Six Types of Birth Injuries Caused by Dystocia and Medical Negligence (carelessness)

birth injuryProlonged labor, also known as dystocia, refers to a labor process that is longer than usual due to various factors. Prolonged labor can pose significant risks to both the mother and the baby, leading to various birth injuries if not managed promptly and appropriately by healthcare professionals. Understanding the types of birth injuries that can result from prolonged labor is crucial for timely recognition, intervention, and prevention.

Here are the six most common types of birth injuries that can occur from medical negligence (carelessness) during prolonged labor:

1. Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)

This is a severe birth injury resulting from a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the baby’s brain during labor and delivery. Prolonged labor can lead to fetal distress, which may compromise the baby’s oxygen supply and result in HIE. Symptoms of HIE include seizures, lethargy, poor feeding, and abnormal muscle tone. In severe cases, HIE can cause permanent brain damage, cognitive impairments, developmental delays, cerebral palsy, or even death. Early recognition and intervention, such as resuscitation and hypothermia therapy, are crucial to minimizing the long-term effects of HIE.

2. Brachial Plexus Palsy or Erb’s Palsy

Brachial plexus palsy or Erb’s palsy is another common birth injury associated with prolonged or difficult labor. The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that control movement and sensation in the arms and hands. During a difficult delivery, excessive stretching or pulling of the baby’s shoulder or neck by medical professionals can damage these nerves, leading to weakness or paralysis in the affected arm. Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy are two types of brachial plexus injuries that can result from birth trauma. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and, in severe cases, surgical intervention may be required to restore function and mobility in the affected arm.

3. Cerebral Palsy

Prolonged labor can be a significant risk factor for cerebral palsy, a neurological disorder that affects movement, muscle tone, and posture. During prolonged labor, the baby may experience periods of oxygen deprivation, known as hypoxia, due to reduced blood flow and oxygen supply to the brain. This lack of oxygen can lead to brain damage, particularly in the areas of the brain that control movement and motor function, resulting in cerebral palsy. Early recognition and timely intervention are crucial in managing prolonged labor to minimize the risk of oxygen deprivation and subsequent brain injury.

4. Fractures and Bone Injuries

Fractures or broken bones can occur during prolonged or difficult deliveries, particularly if excessive force is used by the medical staff to deliver the baby. The clavicle (collarbone) is the most commonly fractured bone during childbirth, but other bones such as the skull, arm bones, or collarbone can also be affected. While most fractures heal with time and proper medical care, some may require immobilization, casting, or surgical intervention. Careful handling and appropriate techniques during delivery by the doctor/hospital is essential to prevent fractures and bone injuries in newborns.

5. Facial Nerve Injuries

These injuries can occur during prolonged or difficult deliveries when excessive pressure is applied to the baby’s face or head. Damage to the facial nerve can result in facial paralysis or weakness, affecting the baby’s ability to blink, smile, or make facial expressions. Facial nerve injuries may require physical therapy or surgical intervention to restore normal function.

6. Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (MAS)

Meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS) is a respiratory disorder that can occur when a newborn inhales meconium (the baby’s first stool) during or before delivery. Prolonged labor and fetal distress can increase the risk of meconium passage into the amniotic fluid, leading to MAS. Symptoms of MAS include rapid or labored breathing, cyanosis (blue discoloration of the skin), and poor feeding. Prompt recognition and intervention, such as suctioning the baby’s airways and providing respiratory support, are crucial to managing MAS and preventing further complications.

Contacting an Experienced Lawyer

The costs of caring for a child with such birth injuries can add up very quickly. If your child’s injury was caused by medical negligence (carelessness), you may be able to seek compensation for damages including loss of earnings, medical expenses, cost of hospitalization, ongoing treatment and therapies, psychological counseling, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc.

The experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you. One of our clients secured a $2,850,000 verdict that was reduced by the appeals court to $1,846,000 because the verdict was so large. This was the highest amount upheld by the appellate (appeals) courts for many, many years. In addition we recovered $1,400,000 for a newborn who lost motion in the arm during birth due to doctors applying incorrect force on the baby’s head. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.

We have seen cases where New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation facilities deliver babies who are born with cerebral palsy or brachial plexus palsy (Erb’s palsy) stemming from negligence (carelessness), and/or medical malpractice in the labor and delivery etc. of the children.

The following list identifies some of these hospitals (operated by New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation):

• Jacobi Hospital aka Bronx Municipal 1400 Pelham Parkway South Bronx, New York 10461 718-918-5000
• Lincoln Hospital 234 East 149th Street Bronx, New York 10451 718-579-5000
• North Central Bronx Hospital 3424 Kossuth Avenue Bronx, New York 10467 718-519-5000
• Coney Island Hospital 2601 Ocean Parkway Brooklyn, New York 11235 718-616-3000
• Kings County Hospital 451 Clarkson Avenue Brooklyn, New York 11203 718-245-3131
• Woodhull Hospital 760 Broadway Brooklyn, New York 11206 718-963-8000
• Bellevue Hospital 462 First Avenue New York, New York 10016 212-562-5555
• Harlem Hospital 506 Lenox Avenue New York, New York 10037 212-939-1000
• Metropolitan Hospital 1901 First Avenue New York, New York 10029 212-423-6262
• Elmhurst Hospital 79-01 Broadway Elmhurst, New York 11373 718-334-4000
• Queens Hospital Center 82-68 164th Street Jamaica, New York 11432 718-883-3000

Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury, lead poisoning and medical malpractice cases including, brachial plexus palsy (Erb’s palsy) and cerebral palsy cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.

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