Is it possible to make a claim for a fractured bone or broken bone at birth?
It is possible to make a claim for a fractured bone or broken bone at birth, provided that the injury was caused by negligence of a medical professional, such as a midwife or obstetrician using excessive force when assisting with a delivery. When forceps are used or a baby is manipulated to facilitate delivery, bones can fracture if the correct technique is not employed.
Although a bone fracture during childbirth may appear to have been caused by a doctor exerting excessive force in an assisted delivery, this is not necessarily the case and fractures can occur during a natural unassisted childbirth; especially if the baby is at an advanced gestational size or is premature and the bones are more delicate.
A clavicle fracture at birth is the most common bone injury suffered during childbirth, which is fairly common during difficult births. The fracture can occur simply from compression of the clavicle during delivery, although it is frequently associated with shoulder dystocia; a condition in which the baby’s shoulder becomes trapped behind the pelvic bone of the mother.
It is possible to claim compensation for a clavicle fracture at birth if it can be proven that the doctor or midwife used excessive force to deliver the baby and fractured the baby’s collarbone while freeing the trapped shoulder. A femur bone fracture during childbirth is less common, and usually occurs when a baby’s leg becomes twisted, although this type of fracture can also be caused by excessive force used by a medical professional.
Many factors must be considered before a claim for a fractured bone or broken bone at birth can be made to establish whether the fracture was caused by negligence of the doctor or midwife or as a consequence of a difficult birth or even for anatomical reasons, such as the mother having a narrow or flat pelvis.
A bone fracture at birth may result from an assisted delivery, yet a claim for compensation for a fractured bone at birth may not be possible. Doctors must make decisions during difficult births when the health of the child is at risk. If there is a significant risk of asphyxiation of the baby, a decision may be made to risk a bone fracture at birth to prevent the brain becoming starved of oxygen and brain damage being suffered.
Whether it is possible to claim compensation for a fractured bone at birth will depend on the circumstances under which a bone was broken, and to establish whether it resulted from negligence of a medical professional a full investigation of the case must be conducted.
The first step to take is to report the injury to the HSE in writing, so that an investigation is conducted to establish whether the injury was caused by the actions of a doctor or midwife. You should also consult a personal injury solicitor for legal advice and arrange an independent investigation into the cause of injury.
After these investigations have been conducted, and the case has been reviewed by a medical expert, the right to claim personal injury compensation will be established.