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San Diego Birth Injury Attorney


Birth Injury Lawyers

Most parents feel tremendous excitement about the upcoming birth of a child. Many count the days almost from the beginning of a pregnancy, plan accordingly and ready themselves for a life-changing event. For the most part, childbirth is an experience filled with joy and both mother and baby go home healthy. Sadly, when something goes wrong during childbirth the consequences can be devastating. This is particularly true when a newborn is severely harmed because of mistakes made by medical personnel who were supposed to protect the baby’s well-being. Parents who suddenly find their worlds turned upside-down because of a serious birth injury often are unaware of where to turn for help. The birth injury lawyers at The Gomez Law Firm are ready to provide that help. Below is an overview of this issue that will hopefully provide some perspective and context.

Birth Injury Statistics in the United States

  • Nearly 4 million babies are born in the United States every year.
  • Approximately 7 out of every 1,000 children in the United States suffer a birth injury.
  • That equates to 28,000 newborns suffering birth injuries on an annual basis.
  • Broken down further, that means that 3 newborns suffer birth injuries every hour.

Several studies have shown that thousands of avoidable birth injuries occur every year. While some birth injuries are basically unavoidable and the fault of no one, many others are preventable.

Common Causes of Birth Injuries

Given the prevalence of birth injuries in the United States, there is enough data available to be able to identify several common causes of birth injuries. These common causes include:

  • Medical professionals fail to recognize warning signs of birth injuries prior to delivery.
  • The newborn suffers from hypoxia, or a lack of oxygen to the brain, during birth.
  • Medical professionals fail to recognize a large fetus that needs to be delivered via C-section.
  • The child is stuck against the mother’s pelvic bone and prying the child loose leads to shoulder dystocia, which can lead to Erb’s palsy.
  • Medical professionals apply too much pressure to a child’s head with forceps in an attempt to extract the child, thereby inflicting head and/or brain trauma.
  • Errors with medications such as Pitocin can lead to severe injuries to the child or even death.
  • Medical personnel fail to properly monitor the newborn immediately after birth.

There are other causes of birth injuries, but the majority of those listed above could be construed as negligence on the part of those who are managing the delivery process.

Common Consequences of Birth Injuries

As is the case with common causes of birth injuries, there is enough data available to be able to describe common consequences of birth injuries. Unfortunately, many of these common consequences are severe in that they impact a child and his or her family for the rest of their lives. Sometimes the consequences are fatal.

Common results of mistakes during the delivery process include:

  • Cerebral palsy – If the oxygen supply to a child’s brain is cut off during birth, that lack of oxygen can inflict permanent brain damage. This brain damage can result in a diagnosis of cerebral palsy.       Many children can live healthy and happy lives with cerebral palsy, but some suffer from cerebral palsy so severe that they will need a lifetime of nearly constant care.
  • Erb’s palsy – As mentioned above, damage to the shoulder area during birth can lead to significant damage to the child. Specifically, if the nerves are damaged, a child may ultimately be unable to move his or her arm in some way. Severity of Erb’s palsy varies, as some children suffer from periodic involuntary movements while others may lose function in the affected arm.
  • Brain hemorrhage – Some birth injuries involve a skull fracture or other trauma to the head that can lead to bleeding in the brain. Brain bleeds are dangerous for people of any age, but particularly for someone as vulnerable as a newborn whose brain is in a precarious stage of development. Long-term consequences of a brain hemorrhage are very difficult to predict, but they can be fatal.

Potential Costs of a Birth Injury

If a child suffers a birth injury that will require ongoing care throughout his or her lifetime, the costs of that care can be exorbitant and untenable for that child’s family. For instance, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, studied the costs of raising a child with cerebral palsy. Overall, those costs are 26 times that of the costs of raising a child who does not suffer from that condition. In addition, children who suffer severe birth injuries may need the following:

  • Ongoing medical care and oversight
  • Ongoing physical therapy
  • Regular speech therapy
  • Special equipment for mobility such as a wheelchair
  • A redesigned home with equipment such as ramps
  • Special vehicles for routine transportation

Even if a family has health insurance, the out-of-pocket costs can and often do rise to a level where people cannot manage them reasonably. These losses do not take into account the pain, suffering and stress that accompanies these situations. That’s why parents of a child who suffers a birth injury because of the negligence of others need to seek the help of birth injury lawyers as soon as possible.


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