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Birth injuries: Diverse, complex, often permanent


Medical errors can cause serious injuries to patients. When a mother gives birth, nurses, obstetrician and doctors are present to ensure the safety of the mother and the child. Still, a single error can endanger the lives of the mother and the child. Health care providers in Maryland are expected to follow the standard of care when they are operating on their patients. Deviating from the standard procedures can result in birth injury.

Birth injuries could be a result of a failure to react properly in cases where the mother was no longer capable of delivering the baby normally, yet the doctor failed to perform a C-section in time. In such cases, the baby may suffer from asphyxiation, resulting in cerebral palsy. In other cases, delivery errors can result in brachial plexus injuries. There are three types of brachial plexus injuries: stretch, avulsion and rupture. Stretch injury refers to the swelling of nerves starting from the neck and stretching through the shoulder and arm. The injury can heal within a few months. Avulsion is the most serious injury among the three. When the brachial plexus is pulled, it can result in avulsion injuries. This injury can reduce a person's ability to move his or her leg.

Birth injuries can be temporary or permanent. A baby who had sustained a birth injury such as erb's palsy may not be able to function normally compared with other children and therefore requires lifetime medical attention and support. Raising a child with a birth injury can be very costly. Fortunately, parents may sue the negligent party and seek compensation for medical bills.

By filing a medical malpractice claim, the parents can name the defendants who should be held responsible for the birth injury. Parents should note that their child's past, present and future medical expenses should be taken in consideration when seeking damages.

Source: Birthinjury.org, "Types of brachial plexus injuries," accessed Oct. 2, 2014

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