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Training technique lowers rate of birth injuries

There are few events in life that are as joyous and spectacular as the birth of a child. For Oregon parents, their child's birthday is supposed to be a wonderful day of meeting and getting to know their newborn. However, as many parents know, the delivery process can be hectic, complicated and a little bit scary. Doctors, nurses and other medical staff are supposed to be there to ensure that babies are born safely and that the parents know what to expect. However, sometimes hospital staff fall short of expectations -- emergencies occur, mistakes happen and, unfortunately, babies get hurt.

A serious birth injury can lead to life-long difficulties for the child. It can lead to serious brain damage making it difficult for that child to live a normal life. These injuries can also lead to serious financial strain for parents as they try to treat their child's permanent disability. In some cases, serious birth injuries can even be fatal.

In order to prevent certain birth injuries, a new training technique is being introduced around the United Sates. During this training, doctors and nurses are learning to work as a team to dislodge babies that are stuck behind their mothers' pubic bones. In these cases, the child may not be able to be born safely without medical intervention. However, if doctors and nurses are not careful, they can injure the babies' necks in the process. This birth injury can lead to nerve damage and, in some cases, brain damage.

Since one hospital has introduced the program, its rate of brain injuries in newborns has been cut in half. Furthermore, the hospital's cesarean section rate has been reduced from 34 percent to 23 percent.

Hopefully this program will continue to spread to hospitals around the country -- including in Oregon -- and the rate of birth-related injuries will decline. Until that happens, those parents' whose child suffered an injury at birth should know their legal rights.

Source: KCTV, "University of Kansas Hospital first in U.S. to offer groundbreaking childbirth training," Laura McCallister and Betsy Webster, June 11, 2013

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