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Birth injuries are a common form of medical malpractice

According to recent data, approximately six out of every 1,000 babies born in Maryland and throughout the United States sustains a birth injury of some kind. Certainly, the process of giving birth carries a number of unavoidable risks, so many injuries are not preventable by the medical professionals overseeing the birth. Some birth injuries, however, are simply the result of negligence and malpractice on the part of doctors, nurses, or other hospital staff.

There are a number of improper practices that can result in lasting injury to a newborn following delivery. For example, a doctor can fail to induce a birth or conduct a cesarean section in a timely manner, resulting in a loss of oxygen or similar injury to the infant. If a baby is deprived of oxygen during birth, they can easily suffer brain damage. That damage can, in turn, lead to a diagnosis of cerebral palsy or similar disorders. Improper use of medication during birth can also cause brain damage and resulting diseases.

In addition, a doctor may improperly use forceps during birth, causing facial paralysis. If this occurs, surgery may be required to repair damaged nerves in the face and head.

There are several other birth injuries that can result from a doctor's negligence. For example, a baby's bones may be fractured during the birth process, especially his or her collar bone. In addition, if a baby's shoulders hinder its passage through the birth canal, he or she may be diagnosed with Erb's palsy. In some cases, surgery is required to repair the nerves that control arm and hand movement.

Source: KJRH, "How medical malpractice leads to birth injuries," 1/11/12

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