- Birth injury bone fractures can happen to your little one in the process of labor or birth. Thankfully, it's a relatively common issue, so doctors know how to treat it - but it's important to be aware
The last things that parents would want their children to experience are broken bones and fractures. While these types of injuries usually don’t bring a major worry to become life-threatening, they, unfortunately, can happen to anyone, regardless of age. They’re especially common in infants during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. That’s because infants’ bones and skin are still extremely fragile.
Light bruising is actually a normal part of many cases of delivery. However, broken bones and fractures typically indicate that something wrong has happened during the delivery process. It’s something that could’ve been prevented.
What Causes Birth Injury?
The baby’s size or their position during labor and delivery are some of the reasons why birth injury occurs. In some cases, a medical negligence on the part of the healthcare providers may cause the injury. When the physician’s conduct has fallen short of what’s accepted in terms of medical standards, it’s best to establish medical negligence with the help of reputable birth injury law firms, like Salvi Schostok & Pritchard for a successful injury claim.
Below are the common fractures and injuries that infants experience during childbirth.
- Clavicle Fracture
The fracture or break of the clavicles (collarbone) in infants is a fairly common injury. This type of injury is more likely to occur during birth. Most injuries to the cervical spine and the neck result in the baby developing mild pain and instability. The most common symptoms of this type of injury include neck stiffness, pain when moving the neck and shoulder, neck pain, and, sometimes, weakness. This injury can be very debilitating because it causes a lot of restrictions in the infant’s activities as it limits their movements.
The good news is that clavicle fractures seldom cause a noticeable deformity to the child. These injuries will also heal by applying simple treatments, like strapping the baby’s arm to the chest. Since the bones of infants heal quickly, treatment may only be required for a few weeks.
- Erb’s Palsy
Erb’s palsy is a type of paralysis that affects children between the ages of four and 12 years old. It also happens in infants during childbirth due to an injured brachial plexus. The symptoms are often confused with other similar conditions, such as cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, and multiple sclerosis.
While the symptoms for Erb’s palsy may vary from child to child, they include, but are not limited to, difficulty with physical coordination, motor skills, coordination, and balance. The muscles of the child’s hand don’t respond well to touch, or even rubbing or shaking. A child may be completely immobile due to muscle weakness in one area of the body. The child may also experience difficulty with walking, climbing stairs, or sitting down.
The nerves can actually heal over time, so the best treatment would be to let it completely recover. However, surgery may be recommended when the injury in the brachial plexus is still evident even after three to six months have passed.
- Growth Plate Fracture
A growth plate fracture is basically a break in the bone. This type of injury occurs in the middle of the individual’s lower back. It occurs when bone pushes against bone when it’s not aligned properly. The most common reason for a growth plate fracture in infants is birth injury. Symptoms of growth plate fractures include swelling at one end of the arm or leg. Growth plate fractures can be treated by simply protecting the fractured area and giving it weeks to completely heal.
- Femur Fracture
A femur fracture is an injury to the femoral bone. The femur is an elongated bone that starts just below the knee joint and runs along the hip joint until it joins with the shin bone at the top of the foot. The femur is made up of several smaller bones and connective tissues.
It’s important to have a qualified physician examine an infant for a fracture of their femur to determine the extent of injury and the need for surgery. A fractured femur can result in severe pain, bruising, and swelling, and can also lead to serious complications, such as infection and deformity of the hip joint. It’s, therefore, advisable to get immediate medical attention to prevent further complications from occurring. For newborns, initial treatment for femur fracture is the use of Pavlik harness for about four weeks.
Medical intervention is important if an infant experiences a birth injury, such as bone fracture. If a fracture or injury occurs at a bone’s end, it may actually affect bone growth. That’s why it requires medical attention.
Note that if a medical malpractice caused the injury, then, it would be best to work with a personal injury attorney to file a claim. To learn more about medical malpractice, you may check this video out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqBbZpj8sHw&ab_channel=Salvi%2CSchostok%26PritchardP.C.
The good news is that birth injury bone fractures and other injuries almost always resolve after treatment. That’s because of the newborn body’s tremendous capacity to heal since it’s still rapidly developing.