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What parents should know about birth injuries

No parent expects their baby to be harmed during birth. Unfortunately, birth injuries happen every year in Hawaii. Birth injuries happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s due to the size of the baby or position during labor. However, physicians and nurses are trained to handle complicated issues during birth to prevent birth injuries from happening.

What to know about birth injuries

A birth injury is defined as a physical injury that happens during childbirth. Some of the most common factors that contribute to birth injuries include the size of the baby, premature birth, difficult childbirth, prolonged labor and breech baby.

Parents should be aware of the types of birth injuries that can occur. Common birth injuries include:

  • Brachial palsy – this is when the group of nerves by the baby’s arms and hands are injured. Brachial palsy injuries commonly occur when the baby’s shoulder gets stuck during delivery. This type of injury can make it difficult or impossible for the baby to move their arm. Damage can be permanent if the nerve was torn but physical therapy can help regain movement.
  • Fractures – the baby’s clavicle or collarbone is the most frequent bone fracture during birth.
  • Facial paralysis – too much pressure on the baby’s face can cause a facial nerve to be damaged. The baby may not be able to move one side of their face or close their eye. Surgery may be required to repair the nerve damage.
  • Caput succedaneum – this is significant swelling of the soft tissue on the baby’s scalp. Swelling and bruising on the head can occur but usually goes away within a few days.
  • Bruising – head or facial bruising may occur during delivery.

What to do after a birth injury

The right medical care can make all the difference after a birth injury. It is important for parents to work with trusted medical professionals to get a proper evaluation of the baby’s injuries and to determine what medical procedures or treatments are necessary.

In addition to finding the right medical care, parents should understand their legal rights after a birth injury. Birth injuries can happen for a variety of reasons. However, negligence during the birth process is one reason for birth trauma. Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals responsible for your labor and delivery can be held liable for their actions if negligence is proven.

A birth injury lawsuit against the staff and hospital may be in your best interests depending on your specific situation. A personal injury attorney can help you better understand your rights and options after a birth injury occurs.

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