For most parents, the birth of a baby is one of the greatest days of their lives. But when something goes wrong during delivery, it can become the beginning of a nightmare that no parent or child should have to experience.
Statistics show that six out of every 1,000 babies born in the United States suffer some form of birth injury.
Those injuries can be mild, such as a scratch or a bruise, or they can be severe. Some examples of common birth injuries include:
· Fractured bones – The most common is a fractured collar bone, which typically heals once the baby is immobilized.
· Facial paralysis – This can be caused by pressure on the baby's face during birth or the use of forceps. Surgery may be necessary to repair damaged nerves.
· Erb's palsy – This condition occurs when the group of nerves that controls hand and arm movement is damaged during birth. It often happens when the baby's shoulders hinder its passage through the birth canal. In severe cases, surgery may be required.
· Cerebral palsy – This condition can occur if a baby is deprived of oxygen during birth, resulting in brain damage.
Some of these injuries can't be prevented, but other birth injuries are the result of medical malpractice.
These cases – the result of negligence on the part of a doctor, nurse, anesthesiologist or paramedic – happen more often than most health practitioners would like to admit.
"Unfortunately, negligence is all too common during delivery," says attorney Martin Sweet of legal information website THELAW.TV ( http://www.thelaw.tv )."There are a number of things that can cause birth injuries, ranging from the improper use of forceps or drugs to a failure to conduct a timely C-section."
In May 2011, a Connecticut family was awarded $58 million after a jury ruled that their obstetrician made several errors during their son's delivery in 2003. The family's attorney argued that the baby should have been delivered two days before he actually was, when the mother's embryonic fluid experienced a significant decline. The son now suffers from a serious form of cerebral palsy and will not be able to perform many daily functions on his own throughout his entire life.
"If you believe your child was injured during delivery as the result of negligence or medical malpractice, you should contact a medical malpractice lawyer immediately because you could be entitled to compensation," adds Sweet .