harrowing birth injuries statistics 6 in 1000 babies injured

It seems as though the list of things that can go wrong during pregnancy and childbirth is endless. In light of this fact, mothers do what they can to protect their children. Many mothers take special care to eat right and get enough exercise, and often take prenatal vitamins or medication to prevent known risks. Most mothers also trust their doctors to help them ensure their child is born healthy and without injury.

Sadly, even when mothers do everything they should to ensure the safe delivery of their babies, a serious error before or during birth can still risk the health and lives of innocent children. When doctors make mistakes, it can lead to serious or fatal birth injuries. In some situations, the injuries are relatively minor, such as a bruise or a scratch. In other situations, a doctor’s negligence can lead to permanent disabilities or death.

Think this epidemic won’t impact you? Think again. Six out of every 1,000 babies born in the United States suffer some sort of birth injury.

Fractured bones

Broken or fractured bones are one of the most common birth injuries. Fractured collar bones in particular may occur during a difficult delivery — or a delivery in which the doctor does not pay enough attention to the baby’s position or exerts too much force. Though these fractures usually heal well, babies with fractured collar bones may need to be immobilized, which can be a traumatic experience for the infant and the parents alike.

Facial paralysis

When a doctor uses forceps incorrectly or when there are other sources of pressure on a baby’s face, he or she may suffer from facial paralysis. In many situations, babies born with facial paralysis need surgery to repair the damaged nerves.

Erb’s palsy

A baby may suffer from Erb’s palsy when the group of nerves that control the hand and arm movement is damaged during birth. Erb’s palsy is often caused when a baby’s shoulders hinder its passage through the birth canal. Babies who are born with Erb’s palsy often suffer permanent arm damage.

Hypoxic brain injury

If a baby is deprived of oxygen during birth, he or she may suffer a hypoxic or anoxic brain injury, which can be devastating or even fatal. This is one reason why doctors should always pay extremely close attention to any sign of fetal distress or another symptoms that might indicate a problem with the flow of oxygen to a baby’s brain. If doctors ignore those signs, children may suffer from permanent brain damage and cerebral palsy.

Who is to blame?

In some situations, even when the doctor does everything correctly, a child is born with an injury. But unfortunately, birth injuries are often caused by the negligence of the health care professionals who are responsible for delivering the baby.

Some parents have to file medical malpractice claims in order to receive the compensation they need to help cover their child’s lifetime of expensive medical treatment. But financial support is never enough. When doctors cause birth injuries, they permanently change the lives of families. One parent may need to quit his or her job to offer fulltime support to a disabled child. Other parents are forced into permanent financial struggles.

A medical malpractice award is a good start, but when the problem could have been avoided entirely if a doctor had acted within the realm of acceptable professional standards, nothing can appropriately compensate victims.

Source: NEWS 4 Jax.com, “How medical malpractice leads to birth injuries,” Ed Greenberger, Jan. 11, 2012

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