Soon-to-be parents are typically excited to welcome a new life into this world. Though advances in medicine have significantly reduced the incidence of the birth injuries in the United States, there is always a chance that something can go wrong during the delivery of a child. Many of our Montana residents may be wondering, what constitute a birth injury and do such injuries fall under the umbrella of medical malpractice?

According to the Merck Manual, a global leader in health care, an accepted definition of a birth injury is any damage that occurs to the baby during the delivery process and passage of the baby through the birth canal. In many cases, babies may suffer minor injuries that resolve on their own without need for medical intervention.

However, in a difficult delivery or high risk pregnancy where the baby is too large, the birth canal is too small or the mother is diabetic, the baby can suffer a birth injury. In some cases, because of ultrasound technology, health care providers in consultation with the patient may opt to do a cesarean section to reduce the risk of injury to the baby.

Some examples of birth injuries include damage to the head and brain due to pressure on the head during passage from the birth canal, nerve damage due to the improper use of forceps, bone injury such as a facture, injuries to the skin and soft tissues and perinatal asphyxia, which can result if a baby receives an insufficient amount of oxygen.

In some cases, a birth injury that leaves a baby with life-long injuries falls under the purview of medical malpractice cases. However, those who feel that the injuries their baby suffered were due to the negligence of a health care provider may want to have the facts of the case evaluated for legal sufficiency.

Source: Merck Manual Consumer Version, “Birth Injury,” Arther E. Kopelman, Accessed Aug. 24, 2015