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Cerebral Palsy Caused by Face Presentation Lawyers

Face presentation is a dangerous condition that can happen during childbirth. Face presentation happens when the baby’s spine extends unnaturally until the baby’s head shifts back. When this happens, the baby’s head comes through the pelvis first.

When the baby’s head and neck become hyperextended in the face presentation, the mother and baby can face serious injuries. Labor can take much longer when the baby is in a face presentation. Doctors might need to conduct an emergency c-section to prevent injuries to the baby and the mother.

The Dangers of Face Presentation During Childbirth

Typically, children are born with their heads first. Their chins are tucked inward toward their chest. In face presentation, the head is hyperextended upward, making birth challenging, if not impossible without medical intervention. Face presentation during labor and delivery can cause the following types of serious injuries and complications:

  • Trauma to the baby
  • Prolonged labor
  • Fetal distress
  • Oxygen and breathing-related complications including hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
Malpractice Related to Face Presentation During the Birth Process

When doctors have reason to suspect that the baby is in an abnormal presentation, they should take necessary actions to protect the mother and baby. Doctors should confirm whether or not the baby is in a face presentation through an ultrasound.

If the ultrasound shows that the baby is showing a face presentation, they should take steps to deliver the infant safely. Every situation is unique, but additional monitoring of the baby’s position, as well as a C-section, are often necessary.

Diagnosing Face Presentation

Doctors have a duty to take steps to properly diagnose face presentation in a timely manner to avoid any injuries to the baby or mother. The following medical conditions make it more likely that the baby is in a face presentation:

  • Maternal obesity
  • Prematurity
  • Very low birth weight
  • Cephalopelvic disproportion or CPD (the mother’s pelvis is smaller than the baby’s head)
  • Anencephaly which is a birth defect in which the baby is missing part of its skull and brain
  • Anterior neck mass
  • Multiple nuchal cords (the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck)
  • Previous cesarean delivery
  • Polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid)
  • Multiparity (the mother has already given birth)
  • Hydrocephalus which is an enlargement of the baby’s head
Injuries Caused by Face Presentation Medical Malpractice

Face presentation is dangerous because there is an increased risk of trauma in a face presentation. Sadly, doctors sometimes use the following techniques after a face presentation, and, in doing so, they can cause more severe injuries:

  • The use of vacuum extractors
  • Manual extraction (grasping the head of the baby with the doctor’s hands)
  • Pulling the baby from the uterine cavity
  • Using forceps extraction when the baby’s station is above +2 centimeters, but the head is also engaged
  • Doctors may also incorrectly use outlet forceps to get the head into the proper position

Forceps injuries can be very serious. When the doctor misuses forceps or uses them too aggressively when trying to treat face presentation, that can cause serious brain injuries that negatively impact the baby long-term. Additionally, when doctors engage in medical malpractice related to face presentation, they can cause the baby to suffer the following injuries:

  • Facial trauma
  • Prolonged labor
  • Facial edema (a fluid build-up, often caused by trauma)
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Low Apgar score
  • Abnormal fetal heart rate patterns
  • Difficulty in ventilation due to edema and airway trauma
  • Respiratory distress
  • Skull molding due to an abnormal head shape that results from putting pressure on the baby’s head during childbirth

Anytime a baby’s respiratory system and oxygen supply become reduced or cut-off, there is a risk of cerebral palsy, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, as well as fetal deaths.

Recovering Damages for Medical Malpractice

North Carolina doctors owe their patients a duty of care. When they act negligently or recklessly and their actions or inactions cause injuries, they may be liable for damages. When a mother has a baby with a face presentation, the doctor must give the mother her options. If the doctor waits too long to ask about a c-section, the doctor can cause serious injuries to the baby, or even death.

Contact Our Medical Malpractice Lawyers Today

Does your baby have periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), cerebral palsy, HEI, a seizure disorder, or developmental delays? If your child suffered injuries due to medical malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our law firm of Arnold & Smith, PLLC today to schedule your initial consultation.

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