Welcoming a new baby into the world should be a time of joy and celebration for parents. While most infants are born healthy, without any serious complications, there are some who suffer birth injuries due to the irresponsible actions of doctors, nurses and other health care providers.

Birth Injuries Can Occur at Many Stages of Pregnancy and Delivery

Doctors and nurses have a duty to continually monitor the condition of the mother and fetus

Birth injuries can occur during pregnancy, the delivery process or immediately after childbirth. Medical malpractice is often to blame. For example, a doctor might pull too hard on a baby’s head while using a vacuum extractor during assisted delivery, causing head injuries. In many cases, taking simple precautions can help avoid birth injuries.

Failure to properly monitor the mother and fetus can result in medical errors that can cause babies to suffer birth injuries. Examples of negligence are when medical staff:

  • pull on the newborn’s head or arm during childbirth,
  • improperly use birthing tools such as forceps or a vacuum to assist delivery,
  • fail to recognize signs of fetal distress,
  • perform improper fetal monitoring,
  • delay an emergency cesarean-section.

Birth injuries can have serious consequences for children

Babies who experience birth injuries may require long-term therapy and follow-up medical care. There are many types of birth injuries that can affect babies born in Florida. They vary in severity from mild bruising to serious injuries such as spinal cord damage that can cause lifelong paralysis. Among the birth injuries reported in the state are hypoxia, brain injuries, cephalhematoma and bone fractures.

Cerebral palsy and shoulder dystocia are two common, serious birth injuries that newborns in Florida may suffer.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is caused by injuries, infections or brain damage

These injuries may occur before, during or soon after delivery

Cerebral palsy is generally known to arise from injuries, infections or brain damage either before, during or soon after delivery. Cerebral palsy can also occur if the infant suffers brain damage due to head trauma, lack of oxygen or is pulled out forcefully during childbirth. Premature babies are especially vulnerable to cerebral palsy. Assisted delivery using forceps or vacuum extraction can cause brain injury when performed improperly by the medical team. It can emerge when a newborn sustains birth injuries related to medical malpractice.


Through difficult or assisted delivery


At any time during the pregnancy


That can occur any time during pregnancy


Due to events in the birthing process that starve oxygen to the brain

Cerebral palsy can have lifetime consequences

The severity of cerebral palsy varies from patient to patient

Different patients experience the effects of cerebral palsy differently. The brain damage may impact the development of a child’s motor skills, muscle control, reflexes, balance, speech and mental health. It can also lead to a lifetime of disability such as paralysis or difficulty moving limbs for the injured infant. Some babies may need minimal care while others will require medical treatment throughout adulthood.

There is currently no known cure for cerebral palsy, but research about its causes and treatments is ongoing.

Shoulder Dystocia

Shoulder dystocia occurs when an infant’s shoulders become stuck in the mother’s pelvis during a vaginal delivery. The complication can increase the risk for conditions such as brachial plexus palsy, Erb’s palsy, facial injuries and broken bones. Such birth injuries typically occur when the newborn sustains severe nerve damage. The network of nerves extending from the shoulder to the arm and hand may become torn or fully detached.

Shoulder dystocia is preventable in most cases. Medical staff are responsible for monitoring and detecting fetal distress so that they can perform an emergency C-section in order to avoid birth injuries to the baby.

It is ultimately the doctor’s decision as to whether a C-section will reduce the chances of shoulder dystocia or if the risks of a C-section outweigh the dangers shoulder dystocia-related injuries.

There are many risk factors linked to shoulder dystocia

Shoulder dystocia can arise if the baby is born feet first or is too big for the birth canal. If the infant is very large, known as macrosomia, doctors may recommend the mother undergo a C-section in order to safely deliver the baby. Physicians may also cause injuries if they pull the baby by the face when attempting to remove it completely from the birth canal.

Although the complication may occur when the mother has no risk factors, the chances of the baby suffering shoulder dystocia are heightened under the following circumstances:

  • when a pregnant woman has maternal diabetes or is obese,
  • fetal macrosomia,
  • delayed delivery,
  • induced labor,
  • epidural use,
  • shoulder dystocia occurring during past deliveries,
  • assisted delivery in which the doctor uses tools like forceps or a vacuum to help the baby through the birth canal.

Symptoms of Shoulder Dystocia

Symptoms include light paralysis of the affected limb, nerve damage, pain in the injured area and a claw-like shape of the hand. The baby is likely to suffer injury to the nerves in the shoulder, arms and hands. The condition is likely to be cured in six to 12 months. However, in severe cases the damage may result in paralysis. If infants sustain brachial plexus injuries due to shoulder dystocia, they are likely to need physical therapy. Surgery may be necessary in serious cases. In other instances of shoulder dystocia, the baby may be delivered safely without damaging the brachial plexus nerves.

Know when to talk to a Miami birth injury attorney

Physicians generally take various medical precautions and measures to help deliver infants safely and prevent birth injuries. However, they could be held liable for any medical mistakes that cause the baby to suffer shoulder dystocia, cerebral palsy or other such injuries.

The experienced birth injury attorneys at Chalik & Chalik can evaluate your case in order to determine whether the doctor or hospital was negligent during the pregnancy and delivery process. We can get you the compensation you need to care for your child.

Talk to a Lawyer Today

If you have an injury case, you have an attorney at Chalik & Chalik. Never pay a fee unless you win.

Call Us Today at (855) 529-0269
We have experience representing victims in all types of birth injury cases in South Florida.

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We work hard to provide quality representation and personal service to our clients, and will fight for your right to recover the benefits you deserve. Call our offices or fill out our form to schedule your free initial consultation today!

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