A birth injury can occur before, during, and/or immediately after childbirth. A parent might suspect that a child who fails to hit developmental milestones has failed due to a birth injury. Or perhaps there’s a medical condition that can be traced to trauma during delivery. The best course of action, when a parent has such concerns, is to contact a birth injury lawyer in Philadelphia. Your birth injury medical malpractice attorney can help you understand whether your child’s deficits or problems may be related to a neonatal injury and whether you have a valid birth-related medical malpractice claim.

How do you know if your child suffered a birth injury? This article examines what could have caused the birth injury as well as the major signs of a birth injury.  

Brain Injury

The brain is one of the most delicate organs during childbirth. It is also the most important organ in a person’s body because it controls bodily functions as well as cognitive

processing. Thus, birth injuries resulting in brain damage can be the most devastating of any birth injury. There are a variety of brain injuries including hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE or, also, perinatal asphyxia), brain bleeds (hemorrhages or hematomas), periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), kernicterus, cerebral palsy, caput succedaneum, and hydrocephalus. Many of these are caused by hypoxia or a lack of oxygen in the blood.

Major signs of brain injury include physical symptoms such as headaches and seizures; sensory symptoms such as sensitivity to loud noise, bright lights, and vision problems; cognitive symptoms such as executive functioning deficits, memory problems, and inability to form age-appropriate thoughts and conclusions; speech symptoms such as difficulty communicating, enunciating, or speaking at all; and behavioral and emotional symptoms such as anxiety, disinhibition, poor regulation of impulses, and depression.

Baby Born Blue

Sometimes after birth, a baby will appear to be blue in color. This blue skin tone is due to a lack of sufficient oxygen to support healthy red blood cells. (Blood cells are only red when they have

enough oxygen.)  If the appearance of blue skin remains for several minutes after the birth, this could be indicative of a serious medical problem.

A baby could be born blue because of issues during the labor and delivery that were not managed by their healthcare team. 

Major signs of a child who had insufficient oxygen in their blood include developmental delays, cognitive deficits, and serious and possibly life-threatening heart and lung problems.

Erb’s Palsy and Brachial Plexus

The brachial plexus is a series of nerves near the neck that provide movement and feeling to the shoulder, arm, and hand. Erb’s palsy describes the weakness and loss of motion in these body parts. Erb’s palsy is the most common type of brachial plexus palsy. This physical injury can result from difficult deliveries, such as with a large baby or where the baby was in a breech position. The injury can also result from a prolonged or delayed labor — or when the person assisting the delivery exerts excessive force in pulling the baby from the birth canal. 

Major signs of a brachial plexus injury include the following issues in the child’s arm, wrist, or hand: numbness, tingling, discomfort, pain, limpness, or paralysis (meaning, the child cannot move the arm, wrist, or hand at all). 

Birth injuries can be tragic, but parents of children who suffered birth injuries are not without legal options. If you believe your child suffered a birth injury, contact the Birth Injury Lawyer in Philadelphia at VSCP Law.