Congenital hip dislocation, also known as hip dysplasia, is a condition in which a child is born with an abnormally formed hip joint. In children with this birth defect, the ball at the top of the thigh bone is not stable within the socket, which can lead to the ligaments of the hip becoming loose or stretched. Congenital hip dislocation occurs with an incidence of 1.5 per 1,000 births, and is eight times more common in females than in males. The condition is typically diagnosed immediately after birth and most often affects the left hip of firstborn children, girls, and babies born in the breech position. If your child was born with congenital hip dislocation, and you believe a medical mistake to be the cause, contact an experienced birth defect attorney to discuss your child’s potential entitlement to lifetime care.
An early sign of congenital hip dislocation is a “clicking” sound when the newborn’s legs are moved apart. The degree of instability or looseness in children with congenital hip dislocation varies. In some cases, the ball of the hip may fit loosely in the socket, while in others, the ball of the hip may be completely dislocated at birth. If left undiagnosed at the newborn stage, the affected leg will eventually look shorter than the other leg, skin folds in the thighs will appear uneven, and the child will have less flexibility on the affected side. When the affected child starts to walk, he will probably limp, walk on his toes, or “waddle” like a duck.
Congenital hip dislocation treatment depends on the child’s age. In a newborn or very young infant, a soft positioning device called a Pavlik harness will keep the hip bone in the socket and stimulate normal hip development. If that method isn’t effective, the hip bone can sometimes be pushed back into place in children aged six months to two years with a procedure called closed reduction. If this method also fails, open surgery may be required to reposition the hip, after which the child will wear a cast and/or braces for several months to keep the hip bone in the socket while it heals. In some children with congenital hip dislocation, a difference in leg lengths may remain, although early treatment can promote normal hip joint function and can ultimately allow an active lifestyle.
Congenital hip dislocation is a debilitating birth defect which may require significant treatment, including surgical repair. If you or a loved one has suffered from congenital hip dislocation, which you believe to be the result of a medical error, you may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the allegedly negligent hospital, doctor or Ob/Gyn responsible for your care. By doing so, you can pursue financial compensation for your injuries, the medical cost of treating your injuries, and the pain and suffering endured by you and your family. Children born with congenital hip dislocation may be at risk of suffering from serious complications like stiffness, repeated dislocation, blood loss and a condition called avascular necrosis of the capital femoral epiphysis. By hiring an experienced birth defect attorney to represent your case, you can ensure that your rights are protected and that your child receives the medical care he needs now and in the future.