How Can Infants Suffer Nerve Injuries During Birth?

The network of nerves in our body is essential to everyday activity, as it delivers key messages regarding movement and sensation to the body from the spinal cord and brain. Damage to nerves can cause many types of problems, including pain, loss of movement, loss of sensation, and more. While some nerve injuries resolve over time, others can cause permanent paralysis.

Unfortunately, nerve damage is a common birth injury affecting newborns. Many parents notice their baby’s face might look asymmetrical due to facial nerve trauma, or they might not be able to move their arm or hand due to brachial plexus nerve injuries. Some babies have breathing problems from nerve damage that can paralyze the diaphragm. In any case, it is important to determine what caused the nerve injury to your child.

Common Causes of Newborn Nerve Trauma

The delivery of a child is not an easy process - for mother or child. Sometimes, a baby is not positioned properly in the birth canal for a straightforward delivery, so doctors might try to assist with the process. Such assistance can, however, lead to nerve injuries to the infant.

First, doctors might try to manipulate the child’s position with their hands, which can involve repositioning the head or shoulders, which might result in trauma to nerves in those areas. Doctors may also try to twist or pull a baby to help its passage, though this can cause damage to the nerves in the baby’s throat, neck, face, or even the spinal cord.

In some cases, a doctor might take it a step further and use birth-assisting tools, such as forceps or a vacuum extractor. When a doctor uses such tools properly, the newborn might have minor bruising, though nerve damage should not occur. If a doctor misuses birth-assisting tools, however, it can put too much pressure on the baby’s head and stretch or twist the baby’s back and neck, causing nerve injuries to the face and shoulders.

Stretched or compressed nerves are known as a “neuropraxia” injuries. These often heal with time. However, some nerves can be ruptured, torn, or severed, and the newborn might need surgery to repair the problem. The most serious nerve injuries can result in permanent, irreversible paralysis of the newborn, causing lifelong impairments.

Consult with Our Ohio Birth Injury Attorneys about a Possible Case Today

The Eisen Law Firm believes that medical professionals should be held fully liable for negligence that leaves newborns injured and possibly changes the trajectory of their lives. Birth injury claims are never simple, however, and you will be going up against hospitals and doctors with insurers that work hard to avoid being held accountable. You should focus on bonding with and caring for your child, while we handle the legal process for you. If you believe you might have a case involving nerve damage or other birth injuries, contact us online or call 216-687-0900 for a free case evaluation with an Ohio birth injury lawyer.