Every pregnancy and birth involves risks. Although most babies are born without any problems, some are born with birth defects or birth injuries, sometimes resulting in permanent paralysis. A birth defect is a problem that occurs while a baby is developing in the mother's body, whereas a birth injury, sometimes referred to as birth trauma is a physical injury that happens when the baby is born. Paralysis or palsy is the loss or impairment of the ability to use voluntary muscles as a result of a disorder with the nervous system. This may be an injury in the spinal cord, muscles, or brain.
Although many birth defects and birth injuries happen naturally, due to no fault of the mother or doctor, some injuries happen specifically because of the actions taken by a mother or medical professional, such as a mother abusing alcohol or a doctor being negligent. When the baby is injured because of the negligence of a doctor, nurse, or hospital, the family may file a medical malpractice lawsuit in order to recover compensation for the injuries.
A baby can be born with a birth defect resulting in paralysis from a number of causes. Medical malpractice may be responsible for this paralysis, such as the case may be if an obstetrician fails to perform an emergency C-section during a difficult delivery or during severe hypoxia where the baby isn't receiving an adequate supply of oxygen to the brain. If the doctor is not careful helping extract the baby from the birth canal during a difficult delivery (or what is referred to as dystocia), he or she may cause damage to the nerves, spinal cord, or brain of the infant, resulting in severe and permanent injuries, including paralysis, brain damage, or even death.
There are different types of birth injuries from medical malpractice that can result in paralysis, and different forms of paralysis that can occur:
Cerebral palsy - unlike many of the other causes of paralysis which involves damage to the nerves or spinal cord, cerebral palsy is not caused by irregularities in the muscles or nerves, but instead by abnormalities in the parts of the brain that control muscle movement. A child with cerebral palsy may not be able to walk or perform coordinated movements at all, depending on the level of severity. Cerebral palsy can be caused by a number of factors including lack of oxygen to the brain of the baby, premature delivery, birth trauma, certain infections, and delivery mistakes.
Brachial palsy / brachial plexus injuries - when the brachial plexus, which are the group of nerves that supplies the arms and hands is injured, usually from difficulty delivering the infant's shoulder called shoulder dystocia, the baby loses the ability to flex and move the arm.
Monoplegia - paralysis of a single limb
Paraplegia - paralysis of the lower half of the body
Quadriplegia – both the legs and arms are paralyzed
Erbs Palsy – paralysis of only the shoulder and upper arm
If a nurse, obstetrician, or other medical professional is responsible for the birth injuries to your child, you may have a medical malpractice case. Contact California medical malpractice lawyer Dr. Bruce G. Fagel for a free consultation. Dr. Fagel is a licensed medical doctor and a leading medical malpractice attorney.
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