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Personal injury: Common orthopedic birth injuries

While most mothers in Washington will likely gladly experience the pain of giving birth to a child, no one would want their newborn to suffer the pain of a birth injury. Many personal injury lawsuits involve claims of medical negligence during the birthing process. Although most birth injuries are preventable, some common orthopedic injuries are frequently reported.

Fractured collarbones, or clavicle fractures, are said to be the most common birth injury. It involves a fracture in the bone that forms the connection between the shoulder and the chest. Fractures of the femur, or thighbone, are less frequently encountered, and they happen during awkward twisting of the baby's leg during childbirth. It can cause significant pain to the child when he or she is moved and during diaper changes.

Erb's Palsy is caused when the group of brachial plexus nerves that run from the neck underneath the collarbone to the arm is stretched by the pulling of the newborn's head and arm in opposite directions. In some cases, this requires surgery if it remains evident after three to six months. Most of the growth in the long bones of the arms and legs happen at the ends where cartilage is softer and more easily injured. These injuries are called growth plate fractures, and typical signs include swelling at those points.

Although doctors, like anyone else, can make mistakes, people have very little tolerance for medical professionals who cause pain and discomfort to newborns. Medical malpractice laws are complicated, and Washington parents who consider taking such action might be advised first to discuss the matter with a personal injury attorney. A lawyer with experience in this field can assess the circumstances and determine the viability of a lawsuit. If grounds exist, the attorney can provide the necessary support and guidance throughout legal proceedings in pursuit of financial and emotional damage recovery.

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