead to death.

There are many causes of birth injuries. Some are caused by unavoidable risk factors present in every delivery. For example, a baby's size and position, premature birth, complications from previous childbirth, the shape of a mother's pelvis and the difficulty and length of delivery may all lead to injury.

However, the negligence of organizations like hospitals and medical personnel like doctors and nurses can also cause birth injuries. Common mistakes include misuse of forceps or equipment used in vacuum extractions, prolonged compression or twisting of the umbilical cord and mistakes in the timing of critical procedures like cesarean sections. Mistakes also happen in the administration of certain drugs, circumcision, treatment of infections and infant care after birth.

When such injuries are the result of negligence, it is medical malpractice. A physician's failure to anticipate complications may also constitute malpractice.

The consequences of medical malpractice can be tragic. For example, a physician who improperly delays delivery may increase the baby's risk of cerebral palsy, a condition where oxygen deprivation to the brain leads to serious, lifelong mental limitations.

While some risk of birth injury is unavoidable, medical malpractice is absolutely preventable. Medical practitioners owe a duty of care to an unborn or recently born child, and when they breach that duty, their mistakes can cause permanent damage. Whether due to fatigue, lack of training, miscommunication or insufficient resources, medical malpractice-related birth injuries may entitle families to compensation for suffering and past, present and future medical expenses.


Located in Philadelphia, Silvers, Langsam & Weitzman, P.C., home of MyPhillyLawyer, serves clients in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, and throughout the United States.

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