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The moment when a baby is born is supposed to be one of the happiest moments a family can experience. Almost certainly, it’s the happiest for brand-new moms and dads.

But labor and delivery, despite being normal parts of the human life cycle, can also be dangerous events. Every birth presents a non-zero chance of harm to the mother and child.

So while childbirth might be a dream come true for any loving parent, a birth injury, especially one caused by healthcare providers we trust with the delivery, can easily twist that dream into a horror story straight out of a nightmare.

Birth injuries are the fourth most common cause of infant deaths in the US, accounting for 6% of fatalities after birth. Out of the estimated 20,000 infant deaths each year, that is roughly 1,200 injuries fatal injuries.

Birth injuries also present huge challenges, even for those who survive. Approximately 28,000 people in the US are born with a birth injury, which means that the 28,000 infants need additional observation and possibly treatment, all of which the parents shoulder.

If you’re a parent in need of the resources to cover your child’s birth injury, call Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers today at 801-810-9999, or fill out this form. Our Salt Lake City birth injury lawyers are ready to represent you in your fight for compensation.

Get Justice With a Salt Lake City Birth Injury Attorney

Babies are extremely fragile but, at the same time, more resilient than most people think. Their small size and weak bodies mean they are more susceptible to injury, and yet their rapidly changing physiology means with proper treatment, full recovery is almost always possible.

But that doesn’t mean birth injuries are anything to scoff at. Babies heal faster than adults, but that’s still at least a few more weeks spent in the hospital.

Meanwhile, your bills continue to pile up, you and your child risk exposure to contaminants, and let’s face it, life outside the hospital walls continues on without you.

And, of course, there’s the worst-case scenario where your child’s birth injury is worse than you thought. After all, when we said “full recovery is almost always possible,” the key word there is almost.

Now you know you’re not getting back the time you missed. But with the help of an expert birth injury lawyer, you can at least get compensation for going through the struggle.

Working with an attorney from Valley Law gives you your best chance to recoup your expenses brought about by the birth injury. You might even be able to protect your child by having enough to cover treatment for potential future complications before they occur.

If it’s one of your goals, your lawyer can even take liable parties to civil court, where those at fault can face justice in the form of punitive damages. Winning here can even strengthen a potential criminal charge you might want to pursue in the future.

Lead attorney Brigham Richards has over a decade’s experience in Salt Lake City personal injury law. His personal approach toward cases ensures your interests are placed first, whatever they may be.

Common Birth Injuries in Newborns

Head Injuries

Head injuries are the most common category of injury among newborns, though rates have steadily dropped as medical science has advanced. Generally, head injuries at birth are the result of a combination of physical force and tool use–forceps in particular.

Doctors may use forceps during difficult deliveries to ease the baby through the birth canal. However, because the tool is designed to hold the baby by the head, improper use of forceps presents a high risk of injuring the child.

Injuries that result from poor use of forceps include bruising and swelling, bleeding, and fractures.

  • Head bruising: Because of the strenuous forces involved in the birthing process, head bruising is actually quite common and rarely results in any complications. For the most part, bruises and bumps from birth resolve within a day or two of delivery.
  • Bleeding: Bleeding can range in severity from completely harmless to life-threatening, depending on the pathology of the injury. Cephalhematomas – bleeding beneath the membrane surrounding the skull – are mostly harmless (though unsightly) and heal within a month, while hemorrhages risk massive blood loss and death of the newborn.
  • Skull fractures: Unlike in older children and adults, fractures in newborns tend to heal without complications. The exception to this is in the case of depressed fractures, where an indentation extends into the brain cavity.

Bone Injuries

Because babies have soft bones, their skeletons are more prone to damage than those of adults. The flip side of this is that because babies’ bones are still growing, they heal much better than adult bones do.

Still, fragility is one primary factor for bone and joint injuries during childbirth.

The risk of bone and joint damage in newborns is also correlated with the orientation in the womb. The majority of orthopedic injuries during delivery occur due to an abnormal presentation (leading body part) and/or position (angle of the head relative to the mother’s pelvis) of the baby.

