There are millions of children born each year in the United States. While many of these births are simple and uncomplicated, unfortunately, every year a number of children suffer from birth injuries. Some of these injuries are the result of disease or a genetic condition. Others, sadly, occur because of the negligence of a medical professional. One type of birth injury that may be caused by a medical professional's careless actions is a bone fracture.
The Boston Children's Hospital defines a fracture as a “break in the bone that often occurs when more force is applied to the bone than the bone can withstand.” There are two different classifications of fractures that an individual can suffer from: an open fracture or a closed fracture. An open fracture is more rare than a closed fracture and is also known as a compound fracture. This type of fracture “occurs when the broken bone breaks through the skin.” A closed fracture, by contrast, “occurs when the bone is broken, but the skin is still intact.” There are also a number of different types of fractures including stress fractures, buckles fractures, segmental fractures, and single, displaced fractures.
Fractures That Occur During Birth
There are a number of different kinds of bone fractures that can occur during including, but not limited to:
According to Stanford's Children Health, one of the most common types of bone fractures that occur during birth is a clavicle fracture. The clavicle, also known as the collarbone, can “break when there is difficulty delivering the baby's shoulder or during a breech delivery.” If a child has this kind of an injury, the child won't move the arm on the side where the break occurred. However, “healing occurs quickly.” Occasionally a painful fracture may require the use of a splint or soft bandage.
Femoral fractures are very rare, according to a 2012 study in the Journal of Children's Orthopaedics. About three-quarters of these fractures occur during a vaginal delivery when the child is breech. Other risk factors that can result in femoral fracture include if the child has a low birth weight or, by contrast, if the child is large.
Fractures Caused By Extraction Devices
Another way that a newborn baby's bones could be broken occurs if the doctor uses a delivery assistance device such as forceps or vacuum-extractors. According to a 2009 study, around 5%, or 1 out of 20, of U.S. deliveries uses one of these devices to assist with a vaginal delivery. In recent years, it has become more common to use a vacuum-extraction device than forceps. Indications that an assisted delivery might be needed include if the second stage of labor is prolonged, if the child is in distress, or if the mother is unable to continue pushing. If the forceps or vacuum-extraction tools are not used correctly, then this could cause significant injury to the child including a skull fracture.
Contact A Birth Injury Attorney
If your child suffered a broken bone during delivery and you believe it was due to the negligence of a medical care professional, call the medical malpractice attorneys at Gilman and Bedigian today. Our attorneys have extensive knowledge and experience fighting on behalf of those who have been injured due to another's careless actions. You can call us today at 1.800.529.6162 or contact us online by filling out the contact form on our website.