Understanding Your Rights in Oregon: Baby Broken Bones During Delivery
The birth of a child is supposed to be a time of great joy for the parents and family members. It is the moment they’ve been waiting for for several months to meet their baby. Unfortunately, there are times when labor and delivery of a child is not the most joyous of moments. This can happen when complications occur during the labor and delivery that harm the mother or child. One very common birth complication is the breaking of a bone during delivery. This is actually hard to do given a baby’s softer, more flexible bones. Thus, baby broken bones during delivery in Oregon could be the result of serious medical malpractice. Ask our birth injury lawyer in Portland, OR for help with your case if your infant suffered any broken bones.
What is a Fracture?
A fracture is the partial or completing breaking of a bone. Fractures can occur in any bone of the body. Some fractures may require casting, surgery or other interventions, while other types of fractures may need rest and observation. Fractures can be quite painful, especially to a newborn baby. Unfortunately, babies are at risk for fractures during birth when unsafe techniques are used, or the physician makes unsafe decisions regarding the birth of the baby.
Why Do Baby Broken Bones During Delivery Occurs?
Some of the most common causes of baby broken bones during delivery include the following:
- Shoulder dystocia, which is when the infant becomes trapped behind the mother’s pubic bone
- Prolonged labor
- Overly aggressive delivery techniques, including the improper use of a vacuum extractor or forceps
- The baby is in an improper position at birth at time of delivery (i.e breech, transverse)
- Excessive force on the baby during the delivery (i.e. excessively pulling on an arm, leg, etc.)
What Are Some Risk Factors for Fractures During Birth?
- The mother’s pelvis is too small, not allowing the baby to pass through the birth canal during delivery
- The baby is very large (fetal macrosomia)
- The baby is in a breech position
- The baby is is transverse position
- Mother has gestational diabetes
What Types of Fractures May Occur During Birth?
If improperly handled, the baby has the risk of breaking many different bones. Bones commonly fractured during labor including the following:
- Clavicle Fracture – The clavicle is also known as the collar bone. It is the bone that connects the sternum to the shoulder. This type of fracture is noticeable because the baby will often fail to move their arm on that side. The baby will appear in pain, especially when that arm is touched or if the baby is lifted from under their arms
- Linear Skull Fracture – This type of skull fracture is a non-depressed fracture that is associated most often with the parietal brain region. This type of skull fracture is quite serious because it often causes swelling of the brain, leading to the potential for brain damage or other complications. Additionally, babies with this type of skull fracture are at risk for epidural hematoma. This type of fracture is often caused by improper use of delivery instruments (i.e. vacuum extractor).
- Depressed Skull Fracture – This type of fracture occurs the calvarial bones buckle inwardly. The calvarial bones make what is known as the skullcap. This occurs when the skullcap is inwardly crushed towards the brain, creating a visible depression. This type of skull fracture is often due to improper use of instruments during delivery. Babies with this type of skull fracture are at risk for intracranial hemorrhage, which is quite dangerous especially if left undetected and treated
- Occipital Osteodiastasis – This is a rare type of birth trauma that often is caused by excessive pressure in the sub occipital region of the skull during delivery, causing a traumatic lesion. This type of injury can cause a subdural hemorrhage and laceration of the cerebellum. This type of injury can cause a great deal of neurological abnormalities as well as impairment of psychomotor development
- Femur Fractures – A femur fracture occurs when there is a break of the thigh bone that extends from the hip to the knee. This may occur when the baby’s leg is twist or contoured while coming out of the birth canal. Babies with this type of fracture will often show pain when they are moved or even at rest. Babies with this type of fracture may need something called a Pavlik harness to keep the hip stabilized within the hip joint
- Growth Plate Fractures – A growth plate fracture occurs when cartilage that is around the end of the bone (i.e. leg, fingers, forearm, etc) become oddly twisted during the delivery. Babies with this type of fracture will have swelling at the end of a leg or arm bone. There are complications that can occur from a growth plate fracture, which can cause issues with mobility and potentially lifelong disability if not detected in a timely manner
- Humerus Fracture – This type of break occurs when there is a fracture of the upper arm bone. This can be caused by the baby becoming lodged in the birth canal. Babies with this type of fracture will often appear in pain, especially when the affected arm is moved. They may fail to use the affected arm due to pain.
How Can Bone Fractures During Birth and Complications From These Fractures be Caused by Medical Malpractice?
While there are times when a fracture may be inevitable, there are many times when the fracture is due to a physician or other healthcare provider’s error. Examples of medical malpractice related bone fractures and their complications include the following:
- Failing to check the position of the infant at time of delivery, therefore allowing the vaginal birth of a baby in an incorrect position for a vaginal birth
- Opting for a vaginal birth when a c-section is indication
- Misuse of delivery tools, such as vacuum extractor and forceps
- Failing to identify that a mother’s pelvis while not be able to birth the baby vaginally, thus needing a c-section
- Failing to opt for a c-section when the baby is far too large to be birthed vaginally
- Improper handling of the baby during delivery, leading to a bone fracture (i.e. excessive pulling or twisting of limbs)
- Unsafe use of Pitocin, a labor inducing drug
- Prolonged labor, in which a c-section should have occurred
Ask our Birth Injury Lawyer for Baby Broken Bones During Delivery in Oregon
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice contact the Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form. We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.
Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles, St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.
We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take medical malpractice cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.