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Causes of Birth Injuries

Rhode Island Lawyers Representing Birth Injury Victims Since 1975

While the birth of a child is a time of great happiness, it can bring stress and hardship to a family even in the smoothest cases. Parents often expect to be met with a learning curve and unpredictable expenses, especially when raising their first child. However, unexpected hardship can occur if the actions of a negligent doctor or the use of faulty medical equipment cause injury to the newborn or mother during the birthing process.

At Decof, Barry, Mega & Quinn, P.C., our attorneys are passionate about seeking justice for victims of birth injuries. While we cannot guarantee that our clients will win their case, our dedication and legal skills are evidenced by the multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements we’ve achieved for previous clients with birth injury claims. We intend to do the same for you and your family.

Common Causes of Birth Injuries

Unfortunately, a child and mother can be wrongfully subjected to a multitude of birth injuries. Despite the years of education one must undergo to become a doctor, nurse, or midwife, sometimes these healthcare professionals are negligent or their equipment faulty. The results can be immensely life-altering and life-threatening to a newborn and their family.

The most common causes of negligent birth injuries include the following:

  • Extended labor
  • Failure to recognize and address a breech birth
  • Faulty medical tools
  • Improper handling of shoulder dystocia
  • Insufficient monitoring of the infant or mother
  • Misuse of medical tools
  • Oxygen deprivation

Common Birth Injuries

The exact cause of the birth injury suffered may seem unclear, and you might be wondering whether an injury was truly caused by the fault of another.

For reference, the most common birth injuries caused by negligent practices or faulty medical tools are:

  • Broken or fractured bones: Sometimes, a broken bone could be a birth defect; other times, it could be the result of improper birthing techniques, such as if a doctor attempts to perform a natural birth when they should have noticed the baby was too large to pass through the birth canal without issue. Some other causes include extended labors, failure to recognize and address a breech birth, and shoulder dystocia (when the infant is lodged behind the pubic bone).
  • Brachial plexus damage and Erb’s palsy: The brachial plexus is composed of the nerves that move the arm and hand. Often, this happens when shoulder dystocia is improperly handled. If a medical practitioner is diligent and careful, they can save the baby from any harm caused by this situation. On the other hand, if a doctor pulls too hard on the baby to dislodge them from their stuck position, their brachial plexus could be damaged, leading to a weakened or paralyzed arm or shoulder. This paralysis is also known as Erb’s palsy.
  • Cerebral palsy: One of the most common birth injuries due to medical malpractice is cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects both body movement and muscle coordination. Symptoms also include learning disabilities and vision, hearing, and speech impairments. If a medical professional fails to properly monitor the child during labor or attempts inadequate birthing techniques, the result could be a child born with cerebral palsy. Usually, symptoms appear in infancy or early childhood.
  • Cranial nerve damage: Right behind the brachial plexus, cranial nerves are the second most vulnerable nerves during childbirth. Damage happens either when an overbearing amount of pressure is placed on the infant’s face during birth or from the improper use of medical tools, such as forceps or vacuums. A faulty medical tool could also be the culprit. If damage occurs, the face could be partially or fully paralyzed.
  • Death of the infant or mother: This may seem like a tragedy of the past, but in 2018, USA TODAY found that more than 700 mothers die due to childbirth every year in the United States. They further found that half of these tragic deaths could have been prevented by proper medical practices. Improper monitoring of the infant or mother during labor and after birth, malpractice during a cesarean section, and postpartum hemorrhage that goes unaddressed can all lead to the death of an infant or their mother.

Seeking Justice for a Birth Injury

If you or a loved one was subjected to a preventable birth injury and are now facing health complications or loss because of it, you could be compensated for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. While we at Decof, Barry, Mega & Quinn, P.C. understand that no amount of money can make up for an unquantifiable tragedy such as a birth injury, financial compensation can help a victim get back on their feet. Similarly, bringing the case to court can prevent the at-fault party from continuing their negligent practices, thus saving countless other families from being hit with the same misfortune.

To discuss your case with a Rhode Island birth injury attorney, call Decof, Barry, Mega & Quinn, P.C. at (401) 200-4059 or contact us via our online message form.