5 birth injuries that may be attributed to medical staff errors

Negligence on the part of hospital staff during the birthing process may lead to permanent disability and damage for the child.

There is nothing more exciting for a couple in Los Angeles than finding out they are going to have a baby. The decorating of the nursery, baby showers and attending birthing classes are all part of the build-up leading to the big day. However, a couple's joy can turn to despair and anger when an error occurs during the birth that leaves their baby permanently disabled.

This is what happened to one couple in another state according to Courthouse News. The father claims that medical staff failed to perform a Cesarean section after complications arose during the vaginal delivery. Doctors also allegedly did not monitor the baby's prenatal heart rate and it was these errors that led to a loss of oxygen which caused seizures and severe brain damage. As a result, the father is asking for $27.25 million in damages.

When it may be the doctor's fault

It can be difficult for new parents to determine whether the injury their child has suffered is a result of the regular birth process or mistakes made by hospital staff. The Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford points out that injuries can occur during delivery due to the use of forceps, whether the baby is premature, a difficult or prolonged labor, a breech delivery or if the baby is larger.

The hospital points out that most injuries caused by these factors often clear up within a matter of days, weeks or a few months. However, injuries caused by negligent staff can be much more serious and permanent. Birth injuries that may be attributed to medical errors include the following:

  • Brain damage - this can occur when oxygen is cut off to a part of the baby's brain. Medical staff should be monitoring the baby at all times during birth and act immediately if oxygen flow is interrupted.
  • Spinal cord injuries - If doctors are not careful, they can permanently damage a baby's nerve cord while using forceps. This type of injury may leave the child paralyzed.
  • Cerebral palsy - this may be an outcome for a baby who suffered brain damage due to hospital negligence. It is defined by the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research as a disorder caused by an immature developing brain, which may cause problems with movement, eye muscle balance, and swallowing.
  • Perinatal Asphyxia - According to Johns Hopkins Children's Center, children whose oxygen intake decreases may develop this condition. This can lead to seizures, organ system issues, coma and severe neurologic problems.

Additionally, doctors who are too rough as they extract the child during birth may cause birth related brachial plexus palsy. There are two types of injuries that can occur and these are Erbs palsy or Klumpke's palsy. Severe conditions can cause loss of motion in the child's hand, wrist or upper arm and shoulder.

Diagnosing a birth injury can be tricky for people in Los Angeles. If parents suspect that their child's condition could have been prevented, they may find it helpful to speak with an attorney.