Having a new baby should be a time of joy and celebration for expecting Kansas City parents.  From the initial announcement to the frantically wonderful phone calls to family and friends announcing that "it's time," the arrival of a new life should be wonderful and happy.  Unfortunately though, sometimes things go wrong.  Nothing can guarantee a completely stress free birth 100 percent of the time; however, when preventable injuries jeopardize the health or life of a newborn, the tragedy is two-fold. Some birthing injuries that are often classified as preventable are described below.

Brachial Plexus Injury

One such injury that is often preventable is Brachial Plexus Injury. During the birthing process, damage can occur to the delicate network of nerves of the infant that connect the spinal cord to the shoulders and down through the hands.  Stretching the neck and shoulder of a newborn in opposite directions can lead to a brachial plexus injury.  The symptoms of this injury may take a while to appear.  Parents may pick up on clues within days or weeks after birth.  The baby may show signs of weakness or non-movement in the upper limbs.  Other symptoms include:

In some cases healing may occur over time.  In others, the effects may be permanent.  Surgery may be necessary.  The presence of any of these symptoms should prompt a visit to the doctor.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is another condition that is sometimes caused by preventable injury. Excessive pressure on an infant during birth can cause irreversible damage.  This pressure may result from efforts by the delivery doctor to pull the baby through the birth canal.  Sometimes the use of forceps and other medical equipment to precipitate the birth can cause damage to the infant's brain.  Cerebral palsy is a permanent set of conditions that affect a child's development.  Symptoms can include moderate to severe developmental delays, vision and hearing loss, and the lack of many motor skills.  Children with cerebral palsy may never walk, talk, or crawl.  Cerebral palsy patients require lifelong medical care.

Cerebral palsy is diagnosed after a manifestation of certain symptoms.  These are often noticed when an infant fails to meet certain developmental milestones.  The onset of cerebral palsy symptoms can be a stressful, grueling time for new parents.

Breech Delivery

Babies are supposed to come out of the birth canal head first, face down.  When a baby is born feet first, the term breech delivery is used to describe the birth.  Breech births can be very dangerous and can lead to a variety of different health problems. If caught early enough in the birthing process, however, injuries from breech deliveries can be mitigated by preforming a c-section (cesarean section). In this manner, injuries sustained by an infant in a breech deliveries are sometimes classified as having been preventable.

Head Trauma and Brain Damage

Birth complications often require the intervention of a doctor and medical devices.  When too much pressure is applied to the infant's head either from medical devices or event the delivery doctor's hands-on manipulation of the baby to encourage birth, devastating effects can result.  Permanent disability or death can occur.

Infant head trauma can cause internal bleeding, skull fractures, depressed cranial bones, and brain damage.  Brain damage symptoms include:

  • Coordination and communication skills deficiencies
  • Difficulty in breathing normally
  • Dizziness and balance problems
  • Motor skill issues
  • Learning disabilities
  • Paralysis
  • Chronic pain

The unfortunate fact is that unavoidable complications can arise during what should be the most wonderful day in a new parent's life.  A birth injury can cause lifelong complications and disabilities, resulting in a reduced quality of life for the new baby.  When the problems are preventable, the tragedy seems doubly harsh for parents who realize that the birth injury did not have to happen.

Do You Think You May Have A Medical Malpractice Claim?

If you believe you may have a medical malpractice claim you need to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Please contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.