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What Are The Most Common Birth Injuries, And Why?

Many birth injuries result from a doctor or other medical professional’s failure to diagnose or properly address maternal or fetal complications during pregnancy, including fetal distress and cephalopelvic disproportion. Prolonged or difficult labor, shoulder dystocia, premature birth, large newborn size and abnormal birth presentation all increase the risk of serious birth injuries such as cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy. The majority of birth injuries can be prevented if proper medical judgment is followed by your health care providers.

If your child was born with cerebral palsy, shoulder dystocia, or another birth injury, the experienced Oklahoma City and Tulsa lawyers of Maples, Nix & Diesselhorst Attorneys At Law invite you to call our office at 800-539-0652 to speak with our legal team. If you choose to pursue legal action, you could recover financial compensation to offset the lifelong costs of medical care for your child.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is one of the most serious and disabling types of birth injuries. Cerebral palsy (CP) is the blanket term applied to severe brain injury that results in impaired motor and sensory function and other chronic physical and cognitive impairments. Most of these problems occur as the baby is delivered and parts of the brain are injured due to low levels of oxygen (hypoxia). Most cases are preventable with proper medical care and judgment. Other causes of cerebral palsy include brain bleeding, infections, and severe jaundice during or after birth.

Types And Symptoms Of Cerebral Palsy

There are several different types of cerebral palsy, including spastic, dyskinetic, ataxic, hypotonic and mixed. Symptoms of cerebral palsy include:

  • Quadriparesis
  • Abnormal walk or inability to walk
  • Joint contractures
  • Muscle weakness or loss of muscle movement (paralysis)
  • Decreased intelligence or learning disabilities
  • Hearing, vision and speech problems
  • Seizures
  • Severe pain, especially in adults
  • Difficulty feeding in infants, or chewing and swallowing in children and adults
  • Constipation, vomiting and other gastrointestinal problems
  • Increased drooling
  • Slower than normal growth
  • Irregular breathing
  • Incontinence of bowel and bladder

Cerebral Palsy Treatment

There is no cure for cerebral palsy. The goal of treatment is to help the person be as independent as possible. Treatment requires a lifelong team approach, including a primary care doctor, rehabilitation therapists, nurses, and other specialists such as neurologists, rehabilitation physicians, pulmonologists and gastroenterologists. It can cost tens of millions of dollars to provide appropriate care to a profoundly injured cerebral palsy patient.

Brachial Plexus Injuries/Shoulder Dystocia

Brachial plexus palsy is paralysis of the arm due to an injury to the brachial plexus, a network of spinal nerves that originates in the back of the neck and extends through the arm. Newborns often sustain brachial plexus injuries from problems during birth, such as shoulder dystocia and prolonged labor. If an infant’s shoulders get wedged within the birth canal, the force used to pull the baby free also can damage the nerves in the brachial plexus. Most often, the upper nerves are injured, a condition called Erb’s palsy. Total brachial plexus birth palsy occurs when both the upper and lower nerves are damaged.

Effects Of Brachial Plexus Injuries

Severe cases of brachial plexus palsy result in a baby having complete lack of movement and feeling in his or her arm, muscle atrophy, permanent disability, and severe pain. How well a child recovers from a serious brachial plexus injury depends on a number of factors, including his or her age and the type, location and severity of the injury. Even with surgery, some people experience permanent disability, ranging from weakness in the hand, shoulder or arm to paralysis.

Contact Maples, Nix & Diesselhorst

Maples, Nix & Diesselhorst focuses on the litigation of birth injuries, including brachial plexus palsy, Erb’s palsy, cerebral palsy and shoulder dystocia cases. Our Oklahoma practice, serving Oklahoma City, Tulsa and other areas statewide, focuses on this area of complex medical law in order to provide our clients with expert legal representation. If your child has suffered a serious birth injury as a result of medical negligence, call us today at 800-539-0652 for a free case evaluation. You may also email us using our contact form.