Facts About Birth Injury
Although birth injuries are rare, they can cause long-lasting or even permanent conditions when they do occur.
The most common form of birth injury is brain damage, which can come from a lack of oxygen (asphyxiation) and cause bleeding inside and around the brain (hematoma). A brain injury can also lead to other serious conditions like cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
There are several other types of birth injuries as well, including shoulder dystocia, kernicterus (caused by untreated jaundice), and bone fractures.
Here are some other interesting facts to note:
- Research shows that birth trauma (another term for birth injury) occurs most often to those living in non-urban (rural) areas.
- Infants that are oversized, born prematurely, delivered vaginally, and/or are from multiple gestation (pregnancies with more than one baby) are at a greater risk of a birth injury.
- According to one study, women between the ages of 25 and 34 experience the highest risk for birth injuries when instruments like forceps or vacuum extractors are used during delivery. In deliveries where there is no use of forceps or other instruments, mothers aged 15-17 are at the highest risk of a birth injury.
If your child’s birth injury happened due to a doctor’s action or negligence, you may be able to seek financial compensation. Contact our team to discuss your legal options.
Birth Trauma Statistics
One study of 34,946 live births found that about 1 in 1,000 babies experience bone injuries during the birthing process, with 47% of those injuries being fractured clavicles (collarbones). Interestingly, another study found that Hispanic babies were less likely to experience birth trauma than white babies.
Birth trauma can lead to long-lasting and even lifelong medical conditions. Cases of severe trauma can lead to infant death.
Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that in about 3 out of every 10,000 live births in the U.S., the child dies because of birth asphyxia and birth trauma.
Birth trauma isn’t just limited to newborn babies — it can also impact their mothers. In fact, one study found that 1 in 3 women experience birth trauma. Another study discovered that as many as 45% of new mothers experience birth trauma.
In many cases, birth trauma is avoidable. In one study, some mothers suggested that if their health care professionals had listened to their patients and done a better job of explaining procedures, the birth trauma might have been avoided.
In fact, 54.6% of the mothers surveyed claimed “lack and/or loss of control” as the top cause of trauma.
Here are a few more birth trauma statistics to know:
- About 4% of births lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to the Journal of Affective Disorders. PTSD is a serious condition that affects both mental and physical health.
- According to a study on mistreatment during pregnancy and childbirth, 28% of women who have given birth in a hospital have reported being mistreated, compared to 5.1% of women who gave birth at home.
- Around 55% of birth workers have witnessed a health care provider perform a medical procedure that the mother said she did not want.
Birth Injury Medical Malpractice Statistics
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional causes injury by neglecting the patient, providing the wrong treatment, or providing poor treatment that doesn’t meet the standard of care.
If a patient suffers an injury that could have been avoided, medical malpractice may be the cause. If the patient is a newborn who was injured during birth, the family may be able to file a birth injury lawsuit for medical negligence on behalf of their child.
The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project found there were almost 157,700 potentially avoidable injuries to mothers and newborns in 2006. The fact that these injuries could have been prevented with proper care is what made them possible medical malpractice cases.
Another study found that out of all medical malpractice claims paid between 2009 and 2014, about 25% of the claims were related to obstetrics and gynecology.
Medical errors are the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. They account for anywhere between 251,000 and 440,000 deaths each year, according to findings from different studies. Families of children who died during (or due to complications during) childbirth may also be able to recover compensation.
Experiencing birth injury medical malpractice can be traumatizing, and it may require expensive and ongoing treatment. If you suspect your child’s birth injury was caused by medical negligence, talk to one of our nurse advocates today to learn more about next steps.
Birth Injury Liability Claims
A new study by Coverys, a Boston-based liability insurer, found that many liability claims involving pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care involve patient injuries of great severity.
Coverys analyzed 472 claims from 2013-2017. They discovered that 80% of cases were of high clinical severity. In fact, the mother and/or infant died in 24% of the cases analyzed.
For cases involving infant claims, birth injuries are typically categorized into the following groups:*
- Neurological or brain damage (41% of claims)
- Shoulder injuries (37% of claims)
- Death or stillbirth (34% of claims)
*Claims involving multiple injuries can fit more than one category.
Birth injuries can have a lasting effect on a child’s quality of life and may require ongoing treatment. Compensation from a birth injury liability claim can help families pay for their child’s treatment, along with other expenses like medication and special equipment.
Birth Injury Liability Causes
Medical professionals are working to identify the causes of malpractice during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care.
