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    Birth Injury, Birth Trauma
    Medical Malpractice is one of the causes of traumatic injuries during birth. Monheit, Silverman & Fodera has experience in handling and understanding these complex medical claims.

    The brain is the primary center for regulating and coordinating all body activities. Essential to the regulation and coordination of these body activities is the transmission to the brain of oxygen obtained through air inhaled and exhaled during the act of respiration. Traumatic birth injuries is a broad description which is used to describe both avoidable and unavoidable mechanical and anoxic trauma to the brain of an infant during labor and delivery.

    Anoxic trauma involves a situation in which there is diminished oxygen in the arterial blood supply despite the infant's otherwise-normal ability to carry oxygen. The diminished oxygen in the blood supply may be due to a reduced oxygen supply, respiratory obstruction, or inadequate respiratory movements.

    Mechanical trauma involves some physical act to the body — usually the skull of the infant — which prevents the needed transmission of oxygen to the brain of the infant.

    These injuries at birth may result from inappropriate or deficient medical skill or attention, commonly described as malpractice, or the injuries may occur despite skilled and competent obstetric care independent of any acts or omissions by the obstetrician. The most significant traumatic birth injuries are fractures of the skull and intracranial hemorrhage.

    When injuries at birth result from inappropriate or deficient medical skill or attention, commonly described as malpractice, the injured child may be entitled to compensation for the injuries suffered. If this is suspected, it is important to investigate to determine the cause of the trauma. In order to determine if there is medical malpractice it is necessary that a medical expert be retained to consult with the plaintiff's attorney. This expert should be well qualified to give a medical opinion, and is therefore frequently board certified in the relevant field of medicine. If, after a thorough review of the pertinent medical records and other sworn statements, a physician concludes with reasonable certainty that the action or inaction of the defendant physician was the cause of damage to the plaintiff, it is appropriate to file suit against the physician/hospital.

    The incidence of birth injuries has been estimated at 2-7 per 1000 live births. Factors which predispose the infant to birth injury include an abnormally large body, a disproportionate large skull, a difficult labor and/or prolonged labor, and/or the presentation of the buttocks instead of the head in childbirth. Overall 5-8 per 100,000 infants die of birth trauma, and 25 per 100,000 die of anoxic injuries.

    Even transient injuries which are readily apparent to a parent result in anxiety and questioning that appropriately require supportive and informative counseling by the health providers. Some injuries may be latent initially, but later result in severe illness.


    This informational piece was prepared by Monheit, Silverman & Fodera. If you would like more information on this topic, call us at (800) 220-LAW1, or use the "Do I Have A Case?" button on this web site.

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