Every parent's birth experience should be happy, unique and culminate with the delivery of a healthy baby. It should never include the preventable horrors that happen when medical professionals are negligent. Unfortunately, however, birth injuries happen all too often, with six of every 1,000 babies born in the U.S. today experiencing some sort of birth injury.
During a typical labor and delivery, there may be multiple medical personnel monitoring or helping both mother and baby. These may include labor and delivery doctors and nurses, anesthesiologists, midwives and sometimes paramedics. Despite, or possibly because of, so many involved parties, mothers and babies may still be subject to negligent medical care prior to or during a birth.
Minor birth injuries, for example bruises and broken bones, may not cause lasting issues, but severe damage to nerves or prolonged oxygen deprivation can lead to serious medical conditions like facial paralysis, Erb's palsy and cerebral palsy. While some birth injuries during emergency situations are difficult to avoid, most are preventable.
Negligent actions or inaction during labor and delivery can take different forms. When doctors attempt to deliver large babies vaginally, or wait too long to order a cesarean section, birth injuries can occur. Failing to recognize a baby's distress, such as lack of oxygen to the brain, can cause cerebral palsy and other brain damage. Using improper methods to free a baby's shoulders from behind the mother's pubic bone or to deliver a baby who has a large head or is breach may also lead to birth injuries that result in Erb's palsy. Incorrectly using delivery equipment like forceps or vacuums can also be dangerous, causing birth injuries that range from facial nerve damage to skull fractures.
Babies are delivered every day and in many different ways. There is no excuse for negligence during a procedure that happens so frequently and with so much direct attention from medical personnel.