Coverys identified these top issues surrounding care during pregnancy, labor, and delivery:
- Miscommunication: Many women have certain expectations about the care both they and their baby will receive before, during, and following birth. It is important for health care providers to address these expectations ahead of time to make sure everyone is on the same page.
- Inexperienced Midwives: Midwives may have vastly different levels of clinical experience because licensing requirements vary by state.
- Poor Monitoring of Fetal Heart Patterns: It is essential for fetal heart monitoring to be included in ongoing training and skill checks. That way, health care professionals know what to look for when monitoring a baby’s heartbeat before, during, and after delivery.
- Poor Management of Labor and Delivery: Coverys found that almost half (40%) of birth injury liability claims involved poor management of labor and delivery. Most of these claims were made after a vaginal delivery (as opposed to a cesarean section) proved to be the more dangerous delivery option for the mother and baby. Medical providers should know when it is necessary to perform a C-section instead of a vaginal birth.
If you think one of these issues caused your child’s birth injury, you may be able to file a lawsuit. Contact us today for a free case review.
Birth Injury Lawsuit Statistics
Health care professionals and facilities are responsible for providing a certain level of care. When medical staff make bad decisions — or fail to make the right ones — they may be held accountable for their actions or medical negligence with a lawsuit.
Birth injury lawsuits help the families of children who were harmed get compensation to pay for medical expenses.
According to a study by The Doctors Company (TDC Group), the average payout for a medical malpractice claim involving birth injuries to children under 1 month old is about $1 million.
The same study found that the brain is the most commonly injured body part in claims involving newborn babies (48%), with the arms being the second most common (19%).
About 95% of personal injury lawsuits settle outside of court, which means families generally don’t have to go through the trial process. A qualified birth injury attorney will do everything possible to guide you through the lawsuit process as quickly as possible.
Get a free consultation to find out if you have a birth injury case.
Birth Injury Settlements and Verdicts
Birth injuries and the conditions that they cause may require lifelong treatment, which can put a financial burden on the child’s family. Fortunately, the Birth Injury Justice Center is partnered with an experienced law firm that has a history of representing families in birth injury cases resulting from medical negligence and improper care.
Birth injury lawsuit settlements and verdicts secured by our partner law firm include:
- Over $13 million for the mother of a child born with premature retinopathy (damage to eye retina)
- $8 million for a child who suffered an injury from a vacuum-assisted delivery
- $6 million on behalf of a child with undetected jaundice
- $5.97 million recovered for a child who suffered oxygen deprivation at birth due to delayed medical care
- $5.1 million for a child who suffered birth asphyxia
Cerebral Palsy Settlements and Verdicts
Cerebral palsy is a permanent condition that may occur when an infant’s brain is damaged before or during childbirth. Treatments can be expensive, but the birth injury lawyers we work with can help get families of birth injury victims compensation to offset the costs.
Here are just a few of the successful cerebral palsy cases our team has handled:
- Over $10 million for the family of a child affected by cerebral palsy
- $9 million for the family of a 5-year-old with cerebral palsy
- $8.9 million for the family of a child with cerebral palsy
- $5.8 million for a 1-year-old girl with cerebral palsy
- Over $4 million for the family of a 7-year-old with cerebral palsy
Erb’s Palsy Settlements and Verdicts
Erb’s palsy is a brachial plexus injury that stems from nerve damage in the shoulder, arm, and/or hand. Although Erb’s palsy is usually not permanent, the costs to treat it can add up quickly.
Our partner firm has won millions of dollars for those affected by Erb’s palsy, including:
- $4.5 million for the family of a child who has Erb’s palsy
- $2.75 million to the family of a child with Erb’s palsy
- $1.99 million for the family of a child affected by Erb’s palsy
- $975,000 for a 6-year-old boy who has Erb’s palsy
- $950,000 to the family of a 5-year-old girl with Erb’s palsy
- $940,000 for a woman who lost her child to Erb’s palsy complications
Working With a Birth Injury Attorney
Many birth injuries happen because of medical mistakes by hospital staff. If a doctor, nurse, or other health care professional does not provide the proper level of care and your baby is injured as a result, you may be able to file a lawsuit.
Birth trauma statistics shed light on how often these preventable situations occur and the pain and suffering they can cause children and their families.
The experienced birth injury attorneys we work with may be able to help you pursue compensation for the harm done to your child. Get a free case review now to find out if you have a claim.