Incidence of Birth Injuries on the Rise

Incidence of Birth Injuries on the Rise

A recent study revealed an alarming statistic – the incidence of birth injuries in the United States has risen by 75% since the early 2000s.  As such, roughly 8 out of every 1000 infants sustain a birth injury during the labor and delivery process.  Further, post-delivery complications have risen by 50% in the same period. 

While in some cases, unexpected complications arise, often injuries may be prevented with proper risk assessment and planning.  For example, brachial plexus injuries which may occur due to shoulder dystocia may be anticipated and prevented. These types of injuries may occur when the child is large, and the child becomes stuck during delivery behind the mother’s pubic bone.  Excessive force, including pulling on the child, may damage the brachial plexus nerves which are located primarily in a child’s armpit region and into the arm.  These types of injuries may lead to permanent shoulder/arm injuries, including the limited use of one’s arm for a life-time.    

Brain injuries may also be prevented.  In certain situations, fetal monitoring may show that an infant’s brain is not getting sufficient oxygen and blood flow.  Prompt actions such as immediately performing an emergency Cesarean Section (C-Section), may reduce or eliminate any potential long-term damage.  Delays, however, may lead to permanent brain damage, including Cerebral Palsy.

Reasons for the uptick in birth injuries are unknown, but observers suspect that overworked/understaffing at hospitals increases communication errors between hospital workers, including doctors, nurses and even patients, thus leading to the increased number of errors.

For more information or if you suspect your child or someone you love sustained a preventable medical injury, please contact the experienced California birth injury lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.

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