We don't think of the physical force of birth as potentially dangerous, but it can put a lot of pressure on an infant. If the birth team believes it should use additional mechanical force, such as forceps or vacuum extraction, it can put even more physical pressure on the baby. In some cases, this can break the baby's bones before he or she is even fully born. More rarely, the doctors may choose to break one of the mother's bones in order to hasten a delivery.
A broken bone on a baby can be frightening and painful for parents. No parent enjoys seeing his or her child in pain, especially a newborn baby, and cost can also be a consideration. If the fracture was to the mother's pelvis, she may not be able to walk unassisted for months, during which she may need help with the sometimes-overwhelming tasks of mothering a young baby. And if a fracture to either mother or child doesn’t heal correctly, the result could be permanent, lifelong disability, disfigurement or chronic pain. In addition to being physically and emotionally traumatic for the family, this can also be very expensive, especially if they don't have health insurance.
If you believe your child suffered a birth injury fracture because of bad decisions by medical professionals, you have the right to hold them responsible for the results with a birth injury fracture lawsuit. The New York birth injury lawyers at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP can help. We are an experienced law firm that specializes in birth injury and medical malpractice cases.
We bring decades of experience in the complex legal and medical issues surrounding malpractice to our cases, along with a philosophy of aggressive representation. We're proud to be able to say we've won tens of millions for clients injured at a birth by negligent decisions by medical professionals. That money has helped our clients get the medical care they need, accommodate their disabilities, make ends meet or compensate them for a permanent, lifelong disability.
Babies' bones fracture when something puts an overwhelming physical pressure on them during birth. Most commonly, this is a break in the baby's collarbone (clavicle) after the child's shoulder gets physically stuck behind the mother's pubic bone during delivery. Because this can cut off the baby's oxygen supply, causing permanent, irreversible brain damage, doctors must move quickly to finish the delivery. The baby's collarbone may be broken by too much pulling by doctors or pushing by the other, or doctors may deliberately choose to break the collarbone in order to complete delivery. In some cases, they might choose to solve the problem by breaking the mother's pelvis instead.
More rarely, the pressures of birth can break other bones in the infant or cause epiphysial displacement of the hip or shoulder, a type of joint dislocation in children.
Because fractures are caused by physical pressure, there's no condition or trait that doctors can use as a sign to watch for. But some conditions raise the chances that the birth team might want to use tools like forceps or vacuum extraction, which put even more physical pressure on the child. They include:
- A larger-than-average baby (fetal macrosomia)
- A small pelvis on the mother
- Diabetes, gestational diabetes or too much weight gain for the mother
- Vaginal delivery of a baby in breech position (feet-first)
Parents and doctors can detect broken bones on infants by watching the way the baby moves. If he or she isn't moving one limb, a bone may be broken. They can also check for muscle spasms, swelling and pain or feel for breaks and lumps in the area. Doctors may want to take an x-ray to confirm that there's a break.
To treat a fracture in infants, doctors are likely to immobilize the affected areas for a week to ten days, by pinning the baby's sleeve or leg to his or her clothes or with a special cast. Fractures of long bones like the humerus or femur can take up to four weeks to heal completely; collarbone fractures heal much faster. However, parents and medical professionals should watch carefully for signs of permanent damage to the baby. Especially in the case of a dislocation or fracture of the growth plates -- the areas of the bone that will continue to lengthen until the baby grows up -- previously broken bones may not grow correctly, leaving the child deformed or disabled.
If someone you love suffered a broken bone during a botched delivery, call the New York bone fracture attorneys at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP at (212) 986-7353 for a free consultation on your case.
WRSH Partner Philip Russotti obtained a $10 Million mediation settlement for failure to timely perform a Cesarean Section. The case was venued in Orange County, NY.
WRSH Partner, Phil Russotti, obtained a $6 million settlement for our client whose child suffered severe brain damage during birth.
We claimed that the baby should have been delivered by emergency C-Section or forceps delivery. He was ultimately diagnosed with cerebral palsy and spastic quadriparesis.
Partner Philip Russotti argued that as a result of this negligence, the child suffered hypoxia which resulted in mild retardation, severe ADHD and social isolation as well as difficulties with fine motor skills.
WRSH obtained a $1,300,000 jury verdict, after a three week medical malpractice trial in Staten Island, on behalf of a 6-year-old girl who suffered a brachial plexus injury known as Erb's palsy.
We claimed that the hospital was negligent for not intervening and performing a cesarean section in light of the mother's failure to adequately progress in labor.