Birth Injury & Cerebral Palsy (SPASTIC DIPLEGIA) Lawyers
BIRTH INJURY LAWYERS ~ BIRTH INJURY BASICS
A birth injury refers to an impairment of any of the infant’s body function or structure due to complications during delivery.
Causes of Birth Injuries
A birth injury can be caused by several factors, most of them during the process of childbirth, and most of them avoidable. The risk of birth injury is significantly higher for those undergoing a difficult delivery. Some of the factors that contribute to difficulty in childbirth are:
Baby size birth injury
It is generally known that the heavier and the bigger the baby is, the higher the chances that the delivery is going to be difficult. This is true for those babies weighing more than eight pounds. However, premature babies are also susceptible to experiencing birth injuries.
Pelvic size of the mother birth injury
Mothers who have small pelvic openings where the baby will pass have a higher chance of childbirth difficulties than those having a normal pelvic size. This is why it must be ascertained beforehand that the pelvic size of the mother is sufficiently large for the baby to pass through before the delivery. Otherwise, the mother should opt for the caesarian method of childbirth.
Prolonged labor birth injury
If a mother is in labor for a longer than normal period of time, she has an increased chances of a difficult delivery which can cause birth injuries to the baby.
Breech birth or feet first delivery birth injury
This unnatural way of child delivery wherein the baby exits the mother feet or buttocks first is one of the most common causes of delivery complications and difficulty. That is why any previous childbirth complications should be included in the medical files of the mother and should be considered by the doctor before performing delivery.
CEREBRAL PALSY - SPASTIC DIPLEGIA
One of the most common and permanent types of birth injuries is cerebral palsy. A cure is yet to be found for this condition but several options are available for the parents and the child to help them cope with or manage the birth injury suffered. It is always better to start the treatments early on for the child to have a better chance of overcoming his or her developmental disabilities.
Because there are different types of cerebral palsy, there are also different ways of treating it. Usually, a team of medical or health professionals will be called in to work with the child upon determining the specific impairments and needs of the child. The treatment of the child will then depend on a long term plan that aims to tackle the most pressing disabilities that the child needs to overcome or adapt to in order to function.
The health professional team will then include a physical and occupational therapist who will aim to improve the child’s ability to make everyday physical activities and motions such as walking, running, climbing up stairs, etc. The therapist will also help stretch the spastic muscles of the child as well as help prevent any muscular deformities from developing.
Other health professionals that will be included in the team are a speech therapist that will be treating any swallowing disorder, speech impediments and other obstacles to communication, and a counseling and behavioral therapist to help the child overcome any behavioral, emotional and psychological obstacles along the way.
Birth injuries can also be caused by medical malpractice or negligence of the attending doctor. Medical errors which may b regarded as medical malpractice actions include failure to anticipate or review the available data supporting the probability of a difficult childbirth before delivery, failure to respond immediately and properly to bleeding of the patient, failure to follow the procedures for umbilical entrapment, failure to anticipate or make an immediate decision in cases of caesarian section, misuse of delivery tools like forceps and vacuum extractor in assisting the childbirth and inappropriate use of medicines and drugs.
Moreover, birth related injuries can also be caused after delivery. These injuries can be the result of poor care and inappropriate response to the baby’s needs after childbirth such as circumcision or treatment of an infection.
Birth injuries range from the temporary to the permanent. These injuries may manifest themselves through the inability of the child to use his or her physical or mental faculties and may be short term or permanent. Common birth injuries are:
Delivery tool marks birth injury
This birth injury manifests itself through bruising on the head or the face of the baby delivered. The bruising may either be caused by the passage of the baby through the mother’s birth canal or temporary marks caused by medical tools such as forceps or a vacuum extractor. In some rare cases, improper use of the forceps can cause skull fractures and may require surgery.
Bleeding birth injury
One of the most common birth injuries of this type is bleeding in the eye, which appears as a bright red band around the baby’s iris. This birth injury is temporary and will disappear within a few days.
Another bleeding birth injury is the bleeding between a bone in the scalp and its fibrous covering. As with the above example, this bleeding usually disappears within a few months and is only temporary.
Scalp swelling birth injury
This is one of the rare effects of the use of a vacuum extractor during delivery. Same as the bleeding, this condition is only temporary and usually disappears within a week.
Paralysis birth injury
One of the paralysis birth injuries is facial paralysis, which is caused by facial nerve damage during delivery. It may be either temporary or will require surgical repair depending on the extent of the damage to the nerves.
Another example is a brachial palsy injury, which results when the group of nerves that is responsible for arm and hand control is damaged during childbirth. This usually resolves within three months or more depending on the extent of the damage to the nerves. In severe cases however, surgery or physical therapy may be required.
Fractures birth injury
Commonly a result of breech deliveries or difficult births, this birth injury typically manifests itself as a clavicle bone fracture and is only a temporary injury.
Brain damage or injury
This type of birth injury is caused by oxygen deprivation during childbirth. It is commonly caused by extensive blood loss, or compression or twisting of the umbilical cord. This may result in seizure disorders, cerebral palsy or mental impairment. This is typically a sever injury.
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