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Pittsburgh Birth Injury Lawyers

Broken Bones from Medical Error

The birth of a child is typically a joyous occasion, filled with excitement and anticipation. Unfortunately for some parents, the birthing experience becomes stressful or complicated resulting in injuries to their newborn child. Broken bones, such as broken clavicles, arms or legs are serious injuries for newborns that can result in permanent disability or disfigurement, if not addressed quickly and appropriately. What makes these injuries even more unfortunate is the fact that almost all cases of broken bones in newborns can be prevented.

The competence and knowledge of the medical staff of doctors, nurses, technicians and assistants in the labor and delivery area are vital to safe, successful births. Broken bones in newborns can almost always be prevented by recognizing potential struggles early and using interventions to prevent trauma to the infant or the mother during delivery. Any signs of fetal or maternal stress such as a large baby unable to fit through the birth canal, respiratory distress of the infant that may create an emergent situation or changes in the mother’s health status should be dealt with immediately to prevent mistakes that can happen when a situation becomes an emergency.

Causes and Treatment of Birthing Injuries

Emergency cesarean sections can alleviate a lot of potential problems in a difficult delivery. Though this type of major surgery is not preferred, it is an alternative to measures taken that can result in broken bones or brain damage to an infant. The risk increases for physicians and other medical personnel to make a crucial error when a delivery becomes complicated. The use of birthing tools such as forceps can inflict serious injury if they are used improperly or with too much force. Opting to deliver a baby by cesarean section can alleviate the need to use these tools that often result in broken clavicles or skull fractures.

Physicians attending the birth may also panic if an infant suddenly exhibits respiratory problems in the birthing process. Pulling too hard on a baby’s head or pulling on an arm or a leg can easily break their fragile bones. Even if there is not an emergent situation, an inexperienced doctor may use unnecessary force in bringing the baby through the birthing canal. In very rare cases, a baby can be dropped in the delivery room, which can result in life-threatening or disabling complications that result from broken bones, especially skull factures.

One of the most serious of all injuries is a skull fracture because it often causes swelling or bleeding in the brain. When this happens, sections of the brain are pushed up against the skull and can cause permanent damage. In some cases, the swelling can be monitored and will heal on its own, but in other cases, the swelling can be so severe that the fluid must be drained or surgery must be performed.

Broken clavicles, arms and leg bones are often hard to detect in newborns. Crying is essential at birth and often accepted as a sign that everything is going well. Unfortunately, babies can be in pain and medical personnel can miss the signs that tell them an injury has taken place. Swelling, bruising, tenderness and extreme crying should be signals to doctors and nurses that a bone may be broken. A shoulder that is lower on one side than the other or a limb that is not being moved voluntarily by the baby could also be an indicator that there is an injury.

What Parents can do if Their Baby is Injured during Birth

The main concern for any parent at the time of delivery is that their newborn is healthy and breathing well with no unforeseen problems. Once the major organ systems have been confirmed, parents should trust their instincts if they notice anything unusual about their baby. Perhaps the newborn cries excessively when held a certain way or touched in a certain area. Maybe the baby is sleeping too much or is difficult to awaken. Sometimes a parent just feels that something is not right. Whatever the case, parental intuition can prevent serious or permanent consequences for their child.

Report any unusual behaviors or observations to nurses and physicians immediately. Keep a close eye on the newborn and document any areas that seem to be sensitive to touch. Get to know your baby and pay special attention to any areas that appear to be bruised or swollen. If you suspect that your child may have a skull fracture or other broken bone, insist that x-rays or other diagnostic tests be performed. When it comes to newborns, being overly cautious is safer than risking lifelong complications.

Though most broken bones will heal with standard intervention such as splints, casts and medication, there are some cases that may require surgery. If a bone is broken on a growth plate or at the end of a bone, there is a possibility that the bone will not grow properly causing a permanent disfigurement or disability. Addressing the injury immediately and ensuring that the bone heals properly can avoid problems down the road.

Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Lawyers at the Law Offices of James R. Moyles help Parents Claim Justice and Compensation for Birth Injuries

If you or someone you know has a child that suffered a broken bone or skull fracture during birth, you may be entitled to compensation. The experienced and knowledgeable Pittsburgh birth injury lawyers at the Law Offices of James R. Moyles can help you seek justice for the medical errors that caused your child’s injuries.

Call us at 717-233-5400 in Harrisburg, or 412-281-1055 in Pittsburgh, or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation today. We serve clients throughout central and western Pennsylvania and are committed to protecting the rights of all those that we serve.

James R. Moyles


The Law Offices of James R. Moyles are located in Pittsburgh, PA and in the Harrisburg area to serve clients in and around Dauphin, Perry, Lancaster, York, Franklin. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Attorney Advertising. This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.