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What to expect with birth injuries

Not all birth injuries are defects, and it's important to understand the difference before you speak with your attorney about the injuries your child has suffered. For example, a birth injury like a broken collarbone can be a result of a difficult labor or passage through the birth canal, but that doesn't necessarily mean any negligence has taken place. The truth is that many newborns have injuries that they suffer from the birthing process.

It's not particularly common for nerves to be damaged or bones to be broken, but it's not unheard of. In most cases, these are expected injuries and can be treated easily or require no treatment at all.

If the birth canal is too small for the baby, then a birth injury can be more likely. In some cases, serious birth injuries could result. A medical provider should know when a baby will not be able to pass through the birth canal safely or when he or she is struggling for another reason. Knowing there is a problem helps the medical team determine the best way to deliver the baby safely for both mother and son or daughter.

Some possible injuries your child could suffer include anemia, jaundice, or minor broken bones. These are expected in some cases or, at the very least, are recognized as injuries newborns may suffer from naturally. Injuries like hypoxia leading to brain damage or sepsis may be able to be identified before the injury becomes severe, and doctors should be making sure the child doesn't go without treatment if these injuries occur.

Source: Merck Manuals, "Birth Injury," Arthur E. Kopelman, MD, accessed March 02, 2016

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