Birth Injuries Resulting From Medical Malpractice

Birth injuries resulting from medical malpractice can have a lasting effect on the child.

A delivery room is home to one of the most cherished moments in a person’s life. For healthcare professionals, however, it can become a room filled with stress and anxiety when things don’t go according to plan. In these rare cases, a doctor, nurse or technician could make a mistake that causes the baby to be born with a birth injury from medical malpractice.

Birth Injury Definition

A birth injury refers to an injury resulting from complications experienced during labor and delivery. These injuries may range from mild and temporary, such as a cut or wound, to severe and permanent, such as brain damage. Some birth injuries are unavoidable, but others may be caused by a physician’s negligence in the delivery room. According to some experts, 2% of total birth injuries are caused by medical negligence, which is considered a form of medical malpractice.

Most Common Causes of Birth Injuries

There are several medical errors that cause birth injuries. A 2011 study of 800 medical malpractice cases revealed that the most common causes of birth injuries are:

  • Improper management of pregnancy
  • Delay in treating fetal distress
  • Improper performance of vaginal delivery

Medical Mistakes During Delivery

During labor and delivery, healthcare professionals are responsible for monitoring the health of both the mother and the baby and always acting in their best interests. Doctors and nurses must be able to anticipate and respond to any unplanned changes during delivery, as even seemingly minor mistakes could have devastating outcomes for the mother or baby.

Medical mistakes in the delivery room include:

  • Failure to anticipate and diagnose birth complications involving a larger baby
  • Failure to anticipate maternal health complications
  • Failure to respond to bleeding in an appropriate and timely manner
  • Failure to diagnose or respond to umbilical cord entrapment
  • Delay in ordering Cesarean section
  • Misuse of a vacuum extractor or forceps during delivery, causing injury to the fetus
  • Inappropriate administration of labor inducing drugs such as Pitocin

Preventable Medical Errors

Studies have shown that 1 in 1,000 births involves a preventable injury or death. Many of these are caused by simple human errors, making it all the more frustrating when they occur in such high-stakes settings. The most common medical errors that cause birth injuries are:

  • Errors in clinical judgment (77% cases)
  • Miscommunication (36% cases)
  • Technical error (26% cases)
  • Administrative failure (23% cases)
  • Ineffective supervision (15% cases)

Common Birth Injuries

A physician’s mistake in the delivery room could lead to a wide range of birth injuries. Some birth injuries are immediately detected, while others may not present themselves until later in the child’s development. Depending on the severity of the injury, the child may require special accommodations for the rest of his or her life. Examples of common birth injuries include:

  • Brain Injury: Oxygen deprivation during childbirth can cause seizure disorders, mental impairment, or cerebral palsy.
  • Forceps Marks & Bruising: Use of forceps or vacuum extractor can leave some temporary marks and bruises on the baby’s head. These are mild injuries that heal in a few days, however, in some severe cases, it can cause a laceration or skull fracture.
  • Caput Succedaneum: Vacuum extraction can cause severe swelling of the infant’s head. It typically heals in a few days.
  • Subconjunctival Hemorrhage: A common birth injury characterized by a red band around the iris of the infant’s eyes. It usually heals within a week.
  • Cephalohematoma: An injury characterized by bleeding between the bone and its fibrous covering. During childbirth, it may occur on the child’s head.
  • Brachial Palsy Injuries: Occurs when the brachial plexus, the group of nerves controlling movement of the hands and arms, is injured. It may also cause permanent nerve damage.
  • Facial Paralysis: Pressure caused by forceps can lead to nerve damage that may result in mild or severe facial paralysis.


Missouri Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you have suffered as a result of medical malpractice, contact our legal team right away. Waiting to seek legal representation can prevent you from filing a claim and receiving the compensation you deserve.

Contact Zevan Davidson Roman today.

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