Medical Malpractice: Types of Childbirth Injuries You Can Sue For

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There’s nothing scarier than going to give birth and your child getting injured in the process. It’s terrifying for the mother and can be very serious for the new baby. When your child is injured during birth, it’ll raise many questions.

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Fractures are common birth injuries but are they something you can sue over? Well, it depends. You’re probably wondering if doctors could have prevented the injury if it’s the physician’s fault, what it means for your child, and more. If you feel you’ve been involved in a medical malpractice issue due to a childbirth injury, here are the types of injuries you can sue for to get the compensation you deserve. 

What Specific Birth Injuries Can You Sue For?

Now that you understand what a breach of duties is for physicians, those mistakes can cause serious birth injuries. Here are some of the most common childbirth injuries you can sue your doctor for. 

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is an incurable condition that happens when the baby goes without oxygen during pregnancy or childbirth. It causes muscle movements to be restricted and often spasm. 

Erb’s Palsy

This usually happens from a brachial plexus injury and causes paralysis of the upper brachial plexus nerves. 

Shoulder Dystocia

When a baby’s arm is trapped during delivery, it’s shoulder dystocia and often happens before a brachial plexus injury. 

Brachial Plexus Neuropraxia

Newborn’s nerves stretch during delivery, but brachial plexus neuropraxia is when the nerves are overstretched and require intervention to treat. 

Brachial Plexus Neuroma

This injury happens when scar tissues form over the stretched nerves and put too much pressure on healthy nerves. 

Brachial Plexus Avulsion 

Brachial plexus avulsion happens when the brachial plexus nerves tear from the spinal cord. It causes paralysis, numbness, pain, and weakness and can cause permanent disability and disfigurement. 

Facial Nerve Palsy

This happens when part or all of the cranial nerve is exposed to prolonged pressure and can cause paralysis in the face. 

Lumbosacral Plexus Injury

This birth injury is in the mother and not the child. It happens when the leg nerves of the mother are damaged due to an epidural needle. It can be prolonged numbness or as severe as a loss of feeling permanent. 

Your Physician Not Performing Their Duties

Besides specific childbirth injuries that you can potentially sue for, you can sue your physician if they breached their healthcare duties. But what exactly does a breach of responsibilities mean in healthcare?

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A doctor breaches their duty when they fail to act or act in a manner that is not an acceptable form of care. Here are some examples of a physician failing to act up to the standard of care: 

  • Not detecting any fetal distress
  • Not detecting oxygen asphyxia
  • Failing to give a diagnosis of gestational diabetes, low blood pressure, or preeclampsia 
  • Not addressing the risks of vaginal delivery when the doctor should have recommended a c-section  
  • Failing to educate the mother on potential congenital disabilities 
  • Not testing for congenital disabilities and medical conditions 
  • Not performing an episiotomy which prevents perineal tears 

Some actions can constitute not acting up to the high standard of care doctors are supposed to. These include: 

  • Tugging on the baby’s shoulder excessively during delivery 
  • Inserting an epidural incorrectly 
  • Inducing labor when they shouldn’t have 
  • Prescribing medicine that can harm the baby

Keep in mind that just because your child was born with an injury doesn’t automatically mean that you have a malpractice lawsuit on your hands. There are situations where the doctor didn’t intentionally do anything wrong, and the injury still happened. But, if any of the above happened, you might have a case. 

Conclusion

Birth injuries are more common than people think, and they can be detrimental to the child’s and family’s emotional and physical health. If you believe your child suffered an injury during birth caused by the doctor, hiring a medical malpractice attorney to handle your case is the best thing you can do. 

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