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Understanding birth injuries and defects and their causes

Finding out that you are going to have a baby is an exciting time. And, as the baby's due date nears, parents are very anxious about meeting their little one. While this is a joyous time, certain events could disrupt and impact this momentous event. If medical errors occur during the birthing process, a newborn or even the mother could suffer serious injuries. A birth injury could impact a newborn temporarily or for the rest of his or her life, making a serious incident. Parents should be sure to understand their rights in this matter and what they can do to protect their rights and the rights of their baby.

Out of every 1,000 babies born in the U.S., six to eight are born with a birth injury. In other terms, this means that around one in every 9,714 people are born with some type or form of a birth injury. Additionally, it is found that roughly 28,000 infants are born with birth defects each year, which could be the result of medical negligence during a mother's pregnancy.

While some birth injuries and defects cannot be prevented, some are clearly a result of medical errors. They could be caused by a doctor's failure to properly diagnose, evaluate or even treat a medical condition occurring during pregnancy or at birth, making a prescription drug error during pregnancy or at birth or the improper use of medical devices, such as a vacuum or forceps, during labor and delivery.

Birth injuries and defects could come in many forms; however, some are more common than others. An infant could suffer Cerebral Palsy, which is caused by the abnormal development of the brain or a brain injury during pregnancy or childbirth. Cerebral palsy affects muscle movement; however, it may not be apparent that a child has it until he or she is around 3 years old. Common causes are trauma to the fetal head, difficulties during labor, exposure to chemicals or infections during pregnancy or insufficient oxygen during labor.

Complications can arise during labor and delivery, and if a medical professional does not use the right tools to aid the process, this could result in irreversible harm to the baby. An assisted birth could result in muscle, nerve or bone injuries. Common birth injuries with these effects are physical disabilities, disfigurement, Brachial Plexus, Erb's Palsy and spinal cord injuries.

Parent should understand what happened and what legal recourses are available. A medical malpractice suit can hold a negligent medical provider liable while also helping with the collection of compensation for losses and damages.

Source: Birthinjuryguide.org, "Birth Injury Statistics," accessed July 16, 2017

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