Medical Malpractice And Birth -- Know the Signs of Birth Injury
If your baby was just born, you may not yet know whether your baby suffered physical injury or brain damage during your pregnancy or birth. To help you determine whether your baby suffered a birth injury, here are some signs to look for that may indicate birth-related physical injury or brain damage:
- Seizures: Seizure activity in newborns is totally abnormal may indicate birth-related brain injury/brain damage;
- Cerebral Palsy: Cerebral Palsy is a brain injury that can result from lack of oxygen to your baby's brain during the birthing process. Cerebral Palsy can be an indication that your baby suffered a serious brain injury during birth;
- Abnormal muscle flaccidity: Abnormal muscle flaccidity or weakness is called hypotonia. If your baby's arms or legs seem unusually weak or limp, this may be a sign of Cerebral Palsy or some other birth-related brain injury;
- Abnormal muscle rigidity: Abnormal muscle rigidity is called hypertonia. If your baby's arms or legs seem unusually hard and rigid, this may be a sign of Cerebral Palsy or some other birth-related brain injury;
- Delayed development: Any delays in your baby's early development may be indicative of birth-related brain injury/brain damage;
- Bruising and/or forceps marks on the face or head: These may indicate that a higher than acceptable level of force was used to deliver your baby;
- Bright red banding around the iris of one or both eyes: These bands are called subconjunctival hemorrhages and may indicate that a higher than acceptable level of force was used to deliver your baby;
- Swelling of the baby's scalp: This is called caput succedaneum, and may indicate that a higher than acceptable level of force was used in the vacuum extraction of your baby;
- Facial paralysis: May indicate that too much force was used in the delivery of your baby;
- Arm, hand, or shoulder dysfunction: May be the result of birth injury to the nerves that go from the spinal cord to the shoulders, arms and hands. These injuries are often called Erb's Palsy and Klumpke's Palsy, and typically result from shoulder dystocia during birth, a condition in which the baby's shoulder gets stuck on the mother's pubic bone in the birth canal;
- Fractured bones: Obviously, bones are not supposed to be fractured during birth. The most common bones broken during birth are the clavicle, femur, and the skull. A fractured bone can be an indication that too much forth was used in the delivery of your baby;
- Cephalohematoma: This is an area of bleeding underneath one of the cranial bones. It often appears several hours after birth as a raised lump on your baby's head. It is caused by bleeding within the membrane that covers the outside of the cranial bones. This condition may indicate that too much force was used to deliver your baby. If the area of bleeding is large, your baby may develop jaundice as the red blood cells break down.
If your baby has any of these recognized signs of possible birth injury, you should inform your baby's doctor as soon as possible. You should also consider calling a lawyer experienced in medical malpractice birth injury cases.