Every parent hopes for a happy, healthy baby at delivery. Unfortunately, that’s not always the outcome. The dreams of some parents are destroyed because their infant suffers an injury during birth, with lifelong ramifications. As special needs patients, these children might need care into adulthood. This care generally causes severe financial repercussions for families.
There is nothing that can restore children with serious birth injuries to complete health. By filing a birth injury lawsuit against the parties responsible, parents or guardians may receive a settlement easing some of the financial burden. Such a settlement helps pay for the type of care the child requires.
Birth Injury Statistics
Exact statistics regarding birth injuries in the United States are unclear. In a study published in the March, 2010 issue of Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, Dr. Erin K. Sauber-Schatz, of the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health, estimated the range as “between 0.2 and 37 birth traumas per 1000 births,” based on 3.9 million hospital births. At the high end, that is a 3.7 percent chance of any delivery ending up with a birth injury. While some of these injuries are relatively minor and heal within a short time, many result in devastating, long-term consequences. The study found predictors of birth trauma included:
- High birth weight
- Malpresentation – breech births, head and arm in the pelvis simultaneously, etc.
- Difficult labor and delivery
- Use of instruments in delivery.
Not all birth injuries are apparent in the delivery room or shortly thereafter. Some may not appear until the child is several months old or more. That’s true of cerebral palsy, a traumatic brain injury and one of the most common birth injuries. The injury may occur during delivery if the baby does not receive oxygen for an extended period.
Vacuum extraction or forceps delivery can also result in cerebral palsy. People with cerebral palsy experience various difficulties, including issues with coordination, muscle tone and reflexes. In certain cases, it may take years for a definitive cerebral palsy diagnosis. The Cerebral Palsy Foundation notes that children with the disorder likely “experience a delay in development and growth milestones.”
A lack of oxygen during delivery may also result in learning disabilities, blindness and/or hearing loss. Other birth injuries include:
- Brain damage – brain injury may occur during pregnancy or during delivery.
- Erb’s palsy – affects the arms, and the baby may not feel or have the ability to move one or both of them
- Nerve damage
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – is not evident until a child is older.
Avoiding Birth Injuries
Birth injuries are often avoidable. Monitoring the fetus with ultrasound in the weeks prior to the due date lets the obstetrician know the baby is in the correct position. If there is a problem, the doctor is aware of it before delivery and takes proactive measures.
Besides actual injury, some infants die or are seriously impaired because of a healthcare provider’s negligence. If your child suffered because of the incompetence or negligence of a professional entrusted with his care, file a complaint against the physician or any responsible party with your state’s medical board. An attorney can provide you with more information about this process.
Birth Injury Lawsuits
If your child experienced a birth injury, consider filing a lawsuit with a law firm specializing in medical malpractice issues. Your attorney collects evidence relating to the birth circumstances. This includes deposition from involved parties, such as the doctor, nurses and anesthesiologist – and midwife, if applicable. Independent experts then review your child’s medical records, along with the employment records of all professionals involved in the case. Birth injuries do not always result from professional negligence. However, if evidence collected shows your child’s situation did occur due to malpractice or negligence, you have grounds for a lawsuit.
Contact an Attorney
If your child suffers from a birth injury, call our law firm today or fill out a free case evaluation form. You will receive a free legal review of your situation. You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses relating to the condition, and possibly for pain and suffering. Our attorneys will evaluate the case details and make sure you understand your rights and options before moving forward. Our firm has a successful track record handling birth injury lawsuits.