The human brain is essentially what makes our species stand out from the rest on the planet. Evolutionary biologists explain that humans adapted our unique physical features in much the same ways as all other animals. But in one respect we completely out-did anything else: our brains. Brain size usually correlates with physical size. Mice have small brain; whales have large brains. Humans, however, break the mold. The size of our brains is drastically larger than what would be expected based on our body size. But it is the very size of our brain that has allowed us to thrive in the manner that we have.
Interestingly, our biggest strength, is also a vulnerability, particularly in our earliest stages. Historically, childbirth is one of the biggest health risks for women. That is in large part because of the challenges of delivering a child with a large head necessary to protect the brain. Evolutionarily, the human body developed with trade-offs, sacrificing an easier birth in exchange for a longer gestation period and larger brain in the infant.
Fortunately, we have made enormous strides over the years in improving birthing safety, drastically reducing the mortality rate for mothers and children. The availability of alternative birthing methods, like a cesarean section, can save lives and minimize injury when traditional vaginal births would otherwise cause harm. But that is not to say that the process is without risk, particularly when caregivers make mistakes. When that happens, affected families may be able to seek accountability via the civil justice system.
Lawsuit Following Brain Injury at Birth
For example, The Oregonian reported last month on a new lawsuit filed by a family after their newborn suffered a brain injury during birth. According to the story, the pregnant mother in the case knew that her child was in the breech position. This refers to a positioning of the fetus inside the womb that leads to either a feet or buttocks first birth–instead of head first. Breech births are very risky and result in higher than normal chance of injury. For that reason, many professionals suggest C-sections are necessary.
The mother here already had her C-section scheduled when she came across information on a hospital that suggested it had expertise in vaginal deliveries for breech babies. Convinced by the claims, the mother canceled her C-section and went in for a vaginal birth. Unfortunately, that decision proved to be quite costly. The birth came with complications and the child was without sufficient oxygen to the brain for a significant period of time. The baby has since been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
The mother subsequently filed a lawsuit seeking accountability for the hospitals conduct which led to the injury.
If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury as a result of childbirth mistakes, be sure to get in touch with an attorney who has experience with these matters. The consequences of these errors may last a lifetime, and a successful recovery often hinges on access to resources to pay for the best rehabilitative care available.
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