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What Are Birth Injuries Due to Negligence in Allentown, PA?

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While some birth injuries are an unfortunate result of a difficult birth that no one could account for, most common birth injuries are caused by negligence. If your child suffered a birth injury that was caused by negligence, you should contact an Allentown birth injury lawyer to determine if you may be entitled to compensation. Learn more about what birth injuries are due to negligence to see if you have a personal injury claim.

What is a Birth Injury?

Munley Law has several Allentown, PA. Birth Injury Lawyers

A birth injury occurs before, during, or after the birth process when a newborn may suffer physical injury or trauma. Birth injuries can be caused for a variety of reasons, most commonly due to:

  • The baby is large
  • The baby is breeched or feet first in the birth canal
  • The baby is premature
  • The mother’s pelvis or birth canal is not shaped for delivering, making a vaginal delivery more difficult.
  • Labor has been prolonged with weak contractions, making it hard for the baby to move through the birth canal.
  • Maternal obesity and other maternal risk factors
  • Cesarean or C-section
  • The need for a vacuum-assisted delivery or use of forceps

While they are challenging to see for the new parents, some birth injuries are more common than others, with data suggesting there are six to eight injuries per 1,000 live births. Some of the more commonly seen birth injuries include:

  • Swelling/bruising of the baby’s head
  • Bleeding underneath a cranial bone
  • Small, broken blood vessels in the baby’s eyes
  • Facial nerve injury caused by pressure on the baby’s face during delivery
  • Brachial plexus injuries or injuries to the nerves supplying feeling and movement to arms and hands
  • Clavicle or collarbone fractures

These injuries may be common but may still result from medical negligence. Munley Law can review your case to determine if birth injury prevention is possible.

What Are the Types of Birth Injuries Caused by Medical Malpractice?

Sometimes, an injury during birth is just an unfortunate but unpreventable reality. But in other situations, it can be the result of avoidable birth trauma. Examples of birth injuries caused by medical malpractice range from minor to severe and encapsulate a variety of situations.

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?

We often don’t think of traumatic brain injuries as a type of birth trauma, but head injuries are some of the most commonly reported birth injuries.

Traumatic brain injuries at birth can include severe damage to the skull, scalp, and other areas of the head. Most often, they are caused by physical trauma to the skull or brain due to the use of excessive force or delivery tools. A TBI may also be caused by a lack of oxygen flow to the brain before, during, or after birth.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

During a difficult delivery, a newborn may be deprived of oxygen, resulting in brain damage. In some cases, oxygen deprivation can result in cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy impacts the nerves that control movement, balance, and posture. In some cases, children with cerebral palsy can also have developmental delays.

What are Brachial Plexus and Erb’s Palsy?

When the brachial plexus nerves in the neck are injured during the delivery process, the child may suffer from weakness or paralysis in the arm or arms. The most common form of this injury is Erb’s palsy, caused by an injury to the shoulder. In the event the baby’s nerves are torn during delivery, they may suffer from total paralysis.

Sometimes, full movement can be restored with therapy. In more severe cases, surgery may be required.

What is Facial Paralysis?

Facial swelling after a difficult birth where there was a lot of pressure on the baby’s face can be common and resolves on its own over days or weeks. However, in cases where the pressure or use of forceps causes the facial nerves to cause more permanent damage, surgery may be required to repair the nerves.

Often, this type of birth injury is not found until the baby cries and one side of the face does not move, or the eye cannot open or close.

What are Fractures?

In situations where a baby is breeched, the infant may sustain fractures to the clavicle or collarbone during the delivery process. Often, these injuries will heal within weeks, but the recovery can be painful and requires the baby to be in a cast or splint to limit movement.

What is Anoxia?

If a child is completely deprived of oxygen during birth, anoxia occurs. Anoxia can occur due to issues with the umbilical cord during delivery. This can result in permanent brain damage, leading to a lifetime of medical complexities.

What are Spinal Cord Injuries?

