Approximately 90 percent of deliveries in the United States are completed every year without complications that require special assistance. However, the other 10 percent of children that are born each year require some type of intervention to keep both the mother and child safe. Patients rely on physicians and medical professionals to be prepared for these situations and to perform the necessary actions to safely deliver. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and there are about 28,000 birth injuries per year, many of which are preventable. This translates to approximately seven out of every 1000 babies born in the U.S. per year that sustain birth injuries or three every hour.
Birth Injury Incidence Statistics
Almost 6 out of every 1000 children born in the United States every year suffer from serious birth injuries such as fractured bones, developmental disorders, or neurological disorders. Since 1989, the incidence of most types of birth injuries have increased in frequency. Only two types of birth injuries have seen a decrease in frequency since that time and nine have occurred at the same rate. Cerebral palsy is the most common type of birth injury diagnosed, with about 4 out of every 1000 babies born suffering from the condition.
Birth Injury Diagnosis Statistics
Many types of birth injuries do not surface immediately following birth. About seven percent of birth injuries are diagnosed within the first year of the child’s life. Another 14 percent of birth injuries are not diagnosed until the child is of school age. Cognitive and developmental impairments caused by birth injuries are more likely to be diagnosed later than physical impairments caused by birth injuries.
Medical Setting Birth Injury Statistics
The setting in which a delivery takes place may affect the likelihood of birth injuries. Statistics suggest that the size of the hospital, whether the hospital is for-profit or not, and whether the hospital is public or private may all affect the prevalence of birth injuries. The size of the hospital seems to have a greater impact than other factors, although the rate of injury in hospitals with more than 500 beds was less than those with between 300 and 499 beds.
In 2000, the rates of injuries by medical facility type were as follows:
- 15 babies were injured per 1,000 born in private, not-for-profit hospitals
- 33 birth injuries occurred per 1,000 born in private, for-profit hospitals
- 11 of every 1000 babies born in public hospitals sustained birth injuries
- 36 birth injuries occurred per 1,000 born in hospitals with less than 100 beds
- 45 babies were injured per 1,000 born in hospitals with 100 to 299 beds
- 57 of every 1000 babies born in hospitals with 300 to 499 beds were injured
- 1 birth injuries were sustained per every 1000 babies born in hospitals with over 500 beds
Gender Birth Injury Statistics
Males are typically more likely to sustain birth injuries than females. In 2000, about 6.83 out of every 1000 live males born suffered birth injuries. In contrast, about 5.06 out of every 1000 live females born that year suffered birth injuries.
Birth Complication Cost Statistics
In addition to increasing the likelihood of future injuries or conditions, deliveries in which there are complications are also much more costly than deliveries in which there are no complications. A vaginal delivery without complications is typically between $9,000 and $16,000, depending on what area of the country the delivery takes place. The incidence of complications raises this figure substantially. Cesarean section deliveries and vaginal deliveries in which complications occur may cost patients between $14,000 and $25,000.
Birth Injury Fatality Statistics
About 20 percent of all infant fatalities are related to birth injuries. Roughly 134 out of every 100,000 children born die due to a birth injury. Many of these injuries are caused by medical negligence or malpractice. Approximately 25 percent of infant deaths are attributed to poor prenatal care.
“Birth Injury.” Birth Injury Guide. Birth Injury Guide, 1 Jan. 2015. Web. 18 Jan. 2015. http://www.birthinjuryguide.org/birth-injury/
“Data & Statistics for Cerebral Palsy.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27 Dec. 2013. Web. 19 Jan. 2015. <http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/cp/data.html>
Fernandez, Caraciolo. “Neonatal Resuscitation in the Delivery Room.” Neonatal Resuscitation in the Delivery Room. Wolters Kluwer Health, 24 Nov. 2014. Web. 19 Jan. 2015. <http://www.uptodate.com/contents/neonatal-resuscitation-in-the-delivery-room>
“Statistics about Birth Injury.” Right Diagnosis. Health Grades, 17 June 2014. Web. 19 Jan. 2015. <http://www.rightdiagnosis.com/b/birth_injury/stats.htm>