  • Clavicular Injury: This is a common and rather painful injury that is also difficult to detect because of a lack of obvious damage. It is treated by immobilizing the arm against the chest and allowing the bone to heal on its own over the course of a few weeks.
  • Limb Fractures: While relatively rarer than skull or clavicle fractures, there are times when an arm or a leg fractures under the forces during delivery. Just like clavicular injuries, however, treatment is simple and involves an immobilizing harness to mitigate pain as the bone heals.

Nervous System Injuries

Sometimes, the physical pressure exerted on a baby’s body as they are forced through the birth canal squeezes or pulls nerves hard enough to damage them. This can lead to weakness or lack of function in different parts of the body, depending on the damaged nerve.

One of the most common forms of nerve damage that occurs during childbirth is known as a brachial plexus injury. This condition is caused by excessive strain on the brachial plexus as the neck stretches away from the arm.

If the damage results in a weak hand, it is called Klumpke’s palsy. If it results in a weakness in the entire arm, it is called Erb’s palsy.

Damage to other nerves may also occur during birth, though these are much less common.

Nerve damage from delivery is usually treated by minimizing any movement of the affected area. Damage is rarely permanent, though if it lasts more than a few weeks, surgery may be required for the baby to achieve a full recovery.

Soft Tissue Damage

Bruising of soft tissues is an injury more frequently seen with the delivery of large newborns. Uterine contractions are powerful enough to bruise a baby on their own, but the need to use forceps to ease large babies out contributes to the risk.

As with other injuries on this list, the chance of soft tissue damage is increased with abnormal position and presentation.

For example, if the baby presents itself face-first, there is an increased risk of bruising on the face. If the shoulder is pushed out first, the arm is likely to receive soft tissue damage even if doctors manage to correct the baby’s presentation.

Damage to fat and muscle tissue rarely leads to long-term problems but is extremely uncomfortable for a newborn baby. With sufficient rest and care, however, most soft tissue injuries completely heal on their own.

Perinatal Asphyxia

Perhaps the most feared birth injury on this list, perinatal asphyxia, is identified by shallow breathing, a weak pulse, and, most notably, the bluish tint of the baby’s skin. Children with this condition lack sufficient oxygen and must be immediately resuscitated to survive.

Many factors can cause perinatal asphyxia, including several that neither the mother nor the hospital have control over. There are, however, cases where the condition is avoidable but occurs regardless.

When these situations occur, the hospital is often held liable for the child’s fate under the premise that they owe the child duty of care.

  • Failure to monitor vital signs: There may be warning signs of perinatal asphyxia throughout labor, long before the baby comes through the birth canal. Failure to notice signs – such as a weakening fetal heartbeat – raises the odds of asphyxia and delays necessary action to save the child’s life.
  • Failure to perform emergency medical protocol: Sometimes, emergency procedures such as C-Sections have to be performed to save the child, mother, or both. A medical facility’s failure to perform a life-saving procedure in time based on known information is usually a strong indication of negligence.
  • Failure to provide adequate care after delivery: Newborns need constant supervision after birth, especially to catch any complications that may not have been immediately observable during delivery. An exhausted mother might not be able to tend to this for a few hours as she rests, so it falls to the hospital to ensure her health and safety as well as that of the baby.

Contact Our Salt Lake City Birth Injury Law Firm Today

As a parent, you should be celebrating the birth of a child and not struggling with costs, expenses, health risks, or debt. Certainly not when another party is the reason you have to struggle in the first place.

Contact Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers today, and get a no-obligation, no-cost evaluation of your case. We don’t get paid until we win your case for you.

Call us at 801-810-9999, or fill out this form to contact us online.

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We have helped many clients recover from injuries resulting from car accidents in West Valley, Salt Lake City, and the greater Utah area. We are here to help you recover after an accident. If you've been injured, don't hesitate to call Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. We have recovered millions for our clients and we are ready to fight for you.

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