A birth injury is an injury that happens to a child during or after delivery. The reasons for such an injury can be numerous. Sometimes the injury is due to the natural birthing process and other times it is caused by medical malpractice. If your child’s injury was caused by negligence on behalf of a medical practitioner, you may be able to collect damages.
The Importance of Accurate Prenatal Screening
Many birth injuries, treatable defects and other serious conditions can now be detected with a simple blood test, while others can be identified with an ultrasound. A physician owes his patients a certain standard of care. If a child is born with an injury that could have been prevented or detected through proper prenatal screening, this standard of care may have been violated.
Causes of Birth Injuries
The causes of birth injuries vary considerably, and can leave infants with everything from torn nerves to severe brain damage. One of the main problems with birth injuries is that some can be detected within a few hours of birth, but others can not be diagnosed until later in life. Sadly, the more severe birth injuries are often the last to be detected, like injuries relating to learning disabilities or when characteristics of brain damage become apparent.
Birth injuries can range in severity from mild to fatal. Because they can be difficult to diagnose, birth injuries often include lengthy treatment such as surgery, long-term medication and physical and/or mental therapy. After your child has suffered a birth injury, the most important thing is determining what you as a parent can do to help your child and who is responsible for your child’s devastating injury.
Birth Injuries That May Be Detected Early
Some types of birth injuries are immediately apparent, so treatment for the following injuries is often possible right after birth:
Subconjunctival hemorrhage (ruptures to the small blood vessels of the eye)
Fractures (often of the clavicle or collarbone)
Caput succedaneum (severe swelling of the soft tissues of the baby’s scalp)
Cephalohematoma (area of bleeding between the bone and its fibrous covering)
Birth Injuries That Are Often Detected Later On
Other injuries do not surface until later, such as:
Brachial Plexus Injuries: The detection of brachial plexus injuries like Erb’s palsyrelies heavily upon clinical evaluations, which can be challenging with newborns and young children. Your child’s functional use of his or her upper extremity will be clinically assessed; this is the most important indication for diagnosing these types of injuries.
Cerebral Palsy: This birth injury may be diagnosed soon after birth, but it is often more apparent later in childhood. This condition is characterized by involuntary movements, learning disabilities and speech problems, which may not be discovered until a child starts to talk and develop cognitively. Diagnosis involves a series of tests, such as an evaluation of your child’s medical history and an assessment of his or her motor skills.
Spinal Cord Injuries: The diagnosis of spinal cord injuryis often delayed or completely missed in newborns. Non-invasive imaging, including ultrasonography and magnetic resonance imaging may be required to confirm the diagnosis.
If you live in the Dallas, Texas area and want to learn more about birth injuries and your right to compensation, please visit the website of the medical malpractice law firm of Polewski & Associates today.