Birth Injury Blog

Spinal Cord Injuries in Newborns: How it Happens and What to Do

Posted By Beam & Raymond || 25-Sep-2015

A spinal cord injury during birth can affect the rest of a child’s life, leaving them with a number of lasting medical issues. According to Boston Children’s Hospital, roughly 60 to 75 percent of spinal cord injuries in newborns affect the neck area, 20 percent occur in the chest or upper back area, and 5 to 20 percent affect the spinal cord area of the lower back. Typically, the further up on the body the injury occurs, the more severe the damage. In some cases, spinal cord injuries can result in paralysis, intellectual disabilities, or even death.

A spinal cord injury can be either incomplete or complete. If it is incomplete, there is still a chance that the brain can send signals down the spinal cord, and sensory and motor function may still be attainable. Unfortunately, however, injuries that are complete result in a complete loss of motor and sensory functions below the injury site.

What are the Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries in Infants?

Infant spinal cord damage occurs when the spine suffers a blunt force trauma during birth, usually due to a medical mistake. The injury could come in the form of a contusion (a bruise) or a transection (a tear). Other medical errors that could result in damage to the spine include a misdiagnosis of a condition called spina bifida, in which the raw nerves of the spine are not completely enclosed by the vertebrae. If the medical staff is not aware of this condition during birth, they can cause further damage by touching these nerves.

Stressful deliveries are another cause of spinal cord injuries. Traction on the baby’s trunk, rotational stresses, or abnormal birthing positions could cause the spinal cord to be overstretched during the birthing process, often leading to permanent injury.

Is Your Child Exhibiting These Symptoms?

Symptoms will vary depending on the severity of the injury as well as what part of the spinal cord was affected, but typical symptoms include:

  • Inability to move
  • Abnormal reflexes
  • Weakness
  • Spasms
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Bladder and bowel control problems
  • Loss of touch sensations
  • Pain around affected area

Call Beam & Raymond Today for a Free Case Evaluation

Many children do not recover from spinal cord injuries and deal with symptoms for the rest of their lives. If you suspect that your child has been injured at birth, please contact the Chicago birth injury attorneys at Beam & Raymond as soon as possible. We are committed to fighting to protect the rights of your injured child and are not afraid to go to court to secure the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to for your child’s care.

We have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for clients throughout the country. For more information on how we can help, call our office today at (866) 766-3806.

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