Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers Representing the Black Community

While the Black maternal mortality rate in the United States is well documented, the rate Black infant death is equally appalling. According to the CDC, the Black infant mortality rate is more than twice that of white infants, at 10.8 per 1,000 live births. The CDC reports that the fifth highest cause of infant mortality is injuries, and a spinal cord injury, while rare, is one of the most serious kinds of injury an infant can experience. 

When spinal cord injuries, or SCIs, do occur, they can cause lifelong disabilities and can be potentially fatal. While we often think of an SCI occurring in childhood or adolescence, a traumatic birth can also cause an SCI in an otherwise healthy infant.  Black mothers experience higher risks of preterm delivery, forceps delivery and caesarean delivery, all of which are associated with a higher risk of SCI.

What Is a Spinal Cord Birth Injury?

When an injury is sustained to the spinal cord during delivery, it is often because the spine or neck is bent or compressed by hospital staff. This can present as:

  • Bruises (contusions)
  • Partial tears 
  • Complete tears (transections) 

Stressful births that require intervention are at a higher risk of SCI

What Causes a Spinal Cord Injury?

Stressful deliveries are one of the main indicators for potential spinal cord injuries. Black mothers are more likely to experience a preterm birth, which puts them at greater risk for the use of interventions and stressful birth scenarios, necessitating the use of tools such as forceps. 

Forceps are an instrument that can be used to ease the baby’s passage through the birth canal, but can cause spinal cord injuries when used incorrectly. Stressful deliveries can cause injuries due to traction on the infant’s torso, rotational stress placed on the spinal axis, or hyperextension of the head in an abnormal birth position such as breech, or face-first. 

Spina bifida is a condition in which the vertebrae does not completely cover the nerves of the spine, which leaves them exposed and at risk of injury. If the hospital staff is unaware that the infant is at risk for spina bifida because of a misdiagnosis, they may touch or damage the nerves on delivery, causing a permanent spinal cord injury.

What Are the Permanent Effects of a Spinal Cord Injury?

The effects of an SCI can include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of movement in chest, arms, or legs
  • Breathing problems
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Death

SCIs can cause permanent disabilities

When to Consult with a Lawyer Experienced in Discrimination

Nationally, around three-quarters of black women deliver in about one-quarter of the nation’s hospitals – hospitals that tend to have much higher rates of severe complications. Only around 18 percent of white women deliver in these same hospitals. If your child suffered a spinal cord injury due to blunt force trauma at the hands of hospital staff, you should speak with a skilled attorney to determine if negligence due to discrimination has occured. 

Lee Merritt, Esq. is a longtime leader and influential voice in the fight for Social Justice, representing high-profile civil rights cases like that of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man recently shot and killed while jogging in Georgia. 

A dedicated civil rights activist and trial attorney, Mr. Merritt runs a distinguished national practice focusing on victims of police brutality, hate crimes and corporate discrimination. As an activist, he has championed police reform and community empowerment. His office has led the way to reform in Texas, a state notorious for its failure to prosecute police officers, successfully advocating for the first murder indictments of officers in the state in over 40 years.

There are many more battles to fight on behalf of the 22 percent of Black women who report discrimination in their medical care. For a free consultation please fill out our form, write [email protected] or call us directly at 1-800-590-4116.

About S. Lee Merritt

Civil Rights Lawyer

Lee Merritt, Esq. is emerging as a leading and influential new voice in the fight for Social Justice. A dedicated civil rights activist and trial attorney, Merritt runs a high profile national practice focusing on victims of police brutality, hate crimes and corporate discrimination. As an activist, he has championed police reform and community empowerment. 

Do you need more information or want to help? 

Our organization can help mothers and their families who have faced medical issues during pregnancy learn about the resources available to them, as well as learn about what action they may be able to take legally due to discriminatory health practices.  Contact us below by email or phone and our team can learn more about your situation and give you free and friendly advice.

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Philadelphia, PA 19109

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