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Birth Injury Glossary

Anoxic Brain Injury – Brain damage arising from a depletion of oxygen delivery to the brain. An anoxic brain injury can lead to memory loss, reduced executive function and neurologic impairment.

Asphyxia – A medical condition arising from a significant reduction of oxygen delivery to the body from the inability to properly breathe. Asphyxia leads to hypoxia.

Ataxia – A neurological condition consisting of a lack of coordinated muscle movement.

Avulsion – An injury involving the tearing of tissues. In most cases, an avulsion refers to the tearing of nerves.

Birth Defect – A medical condition developing before or during childbirth. A birth defect can be genetic or arise from trauma.

Birth Injury – Injury sustained by an infant or mother during childbirth. A birth injury may include cerebral palsy, permanent sterility, skull fracture, nerve damage or shoulder dystocia.

Brachial Plexus Injury – Paralysis resulting from injury to the brachial plexus nerves in the shoulder. A brachial plexus injury commonly occurs from excess pressure exerted on the head or shoulders during delivery.

Brain Damage – An injury to the brain, which disrupts brain function. Brain damage may result from medical malpractice, as labor and delivery negligence, birth injury or Ob/Gyn errors.

Cerebral Palsy – A birth defect leading to a neurological deficit arising from a birth injury. Cerebral palsy may occur as the result of drug or alcohol use, vacuum extraction, forceps, anoxia, or excessive labor drugs.

Erb’s Palsy – Arm paralysis resulting from the tearing or severing of the brachial plexus nerves. Erb’s palsy is a specific form of brachial plexus injury.

Fetal Distress – Signs and symptoms, before or during childbirth, indicating a serious fetal condition. The failure to diagnose fetal distress often results in a serious birth injury or even wrongful death.

Forceps – Smooth metal instruments, with a spoon-like appearance, designed to grip the head of the infant to aid in delivery. Forceps are utilized to aid in a difficult vaginal delivery.

Horner’s Syndrome – A medical condition arising from sympathetic nervous system damage. Horner’s Syndrome often results from excessive pulling of the shoulder and spinal nerves during childbirth.

Intracranial Hemorrhage – Bleeding within the skull cavity arising from a ruptured or torn blood vessel. An intracranial hemorrhage can result from the improper use of a vacuum extractor or forceps.

Klumpke’s Palsy – Forearm and hand paralysis resulting from damage to the brachial plexus nerves.

Macrosomia – An abnormally large fetus weighing in excess of eight pounds. Macrosomia often leads to shoulder dystocia and brachial plexus injury.

Medical Malpractice – Negligence, recklessness or carelessness of a medical professional arising from the failure to deliver the standard of care resulting in patient injury.

Nerve Damage – A medical condition leading to the disruption of the transfer of impulses throughout the nervous system. Nerve damage may cause paralysis or death.

Paralysis – The inability to control motor or sensory function. Paralysis may be complete or partial.

Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) – The failure of a newborn’s circulatory system to adapt to normal breathing conditions outside the womb.

Seizure – A medical condition resulting in excessive neuron brain activity. A seizure typically appears as a wild and thrashing movement.

Shoulder Dystocia – A labor and delivery emergency in which the fetal shoulders become lodged against the pelvis following the emergence of the head.

Skull Fracture – The fragmentation or displacement of any of the skull bones. A skull fracture is rare form of birth injury.

Spinal Injury – Any injury or trauma to the spine or spinal cord. A spinal injury often arises from excessive torque or rotational forces during childbirth.

Subdural Hematoma – The pooling of blood in the space between the protective dura and brain. A subdural hematoma may result from the improper use of forceps or vacuum extraction.

Vacuum Extraction – A medical technique utilizing vacuum to aid in difficult vaginal childbirth.

Wrongful Death – A death arising from the malice, carelessness or negligence of another person.

If your child is suffering from a birth injury, contact a New York Birth Injury Lawyer at Stephen Bilkis and Associates, PLLC. Please call us at 800.696.9529, online or contact one of our offices in New York in New York City, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, the Bronx or Staten Island, in Long Island in Nassau County or Suffolk County or in Westchester County for a free case evaluation.