Broken Bones from Birth Injury
Though few birth experiences are completely predictable, all parents hope their babies are brought into this world with their safety and health a top priority. But babies’ bones are soft and delicate, and sometimes things go wrong during the delivery, resulting in injuries such as broken bones. These injuries aren’t always due to the doctor’s carelessness or negligence, but they can be.
If you believe your baby’s birth injury or broken bones were due to a medical professional’s negligent actions during the delivery, contact the Lake Charles birth injury attorneys of [firm-name] at 337-310-1600 to discuss your case. You deserve compensation for the pain and suffering your baby has had to endure. We vow to handle your case with compassion and help you chart the best course of action.
How Do Babies’ Bones Break?
Babies have very flexible and unformed bones at the time of birth. This quality allows an easier passage through the narrow birth canal. However, some bones, especially the collarbone (clavicle) and the long bones of the arms and legs (humerus and femur), are heavier and fixed in position, which can cause problems during a difficult delivery.
The following factors can result in broken bones at birth:
- Large babies. An infant with an above-average weight or head size may present problems during the delivery. The mother’s birth canal only dilates about 10 centimeters (6 inches), and the doctor or midwife may need to use additional force to bring the head through.
- Wide shoulders. Some babies have “linebacker shoulders.” This can sometimes be detected in a pre-delivery ultrasound, and the doctor may order a c-section. Otherwise, the baby’s collarbones can get stuck in the mother’s pelvis. This situation can be an emergency because once the head has exited the birth canal, the baby must be delivered shortly thereafter.
- Breech position or other malpresentations. Usually, if a baby isn’t in the proper position for delivery, this is seen in the ultrasound and remedied by a c-section, but some babies decide to turn around at the last minute. Injuries can happen during repositioning or delivering the baby in this configuration.
- Use of delivery devices. In any of the situations above, the doctor may opt to use a vacuum extractor or, very rarely, forceps to help deliver the baby. These devices can sometimes cause bone fractures.
Most broken bone injuries heal on their own or require splinting. Sometimes, however, more serious fractures can result in paralysis or nerve damage, and others require surgery to correct. In cases where the delivery was mishandled, or you believe the doctor or other medical professionals were negligent, you should seek legal advice, so contact us right away.
What are Common Bone Injuries?
Most of the time, broken bones are recognized quickly and treated successfully in the hospital. In the cases where the injury is not noticed immediately, problems can follow the parents and baby home. The most common types of broken bone injuries that occur during birth are:
- Clavicle fractures — The collarbone connects the chest and shoulder and is the widest part of a baby during delivery. If the collarbone is fractured during delivery, it can be treated with a soft harness that holds the arm to the chest for a few weeks. The difficulty is that the break is difficult to notice, as there may be no visible deformity. Pain upon touch is the only symptom.
- Growth plate fractures — These fractures can occur if the arm or leg is twisted in an unusual position during birth. The long bones of the arm and leg grow from bands of cartilage near the joints. Although these growth plates heal quickly if treated promptly, failing to recognize the injury and immobilize the limb can result in damage to the plate and affect later bone growth.
- Humerus fracture — The upper arm is a likely place for a break during birth. If the break occurs near the end of the bone, this could also cause unusual bone growth, leading to long-term problems. A broken bone must be set promptly.
Bone fractures are easily treated in infants if they are recognized right away. Most fractures are not serious and heal quickly without further treatment or problems. But if they are not spotted immediately, they can lead to pain and distress for the infant and potential health problems later in life.
Proving Broken Bones at Birth
A birth injury lawyer can help to determine if you have a malpractice case against your baby’s healthcare provider. Some of the common types of evidence that can be used to help bolster your case include:
- X-rays of the body part that was injured
- Your child’s up-to-date medical records
- Documentation of all procedures performed on your baby and the mother
- Expert witnesses who can testify as to the cause of your child’s injuries
Contact a Birth Injury Lawyer Today
If the doctor is aware a bone was broken during delivery, your baby was probably treated while still in the hospital. If you realized something was wrong after you got home, you might be uncertain whether the injury occurred during delivery, post-delivery while the baby was in the hospital, or after you came home.
Don’t wait. If you feel anything is wrong with your baby, seek medical care right away. It is imperative that a broken bone is diagnosed and treated immediately before it has time to become worse.
Proving that errors in the delivery caused a baby’s bone fractures can be difficult. If you suspect your child’s injuries happened during their birth, you should consult a legal professional about your options right away. A birth injury attorney may be able to secure you compensation for medical care, pain and suffering, and other related losses.
All medical professionals owe your baby the highest standard of care. When this does not occur and your baby suffers an injury, you may feel angry and scared. Let us handle your legal issues while you focus on your child. At [firm-name], we want to be your family’s trustworthy advocates during this difficult time. Call us today at 337-310-1600 or use our contact form.