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Omaha Birth Injury Lawyer

Our Team Is Here to Help If Your Child Suffered Injury During Birth

The arrival of a new baby should be a joyous occasion. However, a happy moment can turn into terror when something goes wrong during childbirth and threatens the baby’s health.

When it comes to birth itself, there is a lot that parents can’t control. Everything is left in the hands of medical professionals, and we must trust they will do the best job they can to protect children from harm. But delivery is a complicated process, and sometimes babies suffer birth injuries.

A serious birth injury can mean a lifetime of difficulties and medical costs. Thankfully, most birth injuries are preventable as long as the doctor diagnoses and treats foreseeable issues during pregnancy, and makes quick and informed decisions during labor and delivery. But not all do.

There is nothing worse than knowing your child was injured by the negligence of a medical professional. If this is the case, the physician, nurse, or hospital that contributed to the injury should be accountable for the cost to treat the birth injury and give your child a rich, full life.

Serious Birth Injuries

Birth injuries are injuries to a newborn that occur when something goes wrong during labor and delivery. They tend to be caused by healthcare providers due to inattention, inexperience, or poor communication.

Some birth injuries are temporary; others can be permanent. One especially dangerous labor complication is shoulder dystocia, where a baby’s shoulder gets stuck on the mother’s pelvic bone on the way out of the birth canal. If a doctor doesn’t intervene correctly, the baby can suffer nerve damage, brain damage, or even death. Here are the serious birth injuries babies can sustain in poorly managed childbirth:

  • Brachial plexus injury: Common after a doctor tries to get a baby out of the birth canal by pulling, twisting, stretching, or otherwise manipulating the head and neck too acutely. The brachial plexus is a nerve bundle underneath the collarbone that connects the arm to the spinal cord, and it can be stretched or torn by aggressive maneuvers. Trauma to the brachial plexus can lead to:
    • Erb’s palsy: Partial paralysis of the arm, caused by damage to the upper nerves of the brachial plexus. Erb’s palsy affects the shoulder and upper arm.
    • Klumpke’s palsy: Partial paralysis of the arm, caused by damage to the lower nerves of the brachial plexus. Infants with Klumpke’s palsy have weakness or paralysis of the lower arm, wrist, and hand; and the hand usually takes on a permanent, claw-like shape.
    • Global or total brachial plexus birth palsy: The entire arm is weakened or completely paralyzed.
  • Cerebral palsy: Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the brain’s motor control area. It is a neurological disorder(s) that affects a person’s ability to move. It can develop from an infection to either the mother or infant, oxygen deprivation during labor and delivery, or simply be congenital. Cerebral palsy is a life-long condition without a cure. It isn’t always visible right after birth, but becomes more obvious further in the child’s development. Here are the common symptoms of cerebral palsy in babies:
    • Feels floppy when picked up (a sign of low muscle tone)
    • Can’t hold head up
    • Has delayed development
    • Has difficulties with feeding and swallowing
    • Uses one side of the body more often
    • Displays poor muscle control
  • Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE): This technical term means widespread brain damage. HIE usually take place when a child is deprived of oxygen for a period of time, such as during prolonged labor. HIE is also known as birth asphyxia or perinatal asphyxia. The child will likely suffer developmental delays, epilepsy, intellectual disabilities, and physical disabilities as a direct result of HIE. Immediate treatment is vital after birth to lessen the impact of the brain damage as much as possible.

Can Birth Injuries Be Prevented?

Birth injuries can happen from the use of forceps or a vacuum extractor. They can also happen from inappropriate handling of the infant or administering the incorrect medication. In many cases, birth injuries could have been prevented if medical providers took the correct steps.

Birth injuries are a relatively common occurrence. Most are minor and can be resolved quickly or naturally, such as bruises, scalp swelling, or fractures. Others are not. In order to prevent serious birth injuries, physicians should:

  • Recognize and treat maternal infections
  • Recognize and treat prolapsed umbilical cord
  • Recognize cephalopelvic disproportion (when the baby’s head is too large for the mother’s pelvis) and plan accordingly
  • Monitor fetal distress and take action immediately
  • Perform an emergency C-section if necessary
  • Use birth-assisting tools, such as forceps and vacuum extractors, only if trained to do so, and when the use of tools is appropriate for the situation
  • Use approved maneuvers in the case of shoulder dystocia

If your doctor didn’t take the necessary preventative steps to help your baby, and your baby suffered a serious birth injury, it may be a case of medical negligence.

When to Speak to an Omaha Birth Injury Attorney

If you think your baby suffered injuries due to negligence of your healthcare providers, the best thing to do is speak to an experienced Omaha medical malpractice lawyer and discuss your options.

A lawsuit can’t reverse the pain and suffering you and your child have been through, but it can help with medical payments for any injury. It may also keep another family from experiencing the same pain and frustration. Call our legal team at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. at (402) 505-8234 for a free, confidential consultation. As parents ourselves, we advocate strongly for the best interests of children.

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