Childbirth is one of the most exciting times for a parent. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most dangerous. Parents understandably rely on doctors and hospitals to handle every element of the prenatal care, delivery, and postnatal care with expertise.
Medical Mistakes During Delivery
Because childbirth is such a medically complex process, the doctor and hospital nurses must carefully follow all applicable standards of care and respond appropriately to any issues that come up for mother or baby. Any mistake could cause serious injuries or health conditions including:
- Birth asphyxia: Perinatal asphyxia, neonatal asphyxia or birth asphyxia -- these are conditions that result from oxygen deprivation of oxygen for a newborn during birth causing physical harm and possible brain damage.
- Deficient placenta misdiagnosis: A deficient placenta results in the inability to supply nutrients and oxygen to the infant from the mother’s bloodstream. It leads to health issues for both the infant and mother that can usually be avoided with early diagnosis.
- Cerebral Palsy: Cerebral palsy (CP) is a type of brain damage that can result in severe and incurable mental and physical impairment. Cerebral palsy is often caused by medical errors, such as asphyxia before birth, hypoxia of the brain, birth trauma during labor and delivery, and complications in the perinatal period.
- Shoulder dystocia: Shoulder dystocia occurs during childbirth when, after the delivery of the baby’s head, the infant’s anterior shoulder cannot pass below the mother’s pubic bone. It is diagnosed when the shoulders fail to deliver shortly after the fetal head. Shoulder dystocia is an obstetrical emergency that can lead to fetal demise if the infant is not delivered quickly and carefully due to compression of the umbilical cord within the birth canal.
- Hydrocephalus: Also known as “water on the brain,” hydrocephalus is the buildup of too much fluid in the brain, which causes harmful pressure.
- Erb’s Palsy: Erb’s Palsy is a common and very serious brachial plexus injury known as shoulder dystocia. Shoulder dystocia can result in a partial or complete paralysis of the arm that may be permanent.
- Brachial plexus: Brachial plexus birth injuries are one of the most serious birth injures that can occur. Brachial plexus injuries occur when the baby’s head comes out of the womb and the shoulder gets caught on the mother’s pubic bone. Doctors usually have less than five minutes to resolve the emergency, and if they fail to correct the situation within that time, the result can be paralysis (typically arm paralysis), brain injury, or death.
- Hypoxia: Birth hypoxia occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen. Hypoxia happens during pregnancy or delivery and often results in brain damage. It often contributes to cerebral palsy and other disabilities and can lead to infant death. Many parents do not realize the extent of their child’s brain damage until developmental delays become apparent. Children who have suffered hypoxia experience severe mental and emotional problems, which require accommodations.
- Preeclampsia: A common issue, preeclampsia involves high blood pressure and can lead to damage to the liver and kidneys. Beginning sometime after 20 weeks of pregnancy, a slight rise in blood pressure could be a symptom of this issue. Preeclampsia often results in serious and possibly fatal complications for the mother and child, which is why early detection is absolutely necessary.
- Delayed C-Section: In many cases, delivery must take place immediately in order to protect the health of mother and child. Some common reasons for a C-Section include diabetes, active genital herpes, uterine ruptures, breech infant, and fetal distress, among others. If a C-Section is delayed or takes too long, it increases the risk of birth injury or death.