Some babies experience troubled births, requiring doctors to step in and perform emergency medical procedures to protect the child and mother. Negligent doctors may injure newborns, and parents deserve to know how to tell the difference between healthy birth and a preventable birth injury.
Stanford Children’s Health explains common birth injuries. Getting the facts on birth trauma helps questioning parents recognize when they could have a legal claim to pursue.
When medical professionals have trouble guiding a baby’s shoulder from the birth canal, they may injure nerves in the hands and arms. Brachial palsy could rob a newborn of the ability to pivot or flex the injured arm. Depending on whether the birth injury causes inflammation and bruising, the baby could regain use of the affected arm in a few months.
Caused by inflamed soft tissues in the scalp, caput succedaneum occurs when babies emerge through the birth canal and experience bruising. Babies delivered with help from vacuum extraction have a higher chance of experiencing the injury, which usually clears in a few days.
Forceps marks or bruising
While newborns could experience bruising around the head and face during birth naturally, they may develop bruising or similar marks if the medical team uses vacuum extraction or forceps during the birth.
Forceps pressure exerted on a newborn’s face during birth or labor could traumatize facial nerves. Parents may not notice their baby’s facial paralysis until she or he cries and one side of her or his face remains motionless and the baby only closes a single eye. The child’s condition could improve in a few weeks, or the baby may need surgery.
Parents must recognize when negligent doctors harm their babies. Understanding the signs of birth trauma may keep innocent parties from paying for someone else’s negligence.