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When a birth isn’t going according to plan, medical providers rely on their training and clinical experience to determine how best to proceed. For example, if a pregnant woman if fully dilated and pushing, but labour is not progressing, an attending physician may decide that a Caesarean section, or forced extraction with forceps or a vacuum is necessary. But these alternatives to an unassisted vaginal birth are not without their risks of injury to both mother and baby.
A vacuum extraction increases the risk of certain injuries, such as tearing and blood loss a mother may sustain during an unassisted birth. A baby may suffer scalp wounds, skull fractures, or internal bleeding from the vacuum cupping or be at risk for brachial plexus injuries (the nerve network between the neck and shoulders) if shoulder dystocia occurs (the baby’s shoulder are lodged behind the mother’s pelvic bone after its head emerges). Premature birth (prior to 34 weeks), past fetal scalp sampling or certain bone conditions also increase these risks.
Delivery with forceps can also be traumatic for the mother and baby if done improperly. A baby may be as risk for skull fractures, scarring, nerve damage and seizures if a forcep extraction results in an injury.
Despite the best efforts of medical providers, a traumatic birth may be unavoidable and a birth injury may have been unpreventable. But if a medical provider’s negligent actions during a forced extraction or inaction during a problematic delivery breach standards of practice cause serious harm, it’s called obstetrical malpractice. And it can change the course of a life in a matter of moments.
Other common birth injuries
Obstetrical malpractice can occur at any stage of pregnancy, labour, delivery or in the period immediately following birth. If a medical provider fails to properly diagnose or manage maternal health conditions, ignores potential symptoms of fetal distress such as fetal tachycardia (abnormally fast heart rate), is careless or otherwise negligent during the birthing process, or fails to provide adequate post-birth monitoring, a host of damaging birth injuries are possible.
The injuries can include:
- Brain injuries and Cerebral Palsy – Perinatal asphyxia (oxygen deprivation around the time of birth), anoxia or hypoxia, placental insufficiency (inadequate oxygen or nutrients transmitted to the fetus due to placenta damage), meconium aspiration (fetal fecal matter mixed with amniotic fluid that is ingested in the baby’s lungs), maternal or in utero infection or birth trauma can all cause or contribute to injuries that cause intellectual or physical disabilities.
- Spinal injuries and nerve damage – Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of spina bifida (vertebrae not enclosing nerves in the spine), brachial plexus injuries from birth trauma or other soft tissue damage can cause loss of sensation, paralysis, lack of muscle control, poor balance and coordination, pain and disability.
- Kernicterus – A post-birth injury caused by severe jaundice (an immature liver cannot process waste) can lead to neurotoxicity and brain damage.
Help Is Available When You’ve Been Hurt
A serious birth injury that causes pain, suffering, disability or loss of function can have a dramatic impact on your life and the lives of your loved ones. The grief, sadness or anger you experience can take an emotional toll and the cost of therapies for rehabilitation, assisted devices to accommodate disabilities, or long-term care can be astronomical.
Howie, Sacks and Henry’s birth injury lawyers understand what you’re going through and we’re ready to help you in Abbotsford. Recognized as one of the country’s top personal injury firms, our team has cultivated expertise in handling cases involving even the most complex medical conditions. Our skilled, knowledgeable and engaged team can become your trusted advocate as we make a claim for the compensation and damages you deserve for your losses.
HSH birth injury lawyers are known for preparing strong, court-ready cases. Although we will work diligently to help you negotiate a fair and just settlement, we have no hesitation about going to court if the offer you receive doesn’t meet your current and future needs.
We believe that distance to high quality legal representation or the inability to travel should never be a barrier to you. That’s why HSH birth injury lawyers will gladly arrange to meet you in your own home in the Abbotsford area or at a nearby consultation office.
With our client-centred approach and reputation for empathy, compassion, care and kindness for those we serve, you can be confident that you are always more than a file to us. You and your loved ones deserve dignity, respect, and a legal advocate that will be there to support you through a process that can feel overwhelming and stressful.
Rest assured that with an HSH birth injury lawyer on your side and by your side in Abbotsford, together we will seek the financial resources you need to provide for your loved one’s care and ensure there are better days ahead.
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We serve the Abbotsford and surrounding areas. When you think Birth Injuries Lawyer Abbotsford, Think Howie, Sacks & Henry.