Given the advances in modern medicine, it’s reasonable to believe that most medical procedures will go off without a hitch. In fact, not only is it reasonable to receive such care from our medical providers, but it is expected.
This is particularly true in the delivery room. When expectant parents spend the entire pregnancy taking care of their unborn baby, only for a doctor’s error in the delivery room to permanently harm their child, the injustice can be difficult to move past.
But, why do birth injuries continue to happen in this day and age? We discuss three reasons below.
#1. Undiagnosed Medical Conditions in Pregnant Women
The best way to ensure a healthy and safe pregnancy is for the pregnant woman to receive proper medical care. Such prenatal care involves the diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions she may have.
Common medical conditions that occur during pregnancy include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Anemia: Women with anemia may not produce enough nutrients in their blood to supply the baby with the oxygen it needs. Undiagnosed anemia in pregnant women can cause premature labor and low birth weight.
- Preeclampsia: Preeclampsia occurs when there is not enough blood flow to the placenta. This can lead to a serious condition called eclampsia. When undiagnosed, eclampsia can cause severe birth injuries including cerebral palsy, low birth weight, and more.
- Infections: Any infection that affects the mother could possibly affect the baby as well. Any undiagnosed infection can be passed through the placenta and cause birth defects or other harm to the baby.
- Gestational diabetes: Gestational diabetes is common in pregnant women, and usually does not do much harm when diagnosed early. However, the failure to diagnose this condition can cause premature birth, high birth weight, respiratory distress, and more.
- Placental conditions: During pregnancy, it’s possible the placenta will cover the cervix or detach from the uterus. When these conditions are undiagnosed, they can lead to bleeding, fetal infections, and more.
#2. Failure to Attend to the Mother During Birth
The United States is the only developed country in the world with an increasing maternal mortality rate. One major reason for this is a widespread, systemic way of thinking in the medical industry that doctors must handle as many patients at one time as possible.
The major consequences of this are that mothers are left alone with a nurse during the birthing process while their doctor tends to one of the many other patients they are monitoring at the same time, or mothers are rushed through the birth so the doctor can move on to the next patient.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the majority of women can give birth without complications. However, a “substantial portion” of women undergo at least one medical intervention to speed up labor and delivery, such as being administered oxytocin to speed up labor or having an unnecessary C-section.
Such neglect or irresponsible treatment of birthing mothers opens the door for more errors and injuries to occur.
#3. Improper Use of Birth Assistance Tools
Sometimes, doctors may use birth assistance tools such as forceps or vacuum extraction devices. While this may be done for legitimate reasons, such as if the baby is stuck in the birth canal, it can also be done to speed up a birth unnecessarily.
If a doctor decides to use forceps or a vacuum extraction device, it is vital they use them properly. Forceps, for example, should only be used in the following situations:
- The baby must be delivered quickly due to signs of fetal distress.
- The baby is in an unfavorable position during the pushing stage.
- The baby is stuck in the birth canal.
- The mother is having trouble pushing.
Additionally, forceps must only be used at certain times in the delivery. The mother’s cervix must be fully dilated and her membranes must be ruptured (her water must have broken).
Using forceps without the prerequisite conditions, or using them improperly, can cause traumatic injuries to the mother and the baby. One major consequence of the improper use of birth assistance tools is a brachial plexus injury, which could permanently disable the child’s arm and hand.
Did Your Child Suffer a Birth Injury? We’re Here to Help
We understand how devastating it can be when a trusted doctor or nurse makes an error that permanently harms your child. At Brown & Barron, LLC, we make it our mission to hold negligent medical providers accountable for their actions. We’re committed to restoring lives and restoring justice.
We’re here to help you through this. Call Brown & Barron, LLC at (410) 698-1717 to schedule a free consultation.