Birth trauma occurs more frequently in Florida than in the majority of other states. Due to technological advances in medical science, most natural causes of birth complication can be treated. Therefore, when injuries occur, they generally involve negligence on the part of the physician. Here are some of the birth injuries in Florida that are fairly common.

Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s palsy is a condition in which there is an injury to the brachial plexus

The brachial plexus comprises the nerves around the shoulder. Erb’s palsy is also referred to as brachial palsy, Erb-Duchenned paralysis or Klumpke paralysis. The condition differs from other forms of palsy, such as athetoid cerebral palsy, and is marked by weakness or paralysis of the arm. It causes different amounts of impairment. When the upper arm is the sole part of the limb that is affected, the disorder is merely referred to as a brachial plexus injury.

The condition is called Erb’s paralysis when it has an effect on the motion of the upper arm and rotation of the lower arm. If the condition impacts the hand, it is referred to as Klumpke paralysis, in which the eyelid can hang down on the side opposite to that of the affected hand.

Erb’s palsy is caused by a nerve injury. In a difficult delivery, there can be an injury to the brachial nerves if the baby’s neck and head are pulled to the side when the shoulders leave the birth canal. In addition, excessive pulling on the shoulders while the baby exits the birth canal head first can cause a brachial nerve injury. In a breech birth, in which the feet exit first, the arms are generally raised, and could be injured because of undue pressure.

However, due to improvements in delivery methods, several injuries to the brachial plexus can be prevented. Babies whose weight is larger than normal have a higher risk of suffering this type of injury. A breech birth also places the baby at higher risk of injury.

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 a neurological disorder that is caused by a brain injury or malformation that takes place at a time when the child’s brain is developing. Cerebral palsy mainly affects the motion of the body and coordination of muscles, and is marked by a loss of, or damage to, motor function. The cause of cerebral palsy is brain damage, which results from injury to the brain or abnormal development of the brain that takes place before, during or right after birth.

HEAD TRAUMA


Through difficult or assisted delivery

ABNORMAL DEVELOPMENT


At any time during the pregnancy

INFECTION


That can occur any time during pregnancy

LACK OF OXYGEN


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

Cerebral palsy can have lifetime consequences

The severity of the disorder varies from patient to patient

Cerebral palsy impacts motion of the body, control and coordination of muscles, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. In addition, it can affect fine motor skills, which are small actions, as well as gross motor skills, which are large movements the baby makes with the arms, legs, feet or the entire body. It can also have an effect on oral motor functioning.

Research studies indicate that most cases of cerebral palsy are caused by abnormal brain development or damage to the brain before birth or at the time of labor and delivery. Among the risk factors that could give rise to cerebral palsy are medical malpractice, negligence, injury, infections, abuse and accidents.

Brachial Plexus Palsy

Brachial plexus palsy is a condition in which there is a loss of motion in, or weakness of, the arm. It takes place when the brachial plexus, or the group of nerves surrounding the shoulder, are injured at birth. The nerves of the brachial plexus can suffer injury at the time of a difficult delivery. Among the potential causes of injury are:

Brachial plexus injuries generally affect only the upper arm. Among the factors that add to the risk of brachial plexus palsy are:

The symptoms of brachial plexus palsy can be observed immediately or shortly after birth. They could include:

Spina Bifida

Spina bifida is the most common birth defect in the United States that causes permanent disability.

The literal meaning of the term is “split spine.” The condition occurs when a baby is in the womb, and the spinal column does not entirely close. Each day, approximately eight babies born in the U.S. have spina bifida, or a comparable birth defect involving the brain and spine. There are four different kinds of spina bifida. They are:

Occult spinal dysraphism (OSD) — Babies marked by this type of spina bifida have a dimple in their lower back. Since the majority of babies with this kind of spina bifida do not have dimples, a physician must determine whether the infant has the condition with the use of certain instruments and tests. Other symptoms include red marks, deeply colored areas on the back, clumps of hair or small lumps. When a child has OSD, the spinal cord may not grow correctly, and can cause severe problems as a child becomes older.

Spina bifida occulta (SBO) — This is frequently referred to as the “hidden Spina Bifida” because approximately 15 percent of healthy individuals have the condition but are unaware that they do. Spina bifida occulta is usually harmless, and has no apparent symptoms. However, there is a small group of people who have SBO, and who experience pain and have neurological symptoms.

Meningocele — A meningocele causes a portion of the spinal cord to go through the spine as if it were a sac that was being pushed out. The sac contains nerve fluid, and most of the time there is no damage to the nerves. People who have this condition could develop minor disabilities.

Myelomeningocele (Meningomyelocele), also referred to as Spina Bifida Cystica — This is the most serious kind of Spina Bifida. It occurs when portions of the spinal cord and nerves enter the open section of the spine. It causes disabilities, including nerve damage. 70 to 90 percent of children marked by this condition have an excessive amount of fluid on their brains. This occurs because fluid that shields the brain and spinal cord cannot drain as it should. As a result, the fluid accumulates, giving rise to pressure and swelling. Left untreated, a person’s head grows too large and may suffer brain damage.

Fetal Stroke

Fetal stroke is a type of stroke that occurs between 14 weeks of gestation and the beginning of labor, resulting in delivery. The condition has been linked to postnatal epilepsy, cerebral palsy and mental retardation. Fetal strokes take place when the blood supply to the brain is obstructed, frequently resulting in the death of brain cells. Injury from fetal strokes can include permanent or fetal injury such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy and cognitive impairment.

Fetal strokes are divided into two categories

1. Hemorrhagic strokes, which take place when trauma injures blood vessels in the brain.
2. Ischemic strokes, which occur when clots close off brain arteries.

The injuries that are linked to fetal stroke are serious. Health care professionals have a duty to provide care in compliance with medical standards to reduce brain injury. Among the causes of fetal stroke is birth asphyxia or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), which is a lack of oxygen to the brain of an infant. The condition can also be caused by a difficult delivery, which can lead to serious brain damage from contusions in the brain. Another cause of fetal stroke is preeclampsia, in which mothers have high blood pressure, which eventually can reduce the flow of blood to the baby and lead to a stroke.

Hematomas

A subdural hematoma is an accumulation of blood situated outside of the brain, usually following a traumatic head injury. After the injury occurs, the blood collects between the tissues around the brain.

When there is an increase in the amount of blood, pressure on the brain starts to rise, thereby causing disorders, including cerebral palsy and even death.

There are three different kinds of hematomas.

If your child has suffered any of these birth injuries, and you believe your doctor or hospital was negligent, call the birth injury attorneys at Chalik & Chalik Law Offices.

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