How can spinal cord injuries occur in newborns?

On Behalf of | Jan 4, 2023 | Birth Injuries

While your baby’s birth is one of the happiest moments of your life, your happy moment can turn to anguish when your doctor makes a mistake that costs your baby his or her future.

One of the most catastrophic birth injuries is a spinal cord injury.

How do SCIs happen to babies?

Newborns do not have fully developed vertebrae or ligaments that protect the spinal cord. Any prolonged pressure on the spine can cause a spinal cord injury in infants. For example, your baby’s head can become stuck at the neck if you have a breech birth.

Doctors may also cause a spinal cord injury via forcep use or vacuum extraction. While childbirth tends to be safer now than in history, some doctors do not follow the safety standards when delivering children. They may not use their tools correctly or may rush the procedure. Medical malpractice occurs when the doctor injures the baby in an avoidable way.

What are the symptoms of an SCI?

Most of the time, you can identify symptoms of a spinal cord injury right away. However, in about one-fourth of all incidents, symptoms take up to four days to appear. Newborns with spinal cord injuries may lose muscle function in one or all limbs. When you pick up your baby, he or she may remain floppy in your arms.

To treat a spinal cord injury in a newborn, your child will need ongoing medical care throughout development to give him or her the most independent life possible.


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