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Birth Injury Claims

The birth of your child should be an amazing experience, but here at Grieves, we understand that sometimes things can go drastically wrong. Injuries sustained during childbirth can have devastating, life-long effects on a family, affecting their physical, psychological and financial well-being. Although some injuries are unavoidable, others are the direct result of medical negligence. It is your health professional's responsibility to ensure you and your child receive the best possible care during birth. If pregnancy or labour complications were missed or the care you received was inadequate, the midwife or doctor responsible for overseeing your birth could be held legally accountable for the injuries you sustained during birth.

If you feel you or a loved one has suffered as a result of birth injuries caused by negligence, contact our compassionate team of expert staff now.

We will use our years of experience handling medical negligence cases to examine your case thoroughly and do all we can to help you and your family secure the compensation you deserve.

Types of birth injury

There are many types of birth injury, some of which can result in life-changing illnesses or conditions. Some examples of birth injuries that can affect a mother or her child are:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Erb's palsy
  • Injury to the mother (vagina tears and episiotomy)

Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is an incurable condition that affects a person's ability to co-ordinate his or her limbs. In severe cases, cerebral palsy can also result in mental disabilities. The condition is the result of damage sustained to the brain during pregnancy or birth.

Cerebral palsy is often the result of unavoidable problems encountered during pregnancy or childbirth, such as placenta abruption; however, in some cases, a child's development of cerebral palsy can be attributed to medical negligence during his or her birth. Avoidable negligence that could cause a child to have cerebral palsy include:

  • Delays delivering the child (for example, mismanagement of the three stages of labour and failure to recognise the need for or organise a caesarean section)
  • Incorrect interpretation of CTG traces
  • Allowing high-risk women to give birth vaginally instead of by caesarean section

Erb's palsy

Erb's palsy is a form of birth injury characterised by nerve damage in a child's arm; depending on the severity of the damage, the condition can result in complete paralysis of the affected arm. The condition is typically caused by a midwife or doctor exerting excessive pressure on a child's body during delivery, usually in an attempt to free a baby whose shoulders have become stuck in the birth canal. When a baby's shoulders become stuck, the baby's chest and umbilical cord are compressed, preventing the child from breathing; doctors and midwives have to act fast to reduce the risk of oxygen starvation and brain damage.

In many cases, Erb's palsy is an unfortunate but unavoidable injury, but there are instances in which the condition can be traced back to errors made during birth. Mistakes made by your doctor and/or midwife that could construe negligence include:

  • Failing to refer a woman who is at risk of shoulder dystocia for a caesarean
  • Not following the hospital's guidelines regarding shoulder dystocia properly and mismanaging your child’s delivery

Injury to the mother (tears and episiotomy)

Tears to the vaginal and perineal areas are common during birth and difficult to prevent. Even so, it is your midwife or doctor's responsibility to care for you during birth and minimize the chances of a tear occurring. Significant tears are usually stitched after birth and checked regularly for signs of infection or poor healing. In some cases, a tear may be so severe that surgery is required to fix it properly. Severe tears that are not properly treated may cause severe and life-limiting symptoms such as faecal incontinence, excessive flatulence, fistulas, and severe pain. Women with these symptoms are likely to feel embarrassed about their condition and experience feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety and, in in some cases, post-traumatic stress disorder.

Can I claim?

If you or your child has been affected by a birth injury, contact us today to discuss your case with one of our dedicated clinical negligence specialists. Here at Grieves, we understand that the effects of birth injury can be traumatic, far-reaching and long-lasting. Our sympathetic team will treat your case with dignity and compassion, supporting you through the investigative process and helping you fight for the compensation you deserve.