What Is A Birth Injury And Why Should The Hospital Be Held Responsible?

A birth injury refers to the injury of a child before, during, or right after the mother gives birth. Unfortunately, there are a wide variety of birth injuries that can occur, varying in severity. The following are some of the more common types of birth injury that occur:

Injury Types

Brain-Related Injuries

Brain-related birth injuries can occur in many different ways. A lack of oxygen is a common issue that causes serious conditions. These birth injuries include:

  • Anoxia
  • Hypoxia
  • Birth asphyxia
  • Perinatal asphyxia
  • Cerebral Palsy (CP)

Muscle-Related Injuries

One injury that is commonly misinterpreted is cerebral palsy. This is seen by many as a muscle-related birth injury, because it often results in the infant losing control of all muscles. However, cerebral palsy is actually a brain-related injury. Other than this anomaly, muscle-related injuries are typically easy to identify — a clinical evaluation can help to identify where the paralysis or lack of movement is coming from. Sometimes, these injuries may result from very obvious forms of medical malpractice, such as bruising, lacerations, or broken bones. Common muscle injuries include:

  • Erb’s Palsy
  • Brachial Plexus
  • Klumpke’s Palsy
  • Shoulder Dystocia

Who Holds Responsibility

Birth injuries are tragic and can have devastating, long-lasting effects on both the child and the family. Thus, it is particularly infuriating when the injury could’ve been avoided altogether with more cautious care. Although no form of compensation can make up for the health of your baby, determining who is responsible for the injury is still important.


A hospital is a corporation, either private or public. Thus, in a medical malpractice case a hospital can be found directly liable for their own negligence. Further, they can be held “vicariously” liable for negligence on their employees’ behalf. In other words, they are held liable for the negligence of another party.

Medical Staff consists of licensed physicians and other professionals, such as nurses, physician’s assistants, and nurse practitioners. If a hospital does not make reasonable inquiries into its staffs’ education, training, and licensing, and hires staff that is unprofessional and untrained, they may be liable for corporate negligence. Furthermore, hospitals are mandated to provide a sufficient number of staff at all times. If there is a lack of staff on duty, accidents are more likely to happen. Staff must work more roles and longer hours, leading to fatigue and in turn, accidents and negligence. Lastly, issues can arise when the hospital fails to properly follow the patient’s private physicians orders.

Independent Contractors

Often, health care providers are considered to be independent contractors as opposed to hospital employees. In this case, the hospital is no longer liable for any negligence on their behalf. Thus, if a doctor or other contractor commits medical malpractice, the victim must file a lawsuit against the individual — not the hospital. However, this can get a bit complex. If the doctor is found to unlicensed or incompetent, and the hospital granted him or her attending privileges without completing the proper checks, the hospital is liable as well.

Contact A Medical Malpractice Attorney

As evident by the above cases, birth injury can quickly become a very complicated issue. A medical malpractice attorney specializes in issues like these, and can help you navigate this complex legal territory. Contact an experienced hospital negligence attorney to ensure the best results for you and your case.