A birth injury is defined as any type of damage caused to an infant's body before, during or shortly after birth. Damage can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent and can be serious enough to cause the death of the infant. Birth injury is most often caused by induced or operative delivery.
Injury to an infant during the birth process can have many causes. Insufficient supply of oxygen (fetal hypoxia), inadequate blood supply to the infant's brain (brain ischemia), improper use of instruments to deliver the infant (forceps, vacuum extractor), failure to perform an indicated cesarean section (fetal distress, cephalopelvic disproportion, abnormal labor), undiagnosed conditions during the pregnancy (gestational diabetes, placenta previa), excessive use of force during delivery and the injudicious use of pitocin or any other uterotonic agent (prostaglandin), delay in performing an indicated cesarean section.
Failure to assess and properly diagnose conditions requiring treatment or incompatible with a normal life.
Failure to diagnose hydrocephaly
Failure to diagnose polyhydramnios
Failure to diagnose olygohydramnios
Failure to diagnose genetic abnormality
Failed genetic counseling
Failure to anticipate macrosomia
During birth: Main causes of injury at birth are oxygen deprivation and mechanical trauma. The outcome:
Brachial plexus palsy
Vacuum extraction delivery
Injury to an infant can occur before the mother enters the process of labor or during labor and delivery. Pregnancy complications quite often start during the third trimester of pregnancy in the absence of uterine contractility and without the mother experiencing any labor at all. Some of the early signs of an infant requiring special assessment include:
Decreased fetal movement
Fetal size smaller than dates of gestation
Post-dates (gestation longer than 41 weeks)
Unusual position in utero
Early detection of an infant injured as a result of obstetrical mismanagement include seizures within days of birth, inability to move extremities, failure to thrive. Birth asphyxia is the result of cerebral hypoxia that results when the supply of oxygen to the unborn child is reduced below acceptable levels. Cerebral hypoxia is also known as fetal hypoxia or fetal distress. In order to diagnose fetal distress, the mother and infant must be monitored before and during labor.
Most families simply don't have the financial resources to cover all the expenses associated with caring for an injured child over his or her lifetime. If the child's injury was diagnosable, avoidable or preventable, or plainly resulted from a medical provider's mistake in handling an obstetrical condition, the parents and the child are entitled to receive compensation. If your child's condition was the result of medical negligence, we can help you assert your rights and get the compensation you deserve. Allow Dr. Borten and the Boston area medical malpractice attorneys at Gorovitz & Borten evaluate your case.
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