Taking Legal Action for Common Birth Injuries

You would hope, and even expect, that doctors, hospital administrators, and other medical personnel would do everything in their power to protect some of the most delicate and vulnerable patients in their care—pregnant women and unborn/newborn children. Unfortunately, inexcusable acts of negligence and carelessness occur indiscriminately throughout the medical community, and because of how fragile these particular patients are, even small acts of recklessness can have serious and lasting damage.

While medical negligence is never excusable or easy to accept, the effects can be especially hard emotionally when they involve a new, innocent baby. And while nothing can erase the pain and damage resulting from a birth injury, there are legal rights to families who suffer such a loss. Specifically, filing a medical malpractice lawsuit can help send a strong message to the medical community that negligence resulting in harm to women and their children will not go unnoticed or unpunished.

While any improper action, or a failure to take necessary action, could result in damage to an unborn or newborn child, there are a handful of birth injury cases that are unfortunately common.

Improper use of foreceps

Used properly, forceps can be an important and helpful aid in the childbirth process, especially if a child is improperly positioned and at risk of suffering oxygen loss. However, these tools must be used extremely carefully, as they can cause serious injuries to a baby’s delicate bones, spine, nerves, and skull. Most frequently, these injuries occur when medical professionals become impatient and use forceps with excess and improper force.

Delay in ordering a C-Section

There are numerous situations that can warrant the ordering of a caesarian section, including situations affecting both the health of the mother and her unborn child. Uterine ruptures, cord prolapses, slowed labor, placenta previa, bleeding from placental abruption, or a drop in the mother’s blood pressure are all concerns that can warrant ordering an emergency C-section. If a medical team fails to diagnose any of these situations, or simply waits too long to call for a C-section, the risks to a mother and her child can be significant, and sadly, in many cases, could have been avoided entirely.


Hypoxia occurs when a child does not get adequate oxygen to their brain during the birth process. In many cases, this occurs because of a child becoming tangled in the umbilical cord or due to some kind of damage to the placenta. Regardless of its cause, doctors are specifically trained to monitor an unborn child’s oxygen levels and take quick action if there is a chance that a baby is not receiving adequate oxygen to the brain. When this fails, easily preventable brain damage and other accompanying injuries and disabilities can occur.

Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is the name given to a range of non-contagious, non-progressive conditions that occur when there is damage to the motor centers of a child’s developing brain. 75% of Cerebral palsy cases occur during pregnancy, 5% during childbirth, and 15% after childbirth while a child’s brain is still developing (up to the age of 3).  Any trauma to this section of a child’s brain could result in a range of disorders and difficulties affecting movement, muscle tone, and posture. While therapies exist to help mitigate the effects of Cerebral palsy, no cure exists that can completely undo any damage incurred.

Erb’s palsy

Erb’s palsy is an unfortunate common birth injury that occurs when there is significant damage to the brachial plexus nerves located in a child’s upper arm. Most frequently, these injuries occur due to improper handling during the birthing process, whether due to tugging or improper use of a vacuum or forceps. While children can recover from Erb’s palsy, depending on the amount of damage done, it can take months to regain normal motor function.

You should never have to worry that the well-being of your child could be compromised by those you are trusting most in this world to take care of and protect them. Sadly, the reality is that careless people exist in every field, and when doctors cut corners or fail to act properly on the job, the most innocent members of our society can suffer as a result.

If your child has suffered a needless and preventable birth injury, we know that there’s no amount of restitution that can undo the suffering your family has experienced. However, we also know that financial compensation can help you get the medical and emotional support you need to work through this difficult time and pursue recovery. For the support and assistance you need taking action against a negligent medical professional, contact Chenkin Law Firm today at (800) 721-7472.

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