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“Okay, another push,” a medical provider instructs. “We can see the head.” You expect that a long, difficult labour is finally nearing its end. But in some cases, the appearance of a baby’s head is not the indication of the end of a delivery; rather, it’s the beginning of a frantic period to deal with a potentially dangerous complication.

Shoulder dystocia occurs when the baby’s head is delivered while its shoulders remain lodged behind a woman’s pelvic bone. While this kind of obstetrical emergency can sometimes occur without warning, several risk factors may increase the likely of the condition and sometimes prompt a medical provider to opt for a C-section birth if the risk is deemed to be too great. These risk factors include: previous shoulder dystocia delivery, fetal macrosomia (large birth weight or size), maternal or gestational diabetes, maternal obesity, induced labour or prolonged labour (maternal fatigue).

If a medical provider is unable to recognize and treat shoulder dystocia quickly or effectively, a baby may suffer brachial plexus injuries to the nerve network between the neck and shoulders. Stretching or tearing of the brachial plexus can cause permanent nerve damage, paralysis and brachial palsies (Erb’s Palsy and Klumpke’s Palsy).

Many brachial plexus injuries are preventable if a medical provider is attentive to risk factors and is closely monitoring the progress of labour. However, if a medical provider’s negligent actions or inaction breach standards of care, a serious birth injury is possible. This is called obstetrical malpractice, and it can change the course of a life forever.

Common Birth Injuries

A birth injury can occur at any point during a pregnancy, labour and delivery, or the period immediately following a birth. Common types of birth injuries can be caused by:

  • Improper testing or evaluation of tests to screen for conditions such as spina bifida (a failure of the vertebrae to enclose the nerves around the spine).
  • Poor monitoring or management of maternal and fetal health. For example, fetal tachycardia (an abnormally fast heart rate) can be an indication of placental insufficiency (damage to the placenta or its failure to grow to support fetal needs) or perinatal asphyxia (oxygen deprivation). These conditions can lead to conditions such as Cerebral Palsy.
  • Prolonged labour or traumatic birth. If there is a lengthy labour, fetal distress may result in potential brain damage from perinatal asphyxia, anoxia or hypoxia (absence or deprivation of oxygen) and meconium aspiration (the baby ingests amniotic fluid containing first fecal matter). Prolonged labour can also lead to maternal fatigue, which can be a factor in brachial plexus injuries from shoulder dystocia or fractures, soft tissue damage and nerve damage from improperly assisted forced extractions.
  • Negligent postpartum care – Even following a successful pregnancy and delivery, if a newborn is not properly monitored in the weeks following birth, common conditions such as jaundice can lead to serious problems. Severe and untreated jaundice may develop into kernicterus and cause neurotoxic brain damage.

Help For Those Who Have Been Hurt

Welcoming a new member to your family should be a joyous occasion. But when a mother, her fetus or newborn has sustained a serious birth injury due to negligent or incompetent medical care, that joy can turn to pain, sorrow and grief. A person who is severely injured or disabled from a preventable birth injury may require expense ongoing care and suffer from a lifetime of loss.

Howie, Sacks and Henry’s birth injury lawyers are ready to help you file an obstetrical malpractice claim in Brant and support you as you seek compensation and damages for this pain, suffering and loss. Our team of experienced, skilled and knowledgeable birth injury lawyers has cultivated expertise to assist you when navigating through this challenging and complex area of law.

HSH clients living in the Brant area can arrange to meet with an HSH lawyer in their own home or at a nearby consultation office. Distance and ability to travel should never be a barrier to accessing high quality legal representation.

As we listen to your birth story with great empathy, you’ll come to understand why we have a reputation amongst our peers for providing compassion, care and kindness to our clients. During this difficult period in your life you should never be made to feel as though you’re only a file to your lawyer. HSH birth injury lawyers will always see you as a person, first and foremost, and treat you with the respect and dignity you deserve.

If you or a loved one have been harmed by negligent or incompetent obstetrical care, choose an HSH birth injury lawyer to be your trusted advocate as you take steps along the road to recovery. With a member of our team on your side and by your side in Brant, you will have hope that there are better days ahead.

Looking to work with a birth injury lawyer in Brant? Contact Us.

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Since 2011 Canadian Lawyer Magazine rated us one of the top personal injury law firms in Canada. Why? With close to 20 years helping accident victims and their families, our firm understands the laws that affect your rights to compensation because we’ve helped shape those laws in favour of accident victims.

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