Birth injuries happen when an infant is hurt. Sometimes this can happen before birth, after birth, or within the first few weeks of life. Most often birth injuries happen while the mother is in labor. During labor, it is extremely important that doctors constantly monitor the mother and the baby to make sure both are well. This includes monitoring heart rate, oxygen saturation, blood pressure, dilation as well as a number of other factors. Sometimes, natural child birth is not possible and a quick decision must be made by the doctor to deliver the baby by cesarean section. This is a procedure where the baby is delivered by surgical intervention instead of through the birth canal. Many birth injuries occur when the decision to deliver the baby through cesarean section is made too late. In these cases, the baby’s oxygen supply can be cut off, causing brain damage or death. In some cases, the baby can be too large to pass through the birth canal and may get stuck.
Many Missouri child birth personal injury cases have been filed for cerebral palsy. “Cerebral” refers to the brain and “palsy” refers to movement. This condition is the result of damage to the motor centers of the brain. Later in life, the development of the bones is severely retarded. Unfortunately, there is no cure for cerebral palsy.
There are four classifications of cerebral palsy. The first is called spastic cerebral palsy, and this is the most common type. This type of cerebral palsy is further classified into what portion of the brain is injured. What area of the brain is affected determines what corresponding motor development will be impaired. Ataxic cerebral palsy refers to damage to the cerebellum, which causes instability. Walking is a challenge for persons affected with this kind of cerebral palsy. This is also the rarest type of cerebral palsy. The third classification for cerebral palsy is called ataxic cerebral palsy or dyskinetic cerebral palsy. This refers to a condition when different muscle groups having different muscle tone. Muscles are referred to as hypertonia when it is very tight and cannot be relaxed. Conversely, hypotonia refers to the state of a muscle when it exhibits abnormally low muscle tone and muscle weakness. People with this condition are often unable to sit or stand up normally and often have involuntary movements in their muscles. Simple daily tasks like opening up a jar are often too cumbersome for a person with this disorder. Sometimes, a person can have more than one type of cerebral palsy and this is referred to as “mixed.”
It is estimated that cerebral palsy occurs in .2% of all births in the United States. This equates to approximately ten thousand babies per year.
Brachial plexus injuries, commonly called “Erb’s palsy”, occur when there is damage to the nerves that control movement to the arms. Like cerebral palsy, approximately .2% of all births result in brachial plexus injuries. These injuries are common when difficult deliveries result in undue pressure of the neck area of the child. This pressure can be a result of a medical professional pulling too hard on the baby’s neck during delivery. When the neck is stretched, nerves can be damaged or torn, causing the arm those nerves control to become non-functional. There are four major types of brachial plexus injuries: avulsion, rupture, neuroma and stretch. The kind of injury your baby is diagnosed with will determine the severity of the condition in terms of permanent injury and treatment options. To diagnose cerebral palsy, doctors will take x-rays and maybe even an MRI to see if the nerves have been affected. Sometimes, surgery is necessary to correct this problem.
E. Ryan Bradley has over thirty years of experience handling personal injury claims and have a great deal of experience with medical malpractice claims. Contact E. Ryan Bradley today and speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer about your case for free.