Birth Injury Compensation Claim
Giving birth to a child is supposed to be amongst the happiest times in someone’s life. Although the thought of childbirth, particularly for a first-time mother may be a scary one, it is unlikely that they would genuinely expect something to go wrong during their labour process. If you or your baby has suffered an injury during childbirth and you believe that this could have been prevented, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.
In modern times complications during labour are rare and the service that midwives provide in the UK is second to none. Currently 700,000 successful births take place in the UK each year. However on the rare occasion birth injuries to occur, often due to something preventable if the correct measures had been taken. With constant monitoring and medical attention, the obvious risks that mothers in labour face are dramatically reduced.
Types of Birth Injury – Baby
These are injuries that could be suffered by the baby during the birth process:
- Cerebral/Erb’s Palsy – A child can be brain damaged due to lack of oxygen or other complications during birth. Common brain injuries include cerebral palsy, which affects body movement and muscle coordination or erb’s palsy which causes damage to the nerves controlling muscles in the shoulder, arm or hand. Often a failure to monitor the baby’s condition correctly can result in either of these.
- Fractures – Childbirth is a difficult process and a newborn baby is very delicate. Fractures can occur if the correct processes and methods are not being adhered to. Fracture injuries can be highly dangerous, particularly those to the skull; a highly sensitive area during a baby’s first year.
- Scarring – In some cases a baby will become distressed during birth, leading to the decision that it needs to be pulled out using forceps or other tools. This should only be done if completely necessary and carried out by a trained professional. Sometimes this procedure can go wrong, leading to scarring to the baby’s face or head or even causing damage to the nerves.
- Umbilical Cord Complications – The umbilical cord delivers oxygen to the baby throughout the pregnancy. If this becomes compressed during childbirth the baby’s oxygen supply can be cut off leading to brain damage. It also has the potential to get caught around the baby’s neck.
Types of Birth Injury – Mother
The following are injuries that a mother could suffer during her labour/pregnancy:
- Caesarean Complications – Some mothers may choose to deliver their baby this way, whilst others may be forced to due to any number of complications that arise. Caesareans carry risks and if they are not carried out properly and with care they can lead to heavy, excessive bleeding and/or infection.
- Episiotomy – This procedure enlarges the vagina to make it slightly easier for the mother during childbirth. A number of women have this but it can lead to complications if not done correctly, including excessive bleeding and infection.
- Infections – An infection can be picked up if there are poor levels of hygiene at the hospital and the best way for these to be avoided is for hospital staff to wash their hands regularly. Infections can be extremely dangerous and sometimes have fatal consequences.
- Pre-eclampsia – Occurs during pregnancy and is a build up of protein levels in the urine. It is important for this to be monitored and managed throughout the pregnancy as failure to do so can result in serious injury and sometime death.
- Vaginal Tears – The skin or muscle around the vagina can tear if under intense pressure, such as what it experiences during childbirth. Common causes for vaginal tears include the baby’s head being large, or the baby is facing the wrong direction (feet first).
Making a Medical Negligence Birth Injury Claim
Although there is a high likelihood that a birth will go fine, statistics suggest that 0.7% of babies suffer an injury during their birth; equating to 7 in every 1000 newborns. This number would be reduced even further if it wasn’t for the negligent actions of a small number of doctors and midwives.
Medical professionals, including those in the NHS have a duty of care to all patients. If you feel that you have suffered medical negligence during your birth or pregnancy we may be able to help you make a birth injury claim for compensation. By calling Ashley Ainsworth our friendly, professional staff can help guide you through the process of claiming what you are entitled to following what is likely to be a traumatic time for you and your family.