When a baby is harmed during the birthing process, it can be devastating for families. Birth injuries can range from bruises and broken bones to longer-term damage such as a brain or spinal cord injury. Despite the fact that many birth injuries are preventable, they still happen on a fairly regular basis in California and throughout the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 32,000 babies experience an injury at birth each year across the United States
Some ways that medical professionals seek to prevent birth injuries include the following:
- Determining a baby’s size and position using ultrasound technology
- Keeping an eye on the heart rate of the baby throughout the labor
- Properly determining when an intervention such as a cesarean is necessary
Not all birth injuries can be prevented, but many can be. One common example is shoulder dystocia, when an infant’s shoulders get stuck during birth. Properly monitoring the position of a baby and intervening before it goes too far can prevent injuries such as this. Preventative measures can also help to prevent a large number of the brain and spinal cord injuries that are particularly damaging long-term.
Birth injuries can be emotionally difficult to face, and there can be a significant financial burden. The initial hospitalization and treatment for a birth injury is often tens of thousands of dollars. On top of this, many families have significant care costs that will last for the entirety of a child’s life. This can include ongoing rehabilitation and medical care, assistive technologies and a multitude accommodations. It is therefore typically an important next step for those faced with a birth injury to speak with a California attorney about potential legal options for seeking compensation.