Due to improvements in medical procedures used during delivery, incidents of birth injury have been steadily decreasing, and now occur in only 1.9 of every 1000 births. Injuries are most likely to occur naturally but, unfortunately, they can also be the result of medical negligence. While research is ongoing to reduce the risk of injuries occurring in the first place, the damage caused by these injuries can often be reduced with surgery at an young age or other early interventions during childhood. In the case of malpractice, holding medical practitioners to account for their substandard care could also improve the safety of mothers and their babies in the longer term.
Coping with Non-Congenital Injuries at Birth
Cerebral is the most common childhood motor disability and up to 90% of cases of are congenital which means the condition is already present at birth. However, the condition can also be caused by substandard care or negligence during the birthing procedure. This is commonly due to delays in delivery or omitting to monitor the baby’s heartbeat, both of which can result in deprivation of oxygen to the brain. Experienced cerebral palsy lawyers can help to determine if any damage at birth is due to the actions or negligence of a medical professional. If this is the case, reaching a suitable settlement can enable families to access early intervention and treatment which can significantly improve their child’s outcomes.
Identifying Factors Associated with Brachial Plexus
Brachial Plexus birth injury (BPBI) is the most common birth injury occurring in 1 to 3 of every 1000 deliveries. BPBI causes nerve damage in the shoulder, arm and hand. With a mild form of the damage, infants may recover but, currently, almost a third of children who experience BPBI are left with more severe and permanent damage. To reduce occurrences of BPBI, a team of scientists is currently aiming to identify the women most at risk. With a greater understanding of the condition, hospitals will be able to implement preventative initiatives for better care during birth.
Reducing the Number of Assisted Deliveries
During difficult births, obstetricians traditionally turned to assistive devices to aid the baby’s delivery. When forceps are used with excessive force on a baby’s head during delivery, they can cause a range of injuries including fractures of the skill and swelling and hemorrhages in the brain. Over the past thirty years, these risks have gradually caused obstetricians to reduce the use of forceps and now they are only associated with just over 1% of vaginal deliveries. Suction cups which are easier to manipulate are still used, but the rates of vacuum extraction have also declined. Where risk factors indicate a potentially difficult natural birth, a medically advised cesarean section can reduce the risks of injury to both mother and baby.
New birthing procedures and techniques together with more extensive research are successfully reducing the risk of trauma during delivery. When injuries are as a result of medical negligence, holding health practitioners to account for their actions can help to further improve patient safety.