Some birth injuries are the result of unpredictable and largely unpreventable circumstances. Mothers may have medical incidents or get hurt in a car or while working, resulting in injury to their unborn child. However, many birth injuries are the direct result of what medical professionals do or fail to do during the labor and delivery process.
There are certainly cases wherein infants end up suffering brain damage or even dying because doctors do not intervene in time when something goes wrong during labor. However, there are also many newborns who come into the world injured because doctors intervene when they didn’t need to do so.
Labor often progresses on its own
Although women often need emotional support and advice during labor, their bodies instinctively know what must happen. There is chemical communication that occurs between the mother’s brain and the baby’s. There are numerous adjustments that occur in the body as the time of birth approaches. Especially if a woman has never given birth before, her labor could last for hours, possibly even multiple days. It is generally considered best practice to allow labor to progress on its own unless there are signs of distress in the infant or immediate risk to the mother.
Unfortunately, some doctors will take it upon themselves to speed up the process without justification, possibly putting the mother and child at elevated risk of needing more interventions and future complications. The extent of the interventions is also an important consideration. A simple pitocin drip to speed up cervical effacement and help with uterine contractions isn’t likely to produce any major complications, but using forceps during delivery could very easily cause injury to a child’s eyes or neck and tearing to the mother. There are, unfortunately, numerous ways in which unnecessary interventions and poorly-chosen interventions can negatively affect the labor and delivery process for mother and child.
Deviations from best practices may be malpractice
When physicians knowingly take medical steps that do not adhere to the standards in the industry, they may open themselves up to malpractice claims should the situation end poorly. If patients recognize that the decision to intervene in labor or the type of intervention utilized directly resulted in an injury to the mother or her newborn baby, there may be options to hold the physician or the facility where they work accountable for the birth injury that resulted from their inappropriate practice of medicine.
Seeking legal guidance and filing a medical malpractice claim related to a birth injury can help families cover expenses and hopefully prompt consequential discussions at the facility where their child’s injury occurred.