With today’s advancements in medical care, you may think that birth injuries are a thing of the past, especially in Illinois and the rest of the United States. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Birth injuries happen every single day here in America. In fact, of every 1,000 infants born in the United States, an estimated 6 to 8 babies are injured during delivery.
When your child is injured during birth, you’re often left to pick up the pieces as the parent. You may be asking yourself, “Is my baby going to make a full recovery? What will her future look like in ten or twenty years? How are we going to pay for the medications and treatment her pediatrician prescribes? Who is going to care for her when we’re gone?”
Those are big life questions you should never face alone.
If your child has been diagnosed with a birth injury, you need to take steps as soon as possible to determine whether medical malpractice contributed to your child’s birth injury. Our Chicago birth injury lawyers at Shannon Law Group, P.C. can help you get the process started.
Start Your Free Case Review Today! We're Available 24/7/365 to Speak with You.
WE'RE HERE TO HELP YOUR FAMILY MOVE FORWARD AFTER A BIRTH INJURY
At Shannon Law Group, our expert team will be by your family’s side during this difficult time. While we cannot undo the trauma your child needlessly suffered, we can investigate what happened to see if you and your family are eligible for compensation.
Ultimately, our expert team will determine whether the doctors, nurses or healthcare professionals in charge of your child’s delivery made an error that resulted in your baby’s birth injury.
Doctors and medical professionals are human beings capable of making preventable mistakes before, during, and after a child’s delivery. Sometimes, their mistakes cause devastating and permanent birth injuries, such as brain injuries or nerve damage. Oftentimes, these birth injuries will require ongoing medication and medical care for the rest of your child’s life.
If a mistake was made, we will file a birth injury medical malpractice case on your behalf. We won’t stop fighting until you and your family are fairly compensated so that your child can live their best life.
Contact Shannon Law Group Today for a Free Case Review
For over a decade, our expert team of lawyers has helped Illinois birth injury victims and their families get the compensation they deserve. We will personally evaluate your case and medical records at no expense to you. To schedule your free consultation, call us at (312) 578-9501 or fill out our contact form here. We have offices in Woodridge and Chicago. However, if you are unable to visit us, we would be happy to travel to you.
WHAT CAUSES BIRTH INJURIES?
Birth injuries happen when damage and trauma are inflicted on the baby during the birthing process. Typically, this damage happens because of physical pressure during birth, usually as the baby travels through the birth canal.
Many birth injuries also happen when the baby moves into an abnormal position and presentation as they enter the birth canal. Additionally, birth injuries often become more severe if the doctor or nurse fails to recognize symptoms of fetal distress.
Here are a few examples of medical errors that often cause birth injuries:
- Premature delivery complications
- Failing to diagnose and treat pregnancy issues such as pregnancy-induced hypertension or gestational diabetes
- Delaying emergency delivery via Cesarean section (c-section) when problems come up
- Failing to respond quickly to complications such as fetal distress, bleeding, or umbilical cord entanglement
- Improperly using vacuum extractors or forceps during vaginal birth
- Issuing the wrong type or dosage of medication
- Failing to monitor the mother’s or baby’s health properly after the delivery
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD HAS A BIRTH INJURY?
There are some birth injuries you will notice the moment your child comes into this world, such as birth asphyxia. Other severe birth injuries, such as cerebral palsy or facial palsy, may not be noticeable immediately.
In general, if your child has a birth injury, they will begin showing symptoms within the first few years of their life. However, you and your child’s physician may not connect the dots right away. That’s why we highly recommend that you request your pregnancy and delivery records and have an experienced birth injury law firm like Shannon Law Group, P.C. review them for you. We will review your medical records and potential case at no cost to you. By reviewing your medical records, we will be able to determine whether medical malpractice contributed to your child’s condition.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO FILE AN ILLINOIS BIRTH INJURY LAWSUIT?
According to Illinois law, you have eight years to file a birth injury lawsuit from the date of the injury. However, it is not wise to wait until the last minute to contact a birth injury lawyer. Ideally, you should contact an attorney right away if you suspect a birth injury caused by medical negligence.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BIRTH INJURY AND A BIRTH DEFECT?
In the United States, birth defects happen more frequently than birth injuries. According to the CDC, 1 in 33 babies is born with a birth defect each year. Birth defects can develop anytime in utero, structurally changing how parts of the body function. Birth defects are caused by many factors, from smoking while pregnant to genetic inheritance. Like birth injuries, these medical conditions can vary in severity and may not be observable right after birth.
On the other hand, a birth injury is a trauma to the baby that happens before, during, or after the birthing process. Typically, birth injuries happen when a medical professional makes a mistake that results in unnecessary harm to the baby. Some birth injuries may heal on their own, while others require a lifetime of treatment and 24-hour care. In situations where your child suffers a permanent birth injury like cerebral palsy, we recommend that you contact an experienced birth injury lawyer to investigate your potential case and review the medical records to determine whether medical negligence played a role.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON TYPES OF BIRTH INJURIES CAUSED BY MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE?
