A birth injury can refer to many different types of injuries suffered by an infant before birth, during labor and delivery, or shortly after being born. It is a type of medical malpractice, meaning that a health care provider caused or contributed to the injury and the family may have grounds for a lawsuit. No parent wants to find out that their child has a birth injury. However, it is important to be aware of this possibility and to stay alert for possible signs of injury. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are critical for a child’s recovery.
Many birth injuries exhibit physical symptoms immediately after birth. Physical signs of injury can include bruising, swelling or abrasions anywhere on your child’s body. This is especially common on the shoulders, head and face if the child was stuck in the birth canal or you had a difficult birth. These symptoms could point to an injury such as a broken bone. Trouble breathing, seizures, low heart rate and low oxygen levels are also physical signs of a birth injury.
All babies are fussy occasionally, and some are fussier than others. Excessive fussiness, crying, irritability or grunting, however, could point to a deeper problem. Your child may be in pain from a birth injury. High-pitched crying is especially common among infants with birth injuries. If nothing you do seems to calm your child, go to a doctor to make sure that everything is okay.
Newborns have average positions that they take when crying, stretching, and sleeping. If your child is making odd, abnormal or unnatural-looking shapes with any part of his or her body immediately following birth, it could be a sign of injury. Examples include an arched back while crying, one or both hands curled or stuck in a claw-like shape, muscles that seem too stiff or too loose, loose or limp arms, floppiness, and an involuntary pulling of the neck. Issues with muscle tone or structure as your child gets older are also possible signs of injury.
Several types of birth injuries can affect an infant’s ability to properly use his or her mouth and throat. This can result in issues such as difficulty suckling or swallowing as an infant; difficulty eating, drinking, and using cups between 12 and 24 months of age; trouble speaking, being unable to speak, or no speech development at all; and excessive drooling. These problems could be caused by a physical injury, such as a facial nerve injury, or cognitive dysfunction from a brain injury (e.g., cerebral palsy).
Lack of Coordination
If your child has struggled with coordination or balance from the time he or she was born, this could be from a birth injury. These issues are often signs of brain or nerve damage. Common examples include weak or absent reflexes as a newborn; missed milestones for walking or crawling between 12 and 24 months; not bringing objects to the mouth or passing objects from one hand to the other; a lack of muscle control; and not being able to crawl, walk, sit or stand without assistance. A lack of bodily movements in general in your child could also be a sign of a birth injury.
Some birth injuries are not discovered until years later when a child should be learning and developing but is struggling to keep up with his or her peers. If you notice signs of an intellectual disability, such as low memory retention, no speech development, the inability to draw straight lines or circles, or the inability to understand full sentences, see a doctor. Your child may have suffered a brain injury during the labor and delivery process or shortly after birth that impaired his or her cognitive function.
If your child is diagnosed with any type of birth injury, don’t hesitate to contact the San Antonio birth injury attorneys at Hill Law Firm to request a free consultation. Your family may have the right to file a lawsuit in Texas.