Chicago Spinal Cord Cranial-Nerve Injury Attorneys
There are many important nerves in the spinal cord, and if they’re injured, even slightly, permanent neurological issues and paralysis can occur. injuries to the spinal cord and cranial nerve are the most severe types of birth injuries, and they are often caused by the improper use of forceps. Signs of spinal cord injury and nerve damage are usually noticeable shortly after they occur.
Although the vast majority of births occur without any problem, the delivery of a baby is a process that holds potential for serious injury at any given moment. The size of the mother, the size of the baby, the presentation of the baby, and the doctor's degree of skill are all variables that may lead either to an easy and effortless birth, or to a difficult and dangerous delivery.
Risk Factors for Birth Injuries Including Spine and Nerve Injury
- Low amniotic fluid
- Larger fetal head
- First birth for mother
- Low birthweight baby
- Prolonged labor
- Preterm (premature) birth
- Rapid labor
- Use of extraction devices
- Abnormal baby presentation
- Vacuum or forceps delivery
If the baby is constricted in the birth canal and the delivery is difficult or complicated, broken bones, brachial plexus injuries, or brain injuries may occur. Other serious injuries involve those to the spinal cord or cranial nerve.
Symptoms of Spinal Cord Birth Injuries
Although injuries to the spinal cord are not common during birth, there’s higher risk during more complicated births. Breech births and face-first positioning of the baby during delivery are just some of the risk factors for such a birth injury.
Some symptoms of a birth injury to the spinal cord include:
- An inability to move
- Stinging sensations
- Loss of sense of touch
- Abnormal reflexes and breathing
- General weakness
- Bladder and bowel control problems
Injury to a baby's spinal cord may be profound and lifelong when resulting in paralysis, while in other circumstances is minor without any significant impact. Depending on the extent of the injury, physical therapy, steroids, braces, surgery or other medical assistance may help improve quality of life.
Cranial Nerve Birth Injury
At birth, the baby’s skull may change shape to properly fit through the pelvic bones of the mother. As such, the bones in the cranium may overlap or shift slightly through a process known as compression/ decompression. The bones normally shift back into place on their own, but there are circumstances when, due to overly aggressive pulling by the doctor, unnatural shifting may take place. This results in permanent injury to the cranium which will not heal naturally.
Also during a difficult birth, the cranial nerves may become damaged. Damage to the facial nerve before or during delivery may result in paralysis to a portion of the baby's face; or in more severe cases can involve the entire side of the face from chin to forehead. More common damage to the cranial facial nerve often involves just the facial nerve's lower branch around the lips; this damage is most evident when the baby is crying.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits for Spinal Cord or Cranial Nerve Injuries
It is the doctor’s medical and legal responsibility to oversee and manage the delivery process in the best way possible. Even when done correctly, there are many things that can go wrong during delivery. But when a doctor, nurse, midwife, anesthesiologist, or other staff member fails in this duty to meet the standard of care, serious and permanent injury to the baby may result. It is at this point that medical malpractice has occurred and a family should strongly consider pursuing a claim in court against the medical provider.
After all, pregnancy and delivery are all about being smart and planning ahead. A doctor performs an ultrasound not just so that the expectant mother can learn the baby’s sex and have a picture to pin on her refrigerator, but to learn important facts about the developing fetus. Other diagnostic tests and examinations are performed as well during the pregnancy; all are intended to aid in this planning.
The size and proportions of the baby, as well as the mother’s pelvis, are important factors to consider. So too are the baby’s head size, the amount of amniotic fluid, and the baby’s presentation (position in the womb: breach, transverse, etc.). All these considerations should affect the doctor’s decisions. Should the birth be by Cesarean section? Should tools such as forceps or vacuum be attempted?
Do most doctors carefully consider these factors in planning the delivery? Yes. But not all doctors do as they should. When helpful diagnostic tests are not performed during pregnancy, when the doctor fails to properly evaluate the delivery, when a natural birth is undertaken rather than a C-section, or when mistakes of any sort occur during delivery, malpractice may have occurred.
Medical personnel hold themselves out as experts and professionals. But when an injury or death happens for which they are responsible, they should be held responsible. An experienced med mal attorney can file a lawsuit on your family’s behalf to seek justice and to provide financial compensation for your family to help pay for treatments and future medical care that your child’s medical injury will require.
Contact a Cranial Nerve & Spinal Cord Injury Attorney
Regardless of the injury, any problem associated with the birth of a baby is undoubtedly a traumatic event, not only to the child, but to the parents as well. Since 1990, the Chicago birth injury attorneys at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC have been helping families through the most troubling of times. In some circumstances, our attorneys have even intervened with hospitals to accomplish a transfer to more suitable and better-qualified medical facilities. Millions of dollars have already been collected for our client families and no fees are ever charged to discuss your circumstances. Call us 24 hours a day for free information at (800) 996-4824.