Birth Injury – How Does it Happen?

Birth injuries can occur as a natural and unavoidable result of the birthing process or through the avoidable doctor’s negligence, misconduct, or incompetency. If the birth injury is due to the natural birthing process, then an individual may not have a case. However, if the doctor did not conduct himself in a manner considered as the generally accepted standard of care for a medical professional, there may very well be a case to pursue.

The avoidable birth injuries may be a result of a doctor’s use of improper technique during delivery, failure to act in a timely manner, or improper use of a medical device. Let’s explore each of these scenarios in turn.

Improper Technique during Delivery

Imagine a mother has a medical condition that is suspected to create complications during a vaginal delivery, according to most doctors. This mother’s doctor however does not recommend, or require, a C-section. The potential for a birth injury is seemingly present.

If the doctor requires the mother to deliver the baby vaginally, and the child suffers a birth injury as a result of the complication, there is likely a legal claim for use of improper technique during delivery. A child could suffer a number of injuries from such a scenario. For instance, an injury called Erb’s Palsy (or a brachial plexus injury) where the nerves that run between the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand are stretched, compressed, or even ripped apart and torn away from the spinal cord.

Failure to Act in a Timely Manner

Let’s say a mother presents for delivery with a breech baby – where the baby is in a bottom first position. The doctor believes the baby will turn prior to delivery and fails to order a C-section. If the baby does not turn and the breech baby is delivered vaginally, there is likelihood for a birth injury.

The baby could suffer from a dislocated hip – where the hip socket and thigh bone separate. Breech babies delivered vaginally also run a high risk of brain damage as a result of the umbilical cord being unable to supply proper oxygen during delivery.

Improper Use of a Medical Device

Often times natural, unsuspected complications can occur during the birthing process. As a result of such phenomenon, doctors might be required to use medical tools to assist the mother during delivery. Great care must be taken when using medical tools to assist.

When a delivery is not progressing as it should, a doctor may require the use of forceps to help guide the baby through the birth canal. The forceps are applied to the baby’s head in this process. There are considerable risks to the mother and the baby in these scenarios.


We have only discussed a few ways birth injuries can happen with some examples of potential outcomes. We recognize each case is unique and each is such a delicate matter. It is important to have your case reviewed so you are well informed on where your case stands and what the next steps should be. Let one of Johnnie Bond Law’s medical consultants review the medical history and medical records associated with your case. Then we can have a conversation about your potential for a legal claim.

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