Having a child with specialized needs due to a birth injury can often feel overwhelming. Getting help and access to care is critically important for both the child and his/her caregivers. With the right tools and resources, these children can have an improved quality of living and have the potential to live a long and happy life. Here are some things that you should know as the parent of a child with a birth injury.

What Is
A Birth Injury?

Although labor can be intense and sometimes lengthy, it should not result in significant injury to your baby. The sad reality is, sometimes babies suffer injuries during the birthing process that should have been prevented. While the delivery process may be intense and challenging, there are circumstances where the medical provider should know when to step in and speed along the delivery for the well-being of the baby.

The more prolonged and more strenuous the delivery process, the more likely it is that you or your child will experience a birth injury or a complication from labor. Birth injuries occur any time a pregnant person or their child is harmed during their labor process.

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Common Birth Injuries Include:

Cerebral Palsy

A severe motor and coordination disorder caused by injury to the brain at and/or around the time of birth often due to lack of oxygen to the brain.

Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)

Brain damage to the newborn that occurs when the brain doesn’t receive enough oxygen, blood flow or both.

Perinatal Asphyxia

Any time during labor in which the baby experiences suboptimal or no oxygen as a result of part of the labor process. The baby is often born not breathing, blue and/or requiring resuscitation with oxygen.

Intraventricular Hemorrhage (IVH)

bleeding in the brain that occurs to the newborn. These are usually graded from 1-4 based upon the degree of bleeding

Infection (Sepsis, Meningitis)

When the mother has an intrauterine infection, called chorioamnionitis, this can result in a significant infection to the newborn including sepsis (infection of the blood stream) or meningitis (infection of the brain and spinal cord)

Injuries To The Spinal Cord

tears in surrounding muscle, fractures, or other health issues.

Caput Succedaneum

Swelling of the head of a child shortly after injury, as the result of trauma.

Cephalohematoma

When blood collects between the skull and scalp of a baby, as the result of damaged blood vessels.

Bone Fractures

Small breaks in the bone as a result of trauma.

Brachial Plexus Injuries

Injury to the group of nerves which extends from the spinal column to the shoulder, arm, and hand.

Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s palsy is a paralysis of the arm caused by injury to the upper group of the arm’s main nerves, specifically the severing of the upper trunk C5–C6 nerves.

Shoulder Dystocia

this arises when the baby’s body is prevented from delivering after the head, because the baby’s shoulder is obstructed by the mother’s pelvis.

Facial Paralysis

When part or some of a child’s face cannot move as the result of injury.

Labor-Related Hemorrhages

When the mother experiences excessive blood loss and/or the escape of blood as a result of childbirth.

What Causes Birth Injuries?

The medical cause of the birth injury typically makes a significant difference in how it is treated, the steps that may be taken to avoid a birth injury and the ultimate outcome of the baby.

Some of the more common reasons for a birth injury due to medical negligence include:

  • Delayed Delivery
  • Failure to Perform a C-Section
  • Failure To Diagnose A Health Issue
  • Preventable Birth Trauma
  • Preventable Preterm Labor
  • Improper or Insufficient Fetal Monitoring
  • Improper or Insufficient Infant Resuscitation
  • Failure To Diagnose A Health Issue
  • Improper Use of Forceps or Vacuum During Delivery
  • Injuries As A Result Of Speculum Use
  • Injuries During C-Section
  • Umbilical Cord Prolapse
  • Placental Abruption
  • Improper Medication

How Would I Know If My
Child Suffered A Birth Injury?

Birth injuries may be hard to diagnose because babies are still developing and often behave in unexpected ways. Sometimes, a developmental or milestone delay could be the result of something completely innocuous. Other times, it could be the result of a preventable injury that occured during birth. Either way, addressing concerns for infants in the early stages can make a difference in getting the right type of care and improving their quality of life.
Click here for some common signs that your baby might have suffered a birth injury include.

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Could A Birth Injury
Cause Developmental Delays?

