Types of Birth Injuries FAQ

Birth injuries can be devastating for the entire family. They are most often caused during labor or as a result of problems with the delivery process. A birth injury can also be caused by problems such as an abnormally slow delivery, insufficient time for the cervix to dilate, breathing difficulties, oxygen deprivation, distress during labor, or placenta abruption.

newborn baby feet

A slow or abnormally quick delivery can have severe consequences, as the patient may be unable to get sufficient air into the lungs. Oxygen deprivation, in particular, can result in brain damage, which can prove potentially life-threatening.

What is the Difference Between Birth Injury and Birth Defects?

Although they seem like interchangeable terms, birth injuries are different from birth defects.  The damages that a child may suffer during their birthing process are referred to as birth injuries. While birth defects describe ailments that a child would be born with due to DNA and family medical history, among several other medical predispositions. 

Some of these defects can be a result of exposure to medications during pregnancy. Spina bifida, limb abnormalities, cleft palate, and several birth defects have been linked to the consumption of narcotic medications, birth control, and some particular antidepressants during the child’s development. 

The law demands that doctors inform parents about observed deformities in their child before delivery. One way to tell if your child suffered birth injury if the baby has a disability where you were expecting a fully healthy child. However, it’s not always that straightforward since the injuries can vary in severity. The damages may also be internal, like brachial plexus injury at birth, or external, so your child’s recovery would depend on how quickly they are detected.

What is Birth Trauma PTSD?

This term is also known as post-natal PTSD, and it describes the effects a mother has after experiencing a traumatic delivery. The four main symptoms of birth trauma PTSD are:

  • Re-living the traumatic events as flashbacks, nightmares, or memories you can’t seem to escape. 
  • Aversion to anything that reminds you of the traumatic event. You may not be able to say the name of the hospital or doctor, for example, because doing so causes anxiety.
  • You feel anxious, jumpy, and constantly worried something bad will happen to your child.
  • You may feel depressed, guilty, or have difficulty recalling events from the traumatic birth. 

When Can You Sue for Birth Injuries?

Lawsuits for birth injuries are usually filed when there’s some harm caused to the baby due to the physician’s lack of sufficient response towards the pregnancy complications. A lawsuit can also be filed where birth injuries are caused by the consumption of drugs prescribed by the doctor during pregnancy. The injury doesn’t always mean that the lawsuit will be a success since the court will have to decide whether the physicians failed to provide proper care for you and your child during delivery. 

Can Medical Devices Cause Birth Injuries to Mothers?

Yes. Another common birth injury during childbirth can be caused by faulty medical equipment, such as forceps, vacuum pumps, IV drips, and even epidural drips. If these medical devices malfunction during childbirth, the result can be very serious. These types of complications can cause a birth injury to mothers and can lead to a buildup of fluids or even brain damage. In some cases, a doctor makes the mistake of treating the symptoms with over-the-counter medicines instead of attending to the medical equipment itself.

Can Birth Injuries be Prevented?

Research has shown about one-third of all types of birth injuries happen due to a miscommunication between medical personnel on the health information of the patient and their family medical history. Many others are caused by negligence on the part of the medical staff, and failure to diagnose fetal distress. 

Other common errors include failure to monitor birth injuries in the mother, inadequate administration of drugs, issues with the umbilical cord, and prolonged caesarian sections. Most courts would generally rule such instances as preventable causes of birth injuries. 

There are several programs, mandated and voluntary, that hospitals are now undergoing to ensure that medical errors are better prevented during deliveries. The impact of these programs in reducing birth injuries over the years has shown to be positive.

Can Cerebral Palsy be Prevented?

Cerebral palsy describes several brain and body disorders that babies can endure during or after delivery. It can also be caused by reduced oxygen supply to the child during birth or concussion from head falls after delivery. While these disorders can be inflicted on your baby from natural occurrences or medical negligence, you can do your part to prevent cerebral palsy birth injury by protecting your baby from accidental injuries or abuse.

Are All Birth Injuries Medical Malpractice?

Not necessarily. Medical malpractice occurs when a health service provider is negligent of their duty and performs below the accepted standard of medical care. The standard of practice for doctors and other hospital workers is determined by their profession to set the customs for groups of medical professionals with similar training and experience. 

While you may not be able to prevent some medical malpractices like misdiagnosis, there’s a handful of things you can do to safeguard your child from other medical mistakes. The most important one is to ask your physician to clarify anything that strikes you as unusual. You have every right to know the full details of your delivery including the risks that you stand to face. Also, make sure to do some research on the risks linked with different delivery methods to make better-informed decisions.

Find an Expert Birth Injury Attorney in Tampa

If you or your child suffered a birth injury, we’re here to help you identify the cause and get you the compensation you deserve. We’ve served the Tampa area since 1999, and Darrigo & Diaz has more than 100 years of collective experience on-staff. We’ve successfully recovered millions for our clients. We’ll fight for you. For a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your case, contact us 24/7 by calling (813) 774-3341 to discuss your legal options right over the phone.


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