• Thursday, 06 June 2019

Taking Action Following A Birth Injury

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One of the most memorable moments for parents is the birth of a child, but birth injuries during labour and delivery can lead to death. According to the most recent data from Statistics Canada, 1,309 infants died within 27 days of their birth while others may be left with severe, long-term effects. Most births in Canada take place without incident, but it is important for parents to know the types of birth injuries that could occur and how to recognize each of them.

Difference between birth injury and birth defect

Birth injury is a direct result of something occurring during labour or delivery process, including the following:

  • Pulling on or improper manipulation of the infant usually done to reposition it during delivery. Forceps and vacuum extraction are common methods used to turn or manipulate the position of the infant.
  • Errors in prescribing mediations during labour.
  • Failing to properly monitor the infant’s vital signs, including heart rate, during labour and delivery process to identify signs of distress and take appropriate corrective measures.
  • Allowing labour to continue too long without resorting to alternatives, including cesarean section. For example, placental bleeding that is left undetected by the physician and medical staff during labour could cause a delay in ordering a caesarian section.

Negligence or improper medical care by physicians and other medical professionals during labour and delivery could cause an injury to the child. Unlike birth injuries, birth defects develop during pregnancy as the fetus develops in the womb and prior to the birthing process.

Common types of birth injuries

The types of injuries that may occur during labour and delivery depend upon the circumstances related to the birth, the skill of the physicians and other factors unique to each birth. Some common birth injuries include:

  • Cerebral palsy: Trauma to the brain and oxygen deprivation are two injuries that can cause an infant to be born with impaired brain and nervous system function known as cerebral palsy. Problems associated with the umbilical cord left undetected and untreated by a doctor during labour and delivery can deprive the child of oxygen.
  • Brachial plexus injury: BPI is damage to nerves in an infant’s neck or chest and could be caused by improper use of forceps by a doctor during delivery. The effects of the injury could be mild or severe depending upon the extent of damage to the nerves. In the most serious BPI cases, the result could be paralysis.
  • Hypoxia: This is a decrease in the amount of oxygen to an unborn child’s brain that can cause physical and developmental disorder unless quickly diagnosed and corrected. The umbilical cord is a common cause of an infant being deprived of oxygen during labour, but hypoxia can also be caused by damage to the placenta.

Birth injuries caused by negligent medical care can be difficult for parents to identify on their own. A personal injury lawyer experienced in handling claims for birth defects has the knowledge and skill to review medical records related to the birth to determine if negligent care by doctors and medical staff caused the injury. A lawyer provides a valued resource for legal advice and guidance to help parents decide on the best course of action to follow in presenting their claim for damages.

Ontario birth injury lawyers

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond have years of experience successfully handling medical malpractice and birth injury claims for families throughout Ontario. Call the Diamond and Diamond 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now. We have offices located throughout Ontario offering free consultations and case evaluations to injury victims and their families.

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