About 4% of the babies will have some type of birth injury in which damage is caused to the baby’s body before, during or shortly after delivery The injuries can vary from minor to severe and from temporary to permanent and may include paralysis, fractured bones, brain damage and nerve disruption. Oxygen deprivation and mechanical trauma can occur when the baby assumes an unusual position or when the baby is too large. Although infant mortality rates have been substantially reduced over the centuries there is still a significant risk of death to a child particularly during a traumatic birth. These injuries are most often caused by induced or operative delivery, rather than a natural spontaneous delivery.
Many of these injuries are caused by medical negligence with the most common injuries being;
broken collar bone
brachial plexus palsy
In addition to injuries caused during delivery there is also a group of problems known as neonatal conditions that can affect children in the days immediately following birth which include
Obstetric Cholestasis is a liver disorder that affects approximately 1% of pregnant women and often the only symptom that occurs is itching, particularly on the hands and feet. The condition poses a risk of harm to the baby and may prove fatal unless it is recognised promptly and treated properly by early delivery to prevent the possibility of stillbirth. Failure by a doctor or other healthcare professional to properly diagnose this condition can result in a claim for medical negligence if it results in harm either to the mother or baby.
Neonatal Hypoglycaemia is a condition which can cause brain damage to an infant. Doctors often do not recognise the extent to which the child is suffering from neonatal hypoglycaemia and as a result do not take appropriate action to prevent brain damage.
Hip Dysplasia Is a dislocation of the leg from the pelvis and is a frequent cause of litigation. Examination of the hips should be carried out at regular intervals until a child is walking normally. To avoid a claim for medical negligence doctors and nurses should take every opportunity to check a child’s hips and if necessary, refer the child on for specialist diagnosis. Hip dysplasia is often not diagnosed until the child is walking which may have already caused serious long-term damage that requires immediate operative treatment the outcome of which is often less than satisfactory.
Kernicterus and Hyperbilirubinaemia
Are conditions that can lead to cerebral palsy. Doctors should recognise the signs and symptoms of an infant suffering from kernicterus and hyperbilirubinaemia and take appropriate action. Failure to diagnose in a timely manner can result in an action for compensation for medical negligence
MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE SOLICITORS
Specialist medical negligence solicitors can deal with claims for compensation for birth injury, neonatal conditions and obstetric cholestasis. A specialist solicitor will focus entirely on your needs by providing vigorous expert representation to ensure that you receive maximum damages for your medical negligence claim. It is important that a qualified solicitor is involved from the very start of your claim to ensure that you obtain fair and reasonable compensation. A solicitor can help you to preserve your legal right to compensation. Most offer free initial consultations for advice to find out whether you have a good case, how to go about claiming and how much your compensation might be worth. A lawyer will give you clear unequivocal advice about your chances of success and the anticipated value of your claim. If after talking to a lawyer you decide not to take matters further you are usually under no obligation to do so and you will normally not be charged anything at all for initial advice.