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When Medical Malpractice Happens During Childbirth

When an unborn baby and/or mother sustain injury during labor or delivery, it is possible that the doctor and medical staff made a mistake. Perhaps the doctor realized too late that the mother needed an emergency C-section, or a nurse administered the wrong medication dosage. There are so many ways that medical malpractice can happen during childbirth, but those are just a couple of examples.

If you or a loved one recently gave birth to a baby and either the mother and/or the child was harmed, it may be worth investigating further to see if you have a medical malpractice case against the hospital. Here are more examples of ways that a mother and her child could be wrongfully harmed during delivery:


Birth Fractures

Newborn babies may suffer from bone fractures during delivery, most commonly of the collarbone or clavicle. While in some cases these fractures may be unavoidable, but in other times, the doctor may have been able to prevent this complication if they would have pursued a C-section sooner. 


Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy

Many complications can arise when it comes to having a baby, and both the doctor and nursing staff must be very attentive to any changes during labor and delivery. If staff doesn’t monitor mother and child well enough, the baby can develop hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, in which their brain is deprived of oxygen. The consequences of lack of oxygen during birth can include damage to brain cells, epilepsy, developmental challenges, cerebral palsy, and fatality.

Caput Succedaneum

Swelling of a baby’s scalp, or otherwise referred to as caput succedaneum, is usually caused by pressure on the newborn’s head amidst a challenging or prolonged delivery, or due to poor use of a vacuum (birth-assisted tool). Parents may notice observable bruising around their newborn’s head. In most cases, the condition heals itself within a few days afterwards, assuming that no other damage was caused.

Erb’s Palsy

This condition may also be called brachial plexus birth palsy, and is an injury of the nerves that can happen if the newborn’s shoulder or neck gets extended past its capabilities during delivery. Parents may notice their baby has weakness and loss of motion in one or both arms. There are various grades to Erb’s Palsy. For some babies, their arms may recover movement and feeling. But for others, physical therapy and even surgery may be needed if there isn’t improvement within three to six months post delivery. 

Cephalohematoma

A cephalohematoma can happen if blood collects between the skin and cranial bone of the newborn, often due to overly aggressive use of a vacuum extractor. Depending on the nature of the injury, a cephalohematoma may go away without any medical care, or can develop into jaundice (yellowing of skin, mucous membranes, and whites of eyes. 

Parents of an injured newborn are encouraged to seek legal guidance if they feel like something just wasn’t right about the delivery process. An attorney, like a medical malpractice lawyer from Philadelphia, PA,  can help you dig deeper to figure out whether medical malpractice was the reason that your baby sustained injuries. 

Thank you to the experts at the Wieand Law Firm for their input into medical malpractice and the law.

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