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Circumstances that Cause Nerve Damage during Birth

The Becker Law Firm, LPA

Permanent nerve damage can impair normal physical, psychological, and cognitive development and could impact the child’s quality of life. Unfortunately, some such incidents are caused by medical negligence. Provided below are certain circumstances that may cause nerve damage to a newborn at the time of birth.

Permanent nerve damage can impair normal physical, psychological, and cognitive development and could impact the child’s quality of life. Unfortunately, some such incidents are caused by medical negligence. Provided below are certain circumstances that may cause nerve damage to a newborn at the time of birth.

Improper Usage of Forceps during Delivery

This is one of the most common causes of nerve damage in newborns. Doctors may use forceps to assist delivery if the birth is difficult and the mother-to-be is unable to push the baby out naturally. Use of forceps may result in some minor facial bruising, which typically resolves itself on its own.

Improperly using the forceps can damage the baby’s facial nerves in some cases. Minor damage to facial nerves may heal on its own within a few months without lasting effects. However, cases of severe nerve damage, while rare, may be permanent.

Inability to Manage the Delivery of a Large or Breech Baby

large fetus or one that is breech often makes the delivery process more complicated. If the surgeon is not careful, then excessive stretching and pulling can cause nerve damage in various parts of the infant’s body. For instance, pulling and stretching can damage the nerves in one or both arms of the baby.

This may cause brachial plexus palsy. The brachial plexus refers to nerves around the neck and shoulder region. When these nerves are damaged during the labor and delivery process, it causes arm weakness and results in loss of motion or limited function of the affected arm. While most children will fully recover from the condition, some will be affected long-term.

While rare, injury to the nerves that correspond with the baby’s diaphragm can lead to trouble breathing. Like other nerve injuries, this condition typically resolves itself on its own.

Taking Legal Action if Medical Negligence Causes Nerve Damage

While not all nerve injuries during labor and delivery are the result of negligence – many injuries are the result of difficult births despite the doctor’s proper care – parents can pursue legal action if the doctor acted outside the reasonable standard of care. This means that other reasonable professionals would not have acted similarly in the same situation.

If a doctor uses too much force with the forceps or pulls the child’s arm with too much force during a difficult birth, he or she could be found negligent. Not in the sense that he or she didn’t act but in the sense that the doctor did not appropriately apply his or her medical training, perhaps through lack of attention prior to the incident. A medical expert can testify regarding the level of care that the physician provided.

If considered to have acted negligently, parents may recover damages related to the child’s additional medical care or therapy, as well as future care if the injuries are long term. Other damages may also be recoverable, which parents should discuss with a medical malpractice attorney.

The Becker Law Firm can help parents whose children have suffered nerve damage during birth because of medical negligence. Give us a call at (440) 252-4399 to schedule a consultation for a free evaluation of the case.

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