Last month, three separate medical malpractice lawsuits were filed against one Texas doctor after he allegedly mismanaged three newborn deliveries. According to the lawsuit, the doctor failed to intervene during the labor process, despite the evidence of fetal distress. Additionally, the lawsuit alleges in two of the instances, the doctor mismanaged the use of Oxytocin, which is a drug that helps induce labor. When used improperly, this drug can result in excessive contractions, which limits the amount of oxygen the fetus can receive.
As a result, one newborn died and two others sustained traumatic birth injuries that resulted cerebral palsy and other neurological damage.
Signs of Traumatic Birth Injury
Traumatic birth injuries occur when a newborn sustains a serious injury, often a head injury during the labor and delivery process. While it’s true birth injuries can happen for multiple reasons, there are cases where medical negligence by a healthcare provider is the cause, including the following:
- Extractor injuries from forceps and vacuums
- Cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD) injuries, which can occur when the newborn’s head and shoulders are too large to pass through the pelvis
- Macrosomia, which is when the newborn is larger than 8lbs, 13 ounces and can lead to complications
- Intracranial hemorrhages, which means the newborn is bleeding inside its skull
- Arrested or prolonged labor
In these cases, birth injuries are preventable when a doctor performs regular diagnostic tests throughout the pregnancy and delivery to identify complications. When these tests are done correctly, obstetricians should be able to spot and diagnose complications, potential risk factors or foreseeable problems. This allows the doctor to either treat the condition or plan for a cesarean section as the delivery method. Types of traumatic birth injuries often manifest as the following:
- Cerebral palsy
- Shoulder dystocia or brachial plexus palsy
- Erb’s palsy
- Broken bones or fractures
- Facial nerve damage, bruising or lacerations
- Physical difficulties, learning disabilities and other mental deficits
If you begin noticing signs of a traumatic birth injury in your child, consult with a doctor and a medical malpractice attorney. An attorney knows how to sift through medical records to identify any possible deviations from what is known as acceptable standards of care during your pregnancy or labor.
Aaron Allison is an Austin personal injury attorney who fights for those who are injured due to medical malpractice in Texas.