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Medical Malpractice and Common Birth Injuries

Birth injuries and birth trauma are terms that usually refer to injuries that a baby suffers from due to complications throughout labor and delivery. Not all birth injuries result from medical malpractice. Whether it is from medical malpractice or not, when a baby suffers from a birth injury, they can have long-term complications and severe distress. Birth injuries can be anywhere from mild to severe and can range from small bruises to brain damage. Most birth injuries are not caused from medical malpractice. However, working with an experienced lawyer if you are concerned of medical malpractice can help you evaluate your specific incident.

Common Birth Injuries

  • Bruising and Marks from Forceps

  • Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

  • Severe swelling of the baby’s scalp

  • Bleeding between a baby’s bone and the fibrous covering

  • Facial Paralysis

  • Klumpke’s Palsy and Erb’s Palsy

  • Fractured Bones

  • Brain Injury

Causes of Birth Injuries

During a difficult delivery, birth injuries are much more common. Factors that affect how difficult a delivery will be include:

  • The size of the baby

  • Size and shape of mother’s pelvis does not work to deliver baby vaginally

  • Prolonged labor

  • The position of the baby

If a mother experienced complications during any of her births, it is important to make her doctors aware of this for any complications that could occur during future births.

Medical Malpractice

An error made by a medical professional can cause birth injuries, in addition to these errors increasing how severe or permanent an injury is. If a healthcare provider causes a patient to suffer from an injury due to their negligence, the patient can create a claim for damages based on medical malpractice.

Errors that could be considered medical malpractice include

  • Failure to react to bleeding appropriately

  • Delaying ordering a cesarean section when it is needed

  • Failure to recognize fetal distress

  • Failure to recognize birth complications

  • Failure to notice or respond to problems with the umbilical cord

  • Improper use of vacuum extractors or forceps

  • Administering Pitocin inappropriately

How to Prove Medical Malpractice

In order to have a strong medical malpractice case for a birth injury, it is important to be able to prove the following:

  • There was a relationship between the child and the healthcare provider

  • The healthcare provider violated providing the proper standard of care when providing care to the child

  • Due to neglecting the standard of care, the child became injured

  • Due to the injury, the child suffered from an injury

Many birth injuries happen without the healthcare provider neglecting the standard of care throughout the child’s delivery. Sometimes birth injuries just happen despite receiving the best medical care. In cases involving birth injuries, an experienced medical malpractice attorney New York, NY residents trust should evaluate the case to determine if medical malpractice occurred. When determining if a claim is valid for medical malpractice, the lawyer will usually want to review the baby’s medical records, in addition to having them reviewed by a medical physician or nurse. If a case proceeds to court, damages will be sought after on behalf of the child. These usually include the financial cost of the child’s injury, which include the costs of past and future care, medical equipment, and assistive or therapeutic services the child may need in the future. These damages should also include funds for the child’s pain and suffering.


Thank you to our friends and contributors at Okun, Oddo & Babat, P.C. for the insight into medical malpractice.

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