Many different types of birth injuries can be caused by medical malpractice. Here are the most common injuries we've witnessed from our experience while helping birth injury victims and their families:
More often than not, brain damage during birth causes a condition called cerebral palsy. The most common causes of cerebral palsy are failing to identify fetal distress, using abnormal birthing techniques, and monitoring the mother improperly during labor. Children with cerebral palsy may show different symptoms depending on the severity of their brain damage. Generally, they will experience difficulty with motor skills, muscle spasms, and floppiness or rigidity of their limbs and torso. Epilepsy, deafness, or blindness are cerebral palsy symptoms as well.
ERB’S PALSY (BRACHIAL PALSY)
When an infant suffers damage to their brachial plexus nerves during birth, Erb’s Palsy may set in. The brachial plexus is a network of nerves located near the neck. These nerves are responsible for the movement and feeling in your shoulder, arm, hand, and fingers. Erb’s palsy is a nerve injury caused by trauma to these nerves in the brachial plexus. Your baby may show these symptoms if they have Erb’s Palsy: weakness in one arm; their arm is bent at the elbow and rests against their body, or they can barely grip objects like your finger with their affected hand.
INFANT SPINAL CORD INJURIES
During the birthing process, the spinal cord may sustain a bruise, partial tear, or complete tear. If your child suffers a spinal cord injury during birth, they may experience symptoms from muscle weakness to paralysis. Spinal cord injuries are separated into two categories: complete and incomplete. A complete spinal cord injury means that your child has no feeling or movement below the injury site. If they have an incomplete spinal cord injury, your child will still have some degree of feeling or movement below the injury site.
PERINATAL ASPHYXIA (BIRTH ASPHYXIA)
Perinatal asphyxia occurs when your baby doesn’t receive enough oxygen before, during, or after birth. There are several ways your child may stop breathing or receiving oxygen during birth. If your child is limp, blue, silent, or has trouble breathing when they’re born, they likely have birth asphyxia. When their oxygen supply is suddenly cut off, your baby becomes at-risk for traumatic brain damage. If they were deprived of oxygen for several minutes before they were resuscitated, your child's brain damage may result in intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, and seizures.
FACIAL NERVE PALSY
When your child suffers from facial nerve palsy (or paralysis), they experience a loss of control of their facial muscles. Most of the time, this birth injury is caused by trauma, not by a genetic disorder. This trauma typically happens because a medical professional improperly used forceps during delivery. An infant with facial nerve palsy may be unable to close their eyelids or move one side of their face. In most cases, facial nerve palsy heals on its own. However, if the paralysis is permanent, they may experience speech problems, difficulty with chewing, and more.
If your infant’s head suffers minor trauma during labor, small blood vessels between the skull and the periosteum (the thick layer of connective tissue surrounding the skull) may rupture. When this rupture happens, a cephalohematoma may develop as blood accumulates underneath your baby’s scalp. You won’t be able to know if your child has this type of birth injury immediately after birth. Over the next few days, if your child has a cephalohematoma, there will be a bump on their head where the blood has gathered. Typically, this birth injury heals on its own within three months under medical supervision. However, a cephalohematoma does put an infant at risk for neonatal jaundice. Keep an eye out for yellowish discoloration of the skin, sclera, or mucous membranes.
Similar to a cephalohematoma, a caput succedaneum birth injury occurs when your baby’s head experiences trauma during birth. Symptoms associated with a caput succedaneum include swelling around the skull and a “conehead” appearance immediately after delivery. As with cephalohematomas, caput succedaneum injury will typically go away on its own. However, if there is bruising, your baby may develop neonatal jaundice.
INFANT SUBCONJUNCTIVAL HEMORRHAGE
During a stressful delivery, your baby may suffer birth trauma to their head. As a result, your infant may experience a subconjunctival hemorrhage, which happens when the small blood vessels located just under the eye ruptures. The most common symptom of a subconjunctival hemorrhage is a bright red or dark patch in the white areas of your baby’s affected eye. Most of the time, this type of birth injury resolves on its own. However, a subconjunctival hemorrhage can appear alongside other severe birth injuries, such as facial paralysis. As always, consult with your child’s physician for further treatment.
BROKEN BONES AND FRACTURES
As a parent, the last thing you want is for your child to arrive in this world with serious injuries like broken bones and fractures. However, it happens more often than you would suspect. Because a baby's bones are fragile, they can break or fracture easily if they undergo too much pressure during delivery. Additionally, broken and fractured bones can be a sign that something avoidable happened during the delivery process. If your baby has a broken or fractured bone, they may show the following symptoms: swelling around the injured bone; signs of pain and discomfort (such as crying); and inability to move the injured limb. Clavicle fractures are one of the most common birth injuries.
In rare cases, the child will need surgery to correct the injury. If a fracture happens at the end of a bone, it may impede the growth of the bone. Fortunately, most babies with neonatal broken or fractured bones make a full recovery with the right medical treatment.