Birth Injury Statistics
Birth injury statistics in the U.S. provide a sobering insight into what some refer to as "the most advanced healthcare system in the world." Although medical technology in the U.S. is indeed very advanced, the birth injury statistics clearly indicate that far too many babies suffer injuries needlessly before, during, or shortly after their births.
For example, for every 1,000 babies born alive in the U.S. each year, six babies incur birth trauma injuries. The rate is higher for male babies than for females, and the injuries occur more frequently in non-profit hospitals compared to for-profit hospitals. Additionally, national birth injury statistics show that significantly more birth injuries occur in large hospitals (i.e., with over 300 beds) compared to small (less than 100-bed) hospitals.
Birth injury statistics show that each year, approximately 6 out of every 1,000 births in the U.S. results in mild to severe birth injuries. While mild birth injuries can include small scratches or bruises incurred during the delivery process, in the most severe cases, complications and medical mistakes can cause:
- Cerebral palsy, an irreversible impairment of speech, movement, development and coordination
- Erb's palsy, a lack of sensation and/or an inability to move the hands or arms
- Facial paralysis
- Spinal cord damage
Examples of Birth Injuries
While there are hundreds of individual types of birth injuries, a few main categories are:
- cerebral palsy
- brain damage
- brachial plexus palsy
- Erb's palsy
- temporary paralysis
- Group B strep
When babies develop such incurable, debilitating conditions, it's usually as a result of:
- Choosing an inappropriate delivery method (such as using vacuum extraction when a C-section should be performed)
- Failing to promptly treat lack of oxygen, infection and/or internal bleeding
- Giving mothers or babies wrong doses or types of medication.
These conditions tend to occur only in rare circumstances when an unforeseen complication, such as an awkward change in a baby's position, arises.
Prevalence of Birth Injuries
Following the development of these irreversible impairments, it's vital that parents:
- Pursue emergency medical care to prevent further complications.
- Develop a long-term treatment plan with a team of medical professionals, as most severe birth injuries require highly involved, life-long treatments.
- Meet with a birth injury attorney to find out more about their legal rights.
Unfortunately, many potential obstacles and problems accompany the birth of a child, and in many cases, birth injuries are not preventable. Sometimes no healthcare provider can prevent a birth-related injury to an infant.
In other cases, however, birth injuries may have been preventable by a healthcare provider. Avoidable instances of negligence or medical malpractice on the part of a doctor, nurse, midwife, paramedic, anesthesiologist, a combination of personnel, or other parties occur more often than we would like to admit.
Because of the complexity of birth injuries, some cases require a great deal of investigation and even litigation to unravel. Medical malpractice lawyers are the legal professionals who are best equipped to handle birth injury cases.
Birth Injury Data on Cerebral Palsy
While about 800,000 people in the U.S. currently live with cerebral palsy, each year, approximately 10,000 babies will develop new cases of this debilitating condition.
In most cases, cerebral palsy results from some brain damage that occurs during the baby's fetal development or the delivery process. Although cerebral palsy may develop out of natural pregnancy complications, medical mistakes, such as the following, may also contribute to the development of cerebral palsy:
- Failing to supply adequate oxygen to the baby
- Failing to treat jaundice in a timely manner
- Inappropriately treating infection
- Using vacuum extraction and/or forceps when a C-section is necessary.
If the errors of doctors and/or nurses has somehow contributed to the severity of a newborn's cerebral palsy, families will be entitled to compensation for their:
- past medical bills
- necessary ongoing treatments
- emotional pain and suffering
To find out if they have a case, families of babies born with cerebral palsy (or other birth injuries) should set up an initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer who specializes in birth injury lawsuits.
Statistics about Causes of Birth Injuries
There are many possible underlying causes of preventable birth injuries. The best available birth injury statistics indicate that some of the most common causes are:
- inappropriate or incorrect use of vacuum or forceps
- inappropriate or incorrect use of oxytocin or misoprostol
- failure to recognize fetal distress or nonreassuring fetal status
- failure to properly resuscitate a depressed baby
- failure to effect a timely caesarean-section birth
Because the emotional trauma of the injury can be extremely overwhelming, attorneys for birth injuries try to make it as simple and painless for parents of injured children to file birth injury claims. Most birth injury attorneys, therefore, provide free consultations and will work on contingency, so prospective plaintiffs won't have to pay for legal fees until they win their highly deserved settlements.
Has your newborn suffered a birth injury? If so, contact our birth injury lawyers to schedule a free consultation with an experienced birth injury lawyer today. Our attorneys have helped thousands of parents recover compensation for their losses and are ready to help you.
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