The birth of a child should be a moment of bliss. However, an unanticipated birth injury can cause parents to suffer greatly for many days, weeks or even years.
Damage that affects the brain in particular can be quite traumatic and terrifying. You may ask yourself why your child has suddenly fallen ill, or whether or not their injury could have been avoided altogether.
It is also imperative that you understand the difference between a birth injury and a birth defect. By knowing the difference you will be able to determine if you have a case, as well as what legal options are available to you.
Birth defects will occur while the fetus is still developing inside the womb of the mother. A birth defect can affect any part or area of the baby’s anatomy, including its central nervous system and brain region.
Birth injuries are different, in the sense that they occur near the moment that the baby is born, or during the birthing process.
In order to have a valid birth injury claim your child must have been injured as a result of the carelessness or negligence of the nurses, doctors and/or medical staff on hand.
A common example of a birthing injury is failure to recognize blatant difficulties or abnormalities that should have been detected by the medical healthcare provider.
Another common example of a birthing injury is the cause of harm to the infant due to the mishandling of vacuum extractors and/or forceps during the birthing process.
Even a delayed cesarean section can cause severe harm or trauma to the baby, and may be characterized as a birth injury.
There are certain telltale signs to look for after a baby has been born. For example, a baby whose skin is starting to turn blue or pale should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible. You should also seek prompt medical attention if your baby’s breathing is slow or laboured.
A slow heart rate may also be indicative of imminent heart failure or cardiac arrest which may require resuscitation. If your baby appears lethargic or slow then it may have suffered a permanent birth injury soon after it was born.
Hypertonic symptoms should also not be taken lightly, and any odd motions involving the hands, limbs, face and other parts of the body should be investigated.
Unusual response patterns should also be evaluated. Examples may include failure to interpret objects or respond to sounds.
Brachial palsy injuries impact the infant’s shoulder. If a baby is stuck and the doctor pulls with extreme force then the brachial plexus of the infant may be injured in the process.
An injury to the brain may be caused by lack of oxygen. Oxygen deprivation may be caused by an infant being in the delivery canal for a prolonged period of time, which is known as protracted labour.
Placental disruption, obstructed airways and/or umbilical cord issues can cause brain injuries. If a doctor fails to properly examine an infant during labour and after it has been born then the baby may suffer an injury to its brain.
Facial paralysis may be caused by intense pressure being applied to the baby during birth, causing damage to its facial nerves.
A difficult birth may necessitate the use of a vacuum or forceps in order to deliver the child. Unfortunately, facial paralysis may sometimes occur as a result.
Cephalohematoma usually appears under one of the cranial bones of the infant. It is a form of hemorrhaging that occurs below the baby’s skull area. The use of a vacuum or forceps may sometimes lead to cephalohematoma.
Fractures in the bones may result from a doctor pulling very hard on the infant while they are in the breech position. A fracture may also be caused by pulling very aggressively on the shoulder of the infant during a very arduous, painful and protracted delivery.
If the break is severe then the doctor may recommend immobilization in order to treat the fracture.
It is vital that you establish whether or not the birth injury could have been prevented. This can best be done with the assistance of an expert birth injury lawyer. There have been several cases of birth injuries being caused by negligence on the part of medical practitioners.
If your child was injured due to negligence, incompetence and/or carelessness then you may want to consider filing a lawsuit against the party or parties that are responsible.
There are many costs associated with an accident that you should be compensated for, including, but not limited to, physical therapy, surgeries, medication and other medical expenses.
If your infant was injured due to the carelessness of a doctor, nurse and/or anesthesiologist then they should be held accountable for their ineptitude. While most medical professionals are highly trained and competent, some fail to follow the latest safety protocols and guidelines.
While some birth injuries can be treated, many are permanent. As a result, the mental and physical quality of your child’s life, as well as the quality of your life, will be profoundly affected.
By taking legal action you will be able to pay for all of the medical care that your child requires in order to enjoy a semblance of normalcy in their lives. Serious birth injuries are not only a massive challenge but they can also have life-changing effects on the lives of family members.
By taking legal action against the people that have harmed you and your child you will be able to obtain compensation for your child’s medical expenses, and also help bring the culpable parties to justice.
Perhaps they will be more careful in the future, which may prevent injuries from occurring to other infants in the future.
Related reading: How You Can Support Your Family After Experiencing Medical Malpractice At Birth
Author Bio: Jessica Coates is a blogger in Toronto. She graduated with honors from the University of British Columbia with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing. Jessica Coates is a community manager for small businesses across Canada. When not working, she leisurely studies economics, history, law and business solutions.
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