How do Birth Injuries Happen in New Jersey?

NJ Birth Injury Lawyers Explain Causes of Birth Trauma

New Jersey Birth Injury Causes

Birth injuries can occur for a variety of reasons but they are often preventable. In fact, medical negligence contributes to the occurrence of birth injuries far more than one might think. Many times, doctors fail to identify or appropriately manage risk factors that increase the likelihood that a birth injury may occur. In other cases, failure to recognize that a baby is in distress prior to delivery can cause oxygen deprivation, brain damage, Cerebral Palsy, and even death. Read on to learn more about some of the potential causes of birth injuries and how negligence of an obstetrician, nurse, or other medical professional can lead to a birth injury.

If you suspect a doctor or other medical professional’s mistake caused harm to your child in New Jersey, contact our highly experienced NJ birth injury attorneys for a free case evaluation. We will listen to the circumstances of your specific case and discuss your potential grounds for a birth injury claim. A member of our team is available to assist you immediately. Call (866)-708-8617 or send us an email to schedule your free consultation.

Potential Causes of Birth Injuries

There are some circumstances often associated with birth injury occurrence. By being aware of these potential scenarios, planning for, and immediately identifying them when they arise, doctors can often avoid birth injuries and their devastating consequences.

Failure to Recognize Fetal Distress

Physicians and medical staff must regularly monitor the status of the baby while it is in the womb. Throughout the labor and delivery process, doctors should use a fetal heart rate monitor to remain consistently aware of the level of stress being placed on the baby’s heart. If they identified that the baby is in distress, immediate action must be taken to alleviate this condition because it is generally associated with lack of oxygen, also known as perinatal asphyxia. The baby’s heart must deliver adequate blood and oxygen to the brain. Otherwise, their brain cells will begin to die, causing irreversible brain damage. Often, fetal distress requires an emergency C-section. Failure to recognize or adequately respond to fetal distress may result in a host of serious conditions, including hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).

Failure to Identify or Manage Risk Factors for Difficult Birth

Some of the most common causes of birth injuries can be avoided through appropriate planning. Your doctor must be aware of the risk factors associated with your specific pregnancy and make a plan of action to ensure a successful labor and delivery. Complicated births do happen. For example, in cases involving cephalopelvic disproportion, the size and shape of the baby’s head makes its unable to pass through the birth canal. In post-term pregnancies or those involving gestational diabetes, the baby may be too large to be deliver vaginally. In still other cases, failure to assess the baby’s position in the womb leads to a birth injury (for example, breech presentation).

Umbilical Cord Problems

Before you give birth, it is essential that your doctor understands the condition of the umbilical cord. Birth injuries often arise when doctors fail to quickly respond to problems with the umbilical cord. For example, in the case of umbilical cord prolapse, the umbilical cord exits the womb before the baby, thus cutting off the flow of blood and oxygen to the baby. In other cases, the umbilical cord becomes wrapped around the baby’s neck. This is called a nuchal cord. Although nuchal cords occur in approximately 20 to 30 percent of all pregnancies and some do not cause any problems, doctors must identify if a nuchal cord is causing depleted oxygen or blood flow and take action immediately.

Failure to Diagnose Infection

Mothers should be tested for a variety of infections during pregnancy, including the group B strep infection and meningitis. Doctors must diagnose and treat maternal infections because they can transmitted from the mother through the bloodstream or placenta to the developing fetus. Sometimes, infection can be transferred from the mother during the actual delivery of the child through the birth canal. Failure to diagnose and treat infection can cause serious illness once the baby is born.

Medication Errors

In some cases, doctors will administer drugs like Pitocin or Cytotec to induce labor or speed-up the progression. While these medications have been used for many years, they also bear significant risks. The purpose of Pitocin, which is the synthetic version of oxytocin, is to induce contractions or speed them up. Oxytocin is the natural hormone that your body produces to accomplish this. However, when too much Pitocin is administered, contractions can become too strong or occur too frequently. The potential consequences of medication errors with labor-inducing drugs include uterine rupture, fetal distress, oxygen deprivation, and even wrongful death.

Errors with Forceps or Vacuum Extractors

When doctors attempt to deliver a child naturally through the birth canal and confront some difficulty, they may perform what is known as an “assisted delivery.” The tools and techniques associated with assisted delivery are highly complex and must be employed accurately in order to prevent serious birth injury. For example, birth injuries can occur when doctors improperly place the vacuum extractor on the baby’s head. Errors with the use of forceps can also cause injuries when doctors pull too hard or compress one of the baby’s nerves. Brachial plexus injuries are common with assisted deliveries and may result in Erb’s Palsy.

Contact our New Jersey Birth Trauma Lawyers for More Information about Birth Injury Causes

In order to ensure a successful childbirth, it is the responsibility of doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to plan and execute correctly. When complications occur during labor or delivery, it is also incumbent upon them to take immediate and appropriate measures to alleviate potential risks to the mother and child. If doctors and their staff fail to do this, they can be held accountable for their negligence. Contact our birth injury attorneys in New Jersey and New York to discuss your specific birth injury case and learn more about the legal avenues available to you. The consultation is always free so call now at (866)-708-8617. 

From our offices in Newark and Manhattan, we regularly advocate for birth injury victims and families in Essex County, Bergen County, Monmouth County, Somerset County, Hudson County, and throughout New Jersey and New York.

Resource: Managing Complications in Pregnancy and Childbirth: A guide for midwives and doctors, World Health Organization (WHO)

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