The birth of a child is an extraordinary and joyous event. However, complications during childbirth can result in birth injuries that may have long-lasting effects on both the child and their family. In some cases, these injuries may be due to medical malpractice, which occurs when healthcare professionals fail to provide the standard of care expected in such situations.

Learn about four common birth injuries that could be potential signs of medical malpractice.

1. Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is a group of neurological disorders that affect muscle control and movement. It can occur due to brain damage sustained during childbirth. Medical malpractice may be a factor if the healthcare provider failed to properly monitor and respond to signs of fetal distress, misused delivery tools or delayed necessary interventions.

2. Erb’s palsy

Erb’s palsy, also known as brachial plexus injury, involves damage to the nerves that control movement and sensation in the arm. This injury can occur when excessive force occurs during a difficult delivery, such as when a baby’s shoulder becomes stuck in the birth canal. Healthcare providers should exercise proper techniques and caution to avoid such injuries.

3. Facial nerve injuries

Facial nerve injuries can occur during delivery due to the use of forceps or vacuum extraction. These injuries can lead to temporary or permanent facial paralysis or weakness. Healthcare professionals should exercise proper care and skill when using these delivery tools to minimize the risk of such injuries.

4. Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy occurs when the baby’s brain does not receive enough oxygen and blood supply during labor and delivery. It can result in severe brain damage and long-term neurological impairments. Failure to monitor and respond to signs of fetal distress, delays in emergency interventions or improper use of medications could be indications of medical malpractice.

While not all birth injuries are the result of medical malpractice, it is important to be aware of potential signs that may warrant further investigation.