Birth Injury Treatments

There are range of birth injury treatments.

These include Adaptive equipment, Medication, Occupational therapy, Physical therapy and speech therapy.

Birth Injury Treatments

Every birth injury is unique, making it difficult to determine the exact birthday injury treatments that will work for each case. That’s why proper diagnosis, followed by quick treatment, is vital to aid a baby’s recovery. If an injury is caught early on, it can be treated before it seriously harms the baby.

While injuries such as cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy are untreatable, there are many other types of birth injury with treatments that work.

If your family has been impacted by a childbirth injury as a result of medical negligence, Gibson & Associates LLP are here to help.

Call us on +353 1 264 5555 to speak to a member of our team.

Types of Birth Injury

Brachial Palsy

This occurs when the group of nerves supplying the arms and hands (brachial plexus) are damaged. It usually occurs when there is trouble delivering the baby’s shoulder and can cause temporary or permanent loss of the ability to flex and rotate the arm.

Brain Injuries

Damage to the brain can be caused by a number of issues, including a lack of oxygen, trauma or infection in the brain. Symptoms of a brain injury differ depending on which part of the brain has been damaged.

Bruising

Some babies may show signs of bruising due to the trauma of passing through the birth canal and coming into contact with the mother’s pelvic bones and tissues. Delivery using forceps or vacuum extraction can also lead to bruising of the baby’s head and face.

Caput Succedaneum

This condition is characterised by significant swelling of the soft tissues of the baby’s scalp, which develops as the baby travels through the birth canal. Babies delivered by vacuum extraction are more likely to experience this type of birth injury.

Caphalohematoma

It often appears several hours after birth as a raised bump on the baby’s head due to bleeding between the skull and its covering. The body reabsorbs the blood over time. Large areas of bleeding may cause jaundice due to the breakdown of red blood cells.

Facial Paralysis

Pressure during the labour or birth may injure the baby’s facial nerve, resulting in no movement on one side of the face and one of the eyes remaining closed. The injury is usually seen when the baby cries.

Fractures

Usually occurring during labour and delivery, the most common fracture is to the clavicle or collarbone caused by trouble delivering the baby’s shoulder or breech delivery. Healing occurs quickly, with a firm lump appearing on the clavicle as a new bone forms.

Jaundice

Babies born with too much bilirubin in their bloodstream will have tinted yellow skin. It is one of the most common and most treatable conditions in babies; however, it can cause severe injury in rare cases.

Kernicterus

Related to jaundice, kernicterus is a serious issue that occurs when levels of bilirubin rise to a dangerous amount, which can cause brain damage. If treatment is started early on, any brain damage could be reversed.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Typically affecting the neck area, any spinal cord injuries suffered by a baby require immediate medical attention. Depending on the extent of the damage, the injury may never heal completely; however, treatments can improve a child’s quality of life.

Subconjunctival Haemorrhage

A very common injury that breaks small blood vessels in the baby’s eyes. A bright red band in the white part of the eye appears in one or both of the eyes, which is usually absorbed in a week to 10 days and doesn’t cause eye damage.

Treatment Options for Birth Injuries

Surgery

Not all birth injury treatments include surgery. However, it may be required in order to correct damage caused by troubling labour or birth, or to determine the severity of an injury on a child. Birth injuries that usually require surgery include severe cases of brachial palsy, brain haemorrhaging and skull fractures.

In cases of brain damage in babies, surgery can be used during the initial treatment process or later on to manage issues with symptoms. Surgery can stop bleeding within the brain, remove blood clots and help to manage seizures.

For jaundice, a baby may need to undergo a blood transfusion, replacing the baby’s blood with a matching donor’s that doesn’t contain excess pigment.

Medications

Medications are not always required for birth injuries, but when they are, they are usually prescribed for pain, seizures and cognitive disabilities. The type of medication prescribed will depend on the type and severity of the birth injury, with the most common types of medicine prescribed including:

  • Pain management and anti-inflammatories
  • Anti-spastic medication
  • Seizure medication
  • Anticholinergic medication
  • Botox
  • Stool softeners

Occupational therapy

This form of treatment focuses on helping babies and children with cognitive, physical and sensory disabilities. Types of treatments covered by occupational therapy include:

  • Developing fine motor skills
  • Learning basic skills, such as brushing teeth
  • Developing positive behaviour
  • Reducing outbursts and impulsiveness
  • Improving focus and social skills
  • Developing and improving hand-eye coordination
  • Assisting with learning disabilities

Physical therapy

Physiotherapy is one of the most common treatment options for babies and young children, and is used to help them move better, reduce pain and restore physical functions. It can help with daily tasks and activities, such as walking, getting out of bed, eating, moving and playing, as well as strength and balance, coordination, flexibility, physical limitations, and increasing fitness, gait and posture.

Conditions such as brachial palsy, cerebral palsy, shoulder dystocia and any other injuries that cause the weakening of muscles, coordination problems, and lack of voluntary muscle control can all benefit from physical therapy.

Babies with jaundice will be prescribed light therapy (also known as phototherapy). The baby is typically placed under fluorescent lights for several hours to help bring bilirubin levels back to normal. Exposure to the light makes it easier for the baby’s body to break down the excess pigment.

Recovery from Birth Injuries

With birth injuries coming in many different forms, the treatments and outcomes for each one are significantly different. However, the common theme with each injury is that immediate diagnosis and treatment improves their outlook. If you have any concerns about your child’s health, it is important that you speak to a doctor as soon as possible.

Many of these conditions are easily caught and treated early by well-trained medical professionals; however, negligent doctors and nurses can sometimes fail to spot these injuries in good time, resulting in further or permanent injury to your baby.

If you believe your child’s injury could have been avoided with proper medical care and treatment, you are entitled to make a claim. Visit our page on birth injury claims.

Our team is here to help you no matter where in Ireland you’re based.

With offices in Dublin and Letterkenny, and associates around the country, we’re perfectly positioned to help you whether you live in Dublin, Galway, Cork or Donegal or anywhere in between.

Daireann Gibson

Amanda Walsh

Sinead Shaw

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