The Trauma Parents Experience When Their Children are Injured at Birth

We all want our children to be happy and healthy when they are born. However, complications during childbirth do occur – and result in trauma for everyone involved, especially the parents. Physical trauma can happen to a mother during labor and her newborn child. When a mother or a child suffers injuries at birth, emotional pain and financial burden falls onto their family.

Modern technologies allow physicians to take necessary precautions to ensure a safe pregnancy. However, when medical caregivers fail to provide proper treatment, severe complications can occur. In these situations, medical negligence threatens the baby’s development and the mother’s well-being.

Common Labor Complications

Thanks to advances in maternal health, most pregnancies occur with few to no issues. However, many women still experience complications during pregnancy and labor, affecting their health and their baby’s health. Women may experience pregnancy issues such as:

  • Infections
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Breech position, or born feet-first instead of head-first
  • Low birth weight
  • Umbilical cord complications
  • Oxygen deprivation
Umbilical Cord Complications

Another common birth complication is the development of a nuchal cord. This term refers to a situation where the umbilical cord wraps around a baby’s neck. Doctors see nuchal cords in about 25% of pregnancies. Thankfully, advanced medical technologies such as fetal monitoring can detect if the nuchal cord causes any damage to the baby. In most cases, it does not cause problems.

To prevent nuchal cord death and injury, doctors use fetal monitoring to watch the baby’s heart rate. If the doctors detect an abnormality, they can keep closer watch and determine if the problem is a cause for concern. If the umbilical cord is too tight around a baby’s neck, the baby will receive less oxygen and brain damage could develop. Doctors can recommend emergency procedures, such as cesarean sections, in these situations.

Monitoring and Detecting Fetal Problems

Doctors can detect many birth abnormalities using an ultrasound. However, ultrasounds cannot detect certain complications. In addition, they may not find problems related to the nuchal cord until after delivery.

Doppler ultrasounds are more accurate than the typical ultrasounds doctors may have on hand, with a sensitivity of over 90%. If a doctor orders a Doppler ultrasound, he or she can provide a more careful monitoring of the baby.

If the doctor does not detect a birth problem until delivery, the medical staff will need to work quickly to minimize damage to the child. For example, a mother will have to stop pushing while doctors attempt to free a baby’s neck from a tangled umbilical cord. If the cord is too tight, the attending doctor will need to clamp and sever the cord to save the baby.

Complications at Birth and Cerebral Palsy

Sometimes, doctors fail to accurately monitor and test newborns for birth complications. Undetected issues can severely impact a child’s health and overall quality of life, leading to conditions such as irreversible brain damage and cerebral palsy.

Oxygen deprivation is a major contributing factor to the development of cerebral palsy. When an umbilical cord wraps around a baby’s neck, for example, the baby does not receive the oxygen he or she needs for their brain to function. The brain cells begin to die off if the brain is unable to receive oxygen. As a result, the areas of the brain governing movement and motor skills receive damage and cerebral palsy may result.

The story of Ollie Lewis in Bristol, United Kingdom is an example of what can happen when doctors ignore nuchal cord complications. Ollie was born at St. Michael’s Hospital to Neil Lewis and Charmaine Malcolm – and received an unacceptable lack of care for his nuchal cord.

Physicians failed to take proper action after learning that Ollie was suffering from an extreme nuchal cord. By the time doctors delivered Ollie, the umbilical cord wrapped itself around his neck twice and he was unconscious due to oxygen deprivation. Hospital workers took 20 minutes to resuscitate the child.

After failing to properly treat Ollie, doctors informed his parents that their son may only have a few months to live. Luckily, Ollie survived the ordeal – but his parents still suffer from psychological trauma from the incident. His mother describes the pain of having to wake up each day, not knowing if it was to be the last day with her son.

Because of the hospital’s negligence, Ollie developed severe cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and blindness. He will require constant care for the rest of his life. In April 2014, a trust branch of the UK’s National Health Service admitted liability for Ollie’s injuries and will pay for his medical care for the rest of his life.

Seeking Legal Assistance for Birth Injuries

If you have a child who developed cerebral palsy after improper monitoring and medical negligence, your child deserves care for life. Cerebral Palsy LLC can assist you in this process. We represent clients throughout the country in birth injury and medical malpractice cases, with significant experience with cerebral palsy.

Contact Cerebral Palsy LLC today and receive a free case evaluation.