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Common injuries that occur at birth may be prevented

All injuries or deaths due to medical malpractice are sad. Most would agree however that those that happen to children and babies are especially tragic. This is because they are supposed to have so many years of productive life in front of them. Depending on the injury that productivity can be severely limited.

When the injury that affects a child occurs at birth, it can be particularly devastating. The day most parents so anxiously await can change from joyful to sad in mere minutes. In some cases, the injuries such as a bruise, a scratch or broken bone sustained can be minor and heal quickly. Others, such as Cerebral palsy, can be serious and result in a lifetime of medical care. Additional birth injuries that are commonly seen are Erb's palsy and facial paralysis.

Cerebral palsy is brain damage that is due to the deprivation of oxygen during the delivery. This deprivation can be due to a variety of factors including, a prolapsed umbilical cord or a delivery that goes on too long.

Erb's palsy is a condition in which nerves that control arm and hand movement sustain damages during the delivery. In many of these cases the baby's shoulders make it difficult for the child to fit through the birth canal. The condition may necessitate the need for surgery.

Facial paralysis is another birth injury commonly seen. It is the result of damaging nerves during delivery. Sometimes the only way to repair the nerves that have been damaged is to undergo surgery.

As is the case with many injuries that occur in a medical setting, there are often steps that can be taken to prevent them. It is not uncommon for such injuries to be due to the use of certain drugs, using forceps incorrectly during a delivery or waiting too long to do a Cesarean section delivery.

Source: KJRH, "How medical malpractice leads to birth injuries," Jan. 11, 2012

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