Birth Injury – UK Medical Negligence Solicitors

Medical complications during labour and delivery can cause a wide variety of problems for a newborn baby. Birth injury is most often associated with induced or operative delivery rather than spontaneous delivery. The main causes which may result in legal action being taken by medical negligence solicitors are oxygen deprivation and mechanical trauma, which can occur when the baby assumes an unusual position at the time of birth or when the baby is too large to pass through the birth canal easily.

If your child has been injured, you need to establish whether the problem was caused by medical negligence. Specialist medical negligence solicitors will assist in protecting your child’s legal rights to compensation. If you would like free initial advice, then just contact a firm of experienced medical negligence solicitors to discuss your claim.

Numerous injuries are caused as a result of medical negligence by doctors or hospitals during delivery. Damage can occur if excessive force is applied during delivery or there is a delay in performing a necessary caesarean section delivery, or if the delivery team fails to properly anticipate the size of a baby. Some of the most common types of birth injury relate to nerve damage usually caused by the use of excessive traction during birth as follows: –

Brachial Plexus Palsy

Occurs when some or all of the nerves of the brachial plexus are affected which may, in the worst cases, cause the entire arm to be paralysed. Brachial Plexus Palsy is often associated with Horners Syndrome and Torticollis. Brachial plexus palsy is caused by damage to the network of nerves that control the muscles of the shoulder, arm, elbow, wrist, hand and fingers. These injuries usually occur due to excessive force being used during delivery, often as a result of shoulder dystocia, which causes tension which may stretch or rupture nerves. Almost 3 out of every 1,000 newborn babies are affected and over 90% of these injuries are caused as a result of medical malpractice.

Horners Syndrome

Caused by damage to sympathetic nerve fibres this injury is often associated with brachial plexus palsy and erbs palsy. Horners syndrome is characterised by a constricted pupil, drooping eyelid, and loss of sweat formation on the cheek or forehead of the affected eye. The sympathetic nervous system automatically controls numerous functions including the amount of sweat produced, pupil dilation and constriction, and damage to this system will affect those automatic controls which may become inoperative.

Shoulder Dystocia

Is an injury that occurs during delivery when a baby’s shoulder becomes lodged behind the mother’s pubic bone and is an obstetric emergency with the potential to severely injure both the mother and child. If the health care professionals dealing with the delivery fail to properly manage the situation and excessive traction is placed on the baby’s head, then severe nerve damage can occur. There are several well documented risk factors associated with shoulder dystocia which a properly trained obstetrician should identify. Increased risks include above average birth weight baby, obese mother and a long second stage of labor. Any mother who falls into the high risk category should be given the option of a caesarean section.

Erbs Palsy

This is a paralysis of the fifth and sixth cervical nerves usually resulting in the arm being turned towards the body, with an elbow that does not bend, and the hand is also often turned backwards. Erbs palsy is the most common and serious injury caused by shoulder dystocia and can vary from temporary to permanent and from minor to severe which may cause permanent paralysis of the arm.

Klumpkes Palsy

This is a paralysis of the seventh and eighth cervical and first thoracic nerves typically causing a limp hand with no finger movement. Klumpkes palsy is often associated with Horners syndrome.

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