Because birth injuries sometimes go unnoticed during infancy and/or early childhood, they can cause more serious issues in the future.

In more serious scenarios, birth injuries like lack of oxygen, paralysis, and erb’s palsy can cause long-term delays and permanent injuries. This is why it is important to get regular checkups from a trusted pediatrician and bring up any concerns you might have about your child as soon as you have them.

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Resources For Parents

Philadelphia-based Birth Injury Resources

Disability Rights Pennsylvania

Disability Rights Pennsylvania (DRP) is an independent, statewide, non-profit corporation designated as the federally-mandated protection and advocacy agency in Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia-based Birth Injury Resources

The HMS School For Children With Cerebral Palsy

HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy, located in the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia, serves school-age children and young adults through age 21 who have complex, multiple disabilities usually resulting from cerebral palsy…

Philadelphia-based Birth Injury Resources

COMHAR

Human Services in Philadelphia, Montgomery, and Northampton County, www.comhar.org, Mental Health, Children, Behavioral Health, Latino, Intellectual Disability.

Pennsylvania Resources

Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation

Call Us First Need assistive technology but not sure how you’ll pay for it? That’s our job. We know the funding resources in Pennsylvania better than anyone else, and we’ll…

Pennsylvania Resources

Variety Club Camp & Development Center

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National (USA) Resources

United Cerebral Palsy

UCP affiliates provide services and support on a community-by-community basis, serving the unique needs of people with disabilities in their region.

National (USA) Resources

The Institute For Healthcare Improvement

The IHI Open School is transforming health care education around the world with online courses in improvement, safety, and many other topics.

National (USA) Resources

FDA Office For Women’s Health

FDA Office of Women’s Health has resources to help women make healthy choices for themselves and their loved ones. Check out the women’s health resources and healthy living tips on this site.

Could My Hospital Have Caused My Child’s Birth Injury?

Unfortunately, in some instances, a medical provider may have been at fault for your baby’s injury. Any time a medical provider causes harm to one of their patients due to negligence this is referred to as medical malpractice. Although doctors and nurses don’t intentionally put anyone into harm’s way during labor, they are required to follow basic standards of care in their medical practice. If their action (or inaction) fails to meet those standards of care, it can have serious and lifelong consequences for the baby.

In any instance in which a baby is injured during labor, it is important ensure your child is getting appropriate medical care and to seek the input and recommendations of a qualified pediatrician and pediatric specialists. They may be able to tell you more about your baby’s injury and how it was caused, as well as letting you know your options for your child’s future care needs.

In addition to ensuring your child is in the hands of appropriate medical professionals, be sure to contact a qualified birth injury lawyer, like the attorneys at VSCP LAW. We will work with medical experts to explore whether your child’s injuries should have been prevented and were the result of medical negligence. If so, we will guide you through the process of pursuing a birth injury lawsuit.

Why Pursue A Birth Injury Claim?

Parents of children who have been impacted by birth injuries might be hesitant to pursue a birth injury lawsuit, especially in light of the time and responsibilities that they already have with raising a child with special needs. But it is extremely important to do so. Not only do birth injury claims hold medical providers accountable for their actions, but they also are effective in preventing these injuries from happening to other children in the future. Most importantly, a birth injury lawsuit can help to recover compensation from the medical providers at fault so that you child has the financial resources needed to address all of their care needs now and throughout their lives.

In Pennsylvania, you generally have until your child turns 20 years old to file a medical malpractice lawsuit for injuries he or she suffered at birth. Nonetheless, it is important to start the legal process as soon as possible so that you child can have the benefits of early, specialized care for their condition.

If you are a parent in Philadelphia or anywhere in Pennsylvania that suspects your child has suffered a birth injury due to medical negligence, VSCP LAW is here to help. The lawyers at VSCP LAW specialize in birth injury law and/or medical malpractice. Throughout their careers, the attorneys at VSCP LAW have helped to recover hundreds of millions of dollars for children that have suffered preventable birth injuries in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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