It's the last thing you want to think about when expecting a child, but birth injuries do happen. In fact, they occur at the rate of three per hour, in the U.S. Although many injuries are unavoidable, it's not always the case. While the onus is on the physician, it's helpful for expecting parents to know how the most common injuries occur before their baby is born.
There are several common injuries that occur during the birth process:
- Cerebral Palsy. A group of motor disorders affecting movement.
- Erb's Palsy. Paralysis of the upper arm muscles due to brachial plexus injury
- Klumpke's Palsy. Paralysis of the lower arm and hand muscles due to brachial plexus injury
- Facial paralysis. Injury to nerves controlling the baby's face muscles
- Caput succedaneum. Swelling of the soft tissues of the baby's scalp.
- Spinal Cord Injuries. Damage or severing of major nerves/nerve groups
The most common motor disability in childhood, cerebral palsy (CP), affects between 1.5-4 per 1,000 live births.
Cerebral Palsy: A closer look
Cerebral: Of the brain
Palsy: Lack of muscle control
According to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance and Research Foundation CP is an umbrella term that refers to a group of disorders affecting a person's ability to move. It is due to damage to the developing brain either during pregnancy or shortly after birth.
People with CP typically present with reduced muscle control, muscle movement, posture and balance. They may have impairments related to vision, hearing, speech, and learning.
CP is a life-long disability with no current cure.
Causes of cerebral palsy:
According to the Cerebral Palsy Guide, the following lapses in medical judgement can lead to cerebral palsy:
- Failing to detect infections during pregnancy
- Adverse effects from drugs or surgery
- Neglecting proper heart rate monitoring during delivery
- Not performing a medically advisable cesarean section
- Improper use of delivery instruments, such as forceps
- Failing to detect issues with the umbilical cord
- Gross mismanagement of normal delivery procedure
- Failing to treat severe jaundice in the newborn
For parents who find themselves facing the effects of a birth injury, they may feel they have little time or resources to devout to righting this wrong. In any case, if your child was injured, there is potential for significant compensation that would cover medical costs, assistive devices, accommodations, lost wages as well as compensation for physical and emotional pain and suffering.