Out of every 1,000 children born every year, 6 to 8 of them are born with a birth injury, according to recent statistics by the Birth Injury Guide. Furthermore, 1 in 5 Americans says they have experienced a medical error. For some families, their experience with medical negligence can be devastating and life-changing, particularly when it affects their children. Life after experiencing birth trauma can certainly look different for both parents and children. It can take a huge toll on the family’s finances, impact a parent’s career and even affect a child’s development. However, it is possible to support your family after experiencing medical negligence at birth, and it all starts with knowing where to go and what to do in the months immediately after the event. From reaching out for legal advice to getting the right emotional support network in place for your family, taking the right steps can help you raise a happy, healthy child and get your family life back on track.
As parents, we trust healthcare professionals implicitly to provide the best care to their patients, including providing correct diagnosis and treatments; but unfortunately, that’s not always the case. In case a misdiagnosis or maltreatment can be proven, the victim may be able to file a legal case against their healthcare provider. Booking an initial evaluation with a medical negligence attorney can help you decide whether you have a strong case or meet the criteria of the 4 Ds of medical negligence. It also helps to get an attorney who is experienced in dealing with medical complications like yours. For instance, a prudent step would be to hire a cerebral palsy lawyer , who is more familiar with bringing claims on behalf of disabled children and the financial settlements your family may be entitled to.
Processing the experience is critical to helping your family move past it. It is not uncommon for birth trauma victims to experience PTSD symptoms including anxiety attacks, flashbacks, and depression. Learning useful ways to cope with your grief and combat your symptoms can help you and your family open up to each other.
With this in mind, it may be good to book a few counseling sessions with a therapist – for yourself and as a family. You and your partner may have a preset idea in your head of how the birthing experience would go and having that shattered can be devastating. Similarly, therapists can help you explain the situation to your other child in a kid-friendly way, particularly if their new sibling is experiencing long-term health effects.
The financial aftermath of birth injury can weigh heavily on a family’s finances. Long-lasting injuries or medical conditions can often mean that one parent has to stay at home or reduce their work hours to care for their child. Other parents may not feel ready to go back to work and need time off to process their experience.
There are also the added costs of experiencing medical negligence or birth injuries like medical bills, physical therapy costs, and additional equipment. Getting help with rearranging your finances, and accessing financial help can help your family worry less about money and focus more on healing. One of the programs that focus on helping families who have experienced birth injury is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Each state also has its programs for families of medical negligence. For instance, the state of New York has a Medical Indemnity Fund which was established in 2019.
Finally, moving on from birth trauma and medical negligence is not an overnight process. Be patient, and remember to take time for yourself. You cannot support your family if you do not support your own well-being.
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