Birth-injury attorney Jeffrey Killino has extensive experience representing individuals and families whose babies have sustained birth-related injuries, including cranial or spinal-cord injuries. The day that your child is born should be one of the happiest days of your life. This happiness can be thwarted when serious medical complications arise and put your baby’s health at risk. When a doctor or medical professional fails to handle the situation properly, your infant may suffer injuries or illnesses that can lead to permanent disability. In the worst cases, mishandled childbirth complications may result in death.
If your child has suffered a cranial or spinal-cord birth-injury as a result of someone’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation in a medical malpractice action. Contact birth-injury and cranial and spinal-cord injury lawyer Jeffrey Killino at 877-875-2927 to learn more about your legal options.
Cranial / Spinal Cord Injury
The spinal cord, which extends from the base of the brain down the middle of the back to the waist area, is the major area of nerves that carry nerve impulses to and from the brain to the rest of the body. Injuries to the cranial or spinal-cord injury may occur during childbirth as result of the mechanical forces associated with birth trauma, such as compression, traction, and torque. A spinal-cord injury often causes permanent disability or loss of movement (paralysis) and sensation below the site of the injury. Standard delivery protocol includes grasping, pulling, and rotating the infant’s head during birth. When forceps are used to aid delivery, serious spine injuries can occur, the diagnosis of which may be delayed until after birth or missed altogether.
Signs and Symptoms of Cranial or Spinal-cord Injury
Common symptoms of cranial or spinal-cord injuries include the following:
- Breathing problems
- Hypothermia/endocrine dysfunction
- Scalp swelling
- Skull fractures
- Weak cry
- Loss of movement
- Loss of sensation, including the ability to feel heat, cold, and touch
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
Legal Liability for Cranial and Spinal-Cord Birth Injuries
The negligence of medical professionals during childbirth may result in an infant’s cranial or spinal-cord injury. Several factors may contribute to the risk of such injuries, some of which may be detected during the mother’s pregnancy. When an obstetrician fails to recognize and properly respond to such risk factors, that failure may result in a cranial or spinal-cord injury during childbirth for which the physician may be held liable in a medical-malpractice action.
Negligence during Mother’s Pregnancy
An obstetrician’s failure to diagnosis certain conditions that arise during a woman’s pregnancy may be found to constitute a cause of a baby’s cranial or spinal-cord injury during childbirth. A physician’s failure to diagnose a breech-position fetus, for example, may lead to such an injury.
According to an article published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), 70% of spinal injuries at birth result from breech deliveries. An obstetrician who fails to recognize the likelihood of a breech birth and take steps to manage this complication—such as ordering a Caesarean delivery rather than a vaginal birth—the physician’s conduct may be found to constitute actionable negligence and liability for damages in a medical malpractice action if a child suffers a cranial or spinal-cord injury as a result of a breech birth.
Negligence during Labor and/or Delivery
The negligence of a physician or other medical personnel during a woman’s labor and delivery of her child may also cause a child’s cranial or spinal-cord injury. If a vacuum device is used to aid a vaginal delivery, for example, and the device is negligently employed, the baby may develop intracranial hemorrhaging as a result. The medical professional whose negligent use of the device caused the baby’s cranial injury may be found liable for the damages suffered by the child in a medical negligence action.
Spinal-cord injuries may also result from too-vigorous or aggressive pulling on a baby’s head and neck during childbirth. If a medical professional’s pulling and yanking of a baby’s head and/or neck during childbirth is found to have been a breach of the duty of care required of a medical professional in the same or similar circumstances and is also found to have been a cause of the baby’s spinal-cord injury, the medical professional may be found liable in a medical malpractice action for the child’s resulting spinal-cord injury.
If a physician’s too-vigorous pulling on a baby’s head or neck is due to shoulder dystocia, the physician’s failure to order a Caesarian delivery when one was indicated may also be found to constitute negligence as well as a cause of the baby’s spinal-cord injury.
If your child has suffered a cranial or spinal-cord birth injury as a result of medical negligence, contact experienced birth-injury and cranial and spinal-cord injury attorney Jeffrey Killino at (877) 875-2927 or fill out and submit the email form below. One of our experienced birth-injury lawyers will contact you promptly to discuss your legal options.