Preventable birth injuries in U.S. can cause permanent damage

Medical professionals in Illinois deliver healthy, beautiful babies every day. But as we have discussed before on our Chicago medical malpractice law blog, doctors and nurses risk making serious mistakes that could cause babies to suffer permanent injuries if they become too comfortable with guiding women through pregnancy, labor and birth.

According to statistics, about six out of every 1,000 babies born in the U.S. each year are born with a birth injury. Some birth injuries simply cannot be prevented and the injury rate is relatively low compared to the number of births each year, but no parent or child should ever have to suffer the consequences of a delivering doctor’s mistake or a nurse’s negligence while monitoring a mother and her baby during labor and birth.

Some common types of birth injuries that can cause significant physical or mental damage to a newborn baby include brain damage, cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy.

There is a chance that a baby can develop cerebral palsy as a result of a genetic abnormality or other complication well before labor, but about one third of the children who are born with cerebral palsy suffer the complication as a result of not getting enough oxygen during labor and delivery. A baby can suffer brain damage when a doctor or nurse fails to notice that the baby may be in trouble during labor or if medical professionals do not perform a Cesarean section in time in order to get the baby the oxygen he or she is lacking.

Another common injury babies are at risk of suffering as a result of medical negligence is Erb’s palsy. This injury can occur if a doctor attempts to pull on a child’s head if the baby is stuck in the birth canal. Babies can suffer nerve damage during this process which can cause permanent disabilities.

In some cases of negligence, doctors and nurses may attempt to hide their mistakes by blaming a baby’s injuries on other problems such as an infection in the amniotic sac, an injury that occurred before labor or a genetic predisposition to a specific disability. If Chicago parents believe that their child’s injuries during birth may have been the result of medical malpractice instead of some other underlying cause, the parents may want to speak with an attorney in order to make sure that a negligent doctor or nurse does not make the same mistake which could potentially cause injury or harm to other babies during birth.

Source: abc Action News, “How medical malpractice leads to birth injuries,” Ed Greenberger, Jan. 27, 2012

Birth Injuries


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At Cirignani Heller & Harman, LLP, we represent Illinois clients in Chicago and throughout Cook County, including the cities of Cicero, Elgin, Schaumburg, Oak Park, Maywood, Berwyn, Elmhurst, Evanston, Skokie, Des Plaines, Mount Prospect, Arlington Heights, Palatine and Hoffman Estates. We also help clients in DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, McHenry County, Will County and Winnebago County. If you have been the victim of medical malpractice in Illinois, CHH Law is the law firm with attorneys that can help.

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