Common Causes of Birth Injuries
The last thing any woman thinks about when she is about to give birth is the possibility that her baby will be injured during the hospital delivery process. Yet injuries occur during at least 2 percent of live births each year in the United States, and they can lead to expensive and sometimes life-threatening conditions, including broken bones, permanent nerve damage, emotional and cognitive impairment, and cerebral palsy.
Natural Risk Factors for Birth Injury
Some conditions increase an infant’s chances of being injured. They are:
- A birth weight over 8 pounds, 13 ounces.
- Premature labor.
- An unusually shaped uterus.
- Difficult or prolonged labor.
- An abnormal fetal position at the time of delivery.
A physician or nurse should discuss these risk factors, as well as what measures the hospital will take to compensate for them, prior to any procedure.
Birth injuries can also result from poor communication between the physician and the hospital staff. When accurate information is not given to everyone involved in the delivery, it is more likely that someone will fail to follow the established protocol for that case. The result can lead to complications, increasing the chance of oxygen deprivation or physical trauma.
Lack of proper training in the use of medical equipment is another common cause of birth injury. Doctors and nurses need to be able to read fetal monitor strips accurately in order to check small changes in the infant’s health during labor and delivery, and staff must have complete knowledge of the steps to follow in any given scenario.
Failure to Administer Routine Monitoring
Some doctors and clinics fail to perform an ultrasound or other routine test prior to delivery. In some cases, this oversight stems from poor communication; other times, the necessary equipment is simply not available. A failure to perform these tests can lead doctors and nurses to fail to recognize risk factors until too late, causing delays and increasing the chance of injury.
For help understanding your rights after a birth injury or other accident, contact Mellino Law Firm to schedule a free consultation.