While rare, spinal cord injuries can occur when there is excessive traction or rotation during delivery to the baby’s trunk. This can be caused by vacuum extraction or improper use of forceps.

What is Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)?

Also known as neonatal encephalopathy, birth asphyxia, and perinatal asphyxia, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is caused by a lack of oxygen or blood flow during delivery. Typical complications from HIE include cognitive disabilities, cerebral palsy, seizures, and epilepsy.

What is Kernicterus?

It is not uncommon for a newborn to experience jaundice in the first days of life. However, when left untreated, it can result in kernicterus, which causes bilirubin to build up in the brain. This can cause seizures, hearing loss, brain damage, and certain forms of cerebral palsy.

Could My Baby’s Injury Have Been Prevented?

The attorneys at Munley Law can help when you need can Allentown Birth Injury Lawyers

Most birth injuries are not a result of negligence; however, if your child’s birth was met with complications and you feel as though the treatment you and your child received was not enough to prevent an injury, you may have a personal injury claim.

A child’s birth injury can be avoided if the medical team appropriately responds to complications as they arise. Birth injuries are preventable when:

Providers Respond to Fetal Distress

During labor, mothers are hooked up to many monitors to manage their health and keep track of the baby’s vitals. If a doctor fails to acknowledge and respond to fetal distress, long-term complications can arise for the child, and unfortunately, even death may occur.

Delivery is Not Delayed

Not all labors are easy. Sometimes, they can become lengthy and require medical assistance to speed up. In cases where medication does not make labor fast enough, a cesarean section can be used to deliver the baby. However, when doctors delay delivery, severe injury and illness can occur to mother and child alike.

Forceps/Vaccum Extraction is Used Properly

To move a baby through the birth canal, devices like forceps or vacuum extraction may be employed. However, if too much force is used, this can result in trauma to the skull, leading to life-long disabilities.

Proper Force is Used

Sometimes, a doctor may try to avoid using delivery tools and will instead pull the baby through the birth canal. But this can also lead to birth trauma as the pulling can cause the shoulders to dislocate, leading to nerve damage.

Can My Child Fully Recover From a Birth Injury?

Determining a child’s recovery from a birth injury depends on a variety of factors. Ultimately, the severity of the injury will determine how likely the child is to recover and what options are available for treatment and therapy.

Severe birth injuries that involve the brain or spinal cord are more likely to cause permanent disability compared to minor injuries involving fractures and nerves.

A birth injury diagnosis is your first step in birth injury treatment and determining your child’s prognosis.

How Can an Allentown Birth Injury Lawyer Help My Child?

An Allentown birth injury lawyer can help your child by:

  • Reviewing medical records to determine if negligence occurred
  • Calculate the medical expenses you are likely to incur due to the baby’s birth injury prognosis
  • Gather expert testimony
  • Handle negotiations
  • Represent you in court

Because birth injuries and birth defects typically develop within weeks to months of a child being born, many birth injuries are not reported right away. While some may be quite apparent during delivery, the long-term implications can take longer to determine.

However, you are on the clock to file a birth injury claim. In Pennsylvania, you must file a claim until the child is 20 years old. But you should immediately start. Evidence can quickly disappear; the faster you act, the stronger your claim.

Our Allentown Birth Injury Attorneys Are Here For You

When a newborn baby suffers at the hands of a negligent medical provider, legal action must be taken. At Munley Law, our Allentown birth injury lawyers handle a wide variety of birth trauma claims, including those for:

  • Brachial plexus injury and other nerve injuries
  • Facial nerve injury
  • Intracranial hemorrhage
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Intrauterine fetal demise (or stillbirth)
  • And more

If your child suffered a birth injury, call Munley Law today for a no-obligation, free consultation.

Do I Have A Case?

If you think you may have a personal injury case, contact us now for a FREE consultation.

    Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys

    609 Hamilton St
    Allentown, PA 18101
    (610) 857-7424

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