Philadelphia Birth Injury Attorney
The birth of your baby should be a joyous occasion. However, sometimes birth injuries can mar that joy and negatively affect the life of you and your child for years to come. If your child sustained a birth injury due to a medical error or negligence, you have options. The Ciccarelli Law Offices team will fight for you so you can concentrate on raising and nurturing your child to be the best he or she can be.
How Common are Birth Injuries and Defects?
According to the Birth Injury Guide, between six and eight of every 1,000 infants born in the United States each year are born with a birth injury. This averages to about one in every 9,714 people. According to the National Healthcare Quality Report, almost seven out of every 1,000 birth injuries happened to boys in the year 2000. Approximately five of every 1,000 injuries happened to girls. This signals that birth injuries are a common and ongoing problem not only in our service area of Pennsylvania, but throughout the country.
Additional data indicates that the type of hospital a mother gives birth in may increase her baby’s birth injury risk. Hospitals with 100 beds or less are high-risk, as are public hospitals and hospitals with 100-200 beds. The mother’s age, race, and region are also factors. The National Healthcare Quality Report indicates mothers between the ages of 25 and 34 are at highest risk for birth injuries, particularly if their delivery involved birthing tool assistance. White and Asian women, particularly those living in rural areas, are at higher risk of birth injury than black or Hispanic women are.
Types of Birth Injuries
Many types of birth injuries can lead to debilitating and permanent illnesses, disabilities, or injuries. These include:
- Birth trauma: This often occurs if the baby weighs more than 8 pounds, is born before the thirty-seventh week of pregnancy, or is in an unusual position such as breech. Difficult or prolonged labor, also known as dystocia, can increase the mother and baby’s risk of birth trauma. In these cases, the baby’s head, neck, or shoulders can sustain severe injuries such as caput succedaneum or cephalohematoma, as well as broken bones.
- Oxygen deprivation: Also known as anoxia, this can occur for several reasons. For example, a baby can be oxygen deprived if the umbilical cord is wrapped around his or her neck or the placenta separates too soon. Some babies also lose oxygen during their exit from the birth canal. This often leads to cerebral palsy, a common motor disability with varying degrees of severity. Many children with cerebral palsy have difficulty walking or speaking, if they are able to do so at all. Between 30-50% of children with cerebral palsy are cognitively impaired.
- Bell’s palsy: This condition occurs because the baby has one or more damaged facial nerves. If pressure is placed on the baby’s face during delivery, facial nerve damage becomes more likely. The risk of Bell’s palsy also increases if the physician uses forceps to deliver the baby. Bell’s palsy is a form of facial paralysis wherein the eye on the injured side of the face remains open, and the facial muscles on the injured side cannot move. Bell’s palsy may improve without treatment, but often surgery is required, and some people experience varying degrees of the condition throughout their lifetimes.
- Erb’s palsy: Also known as brachial plexus birth palsy or Erb-Duchenne palsy, this injury causes weakness or loss of motion in the arm. This condition can be treated but requires intensive physical therapy.
What Can I Do?
The team at Ciccarelli Law Offices is well versed in birth injuries. If you experienced birth trauma, or your baby has a lifelong disability you believe was the result of medical error or negligence, contact our Philadelphia personal injury lawyers today. We retain a team of medical experts who can help you prove negligence and receive the compensation to ensure your child will have what he or she needs.