Shoulder Dystocia and Other Birth Injuries Related to Malpractice

For expecting parents, both in Oregon and around the world, nothing is more exciting than the birth of a child. While this is a joyful occasion for many Oregon parents each year, some experience a mix of emotions when their babies are injured during birth.

Common injuries include: nerve damage, broken bones, cerebral palsy and shoulder dystocia. Many birth injuries can be avoided or prevented, so investigation by an Oregon medical malpractice attorney could show that negligence was a factor in a baby’s birth injury.

Birth Injuries

In the U.S., six out of every 1,000 babies each year sustain some type of injury during birth. While many birth injuries can be as mild as a bruise or scratch, some are more serious. Babies may suffer broken bones, like their collar bone. Cerebral palsy and other forms of brain damage can result from a loss of oxygen during birth. Common birth injuries also include nerve damage, which can lead to issues like facial paralysis and Erb’s palsy, a specific condition that develops when shoulder dystocia occurs and harms certain nerves.

Shoulder Dystocia

Typically during birth, a baby’s shoulders and body follow immediately after the head is delivered. However, sometimes the chin and shoulder may be squeezed between the birth canal walls and become stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone. This causes shoulder dystocia, and can damage the baby’s nerves in the neck that control hand and arm movement. When this happens, Erb’s palsy, a long-term medical condition that makes one arm weak or paralyzed, can result and the baby may need surgery or therapy to correct it.

Negligent Causes

Many birth injuries are caused by the negligent actions, or inaction, of medical professionals. Failing to notice and correct a baby’s head position or breathing obstructions, like when the cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck, can lead to a loss of oxygen and brain damage or cerebral palsy. The misuse of forceps or suction tools can cause nerve damage and other birth injuries. Waiting too long to perform a C-section or other maneuver can also lead to injuries or death.

Malpractice Liability

It is the responsibility of each medical professional in a delivery room to watch and listen for problems before and during the birth of a baby. Even when emergency actions are required, care should be taken to deliver a baby without injury or harm.

Negligent medical providers should be held accountable for actions which may cause a life-long medical condition. If you are an Oregon parent and you recently experienced a delivery where your baby was injured, contact an Oregon medical malpractice attorney near you to discuss your legal rights and options.