Frequently Asked Questions: Birth Injuries
1. What is a Birth Injury?
Birth injuries are preventable, devastating injuries that stem from medical malpractice or negligence. They can occur prior to, during, or following your child’s delivery. When they do occur, birth injuries are a family’s worst nightmare. A well-known form of birth injury is cerebral palsy, but there are several different types.
2. What Causes Birth Injuries?
Birth injuries can occur in a number of ways. However, some situations where medical negligence may have contributed to a birth injury include, but are not limited to:
- Failure to identify and treat infections or ailments in the mother
- Failure to diagnose early labour or other potential issues prior to delivery
- Failure to manage an extended pregnancy or a delay in delivery
- Failure to perform an effective and timely caesarean section
- Improper or flawed use of medical tools during the delivery process
- Failure to respond to baby’s health issues during delivery
- Miscalculating the delivery date, resulting in a premature or late delivery
- Administering improper medications during pregnancy and/or delivery.
These acts (or, in some cases, failure to act) may cause a devastating birth injury for your child. Generally speaking, birth injuries are preventable. Their consequences can range from mild to severe. In some cases, birth injuries may result in death. If you suspect your child has suffered from a birth injury, be sure to consult a healthcare practitioner immediately. Prompt treatment may decrease the likelihood that your child will suffer prolonged symptoms.
3. What Symptoms are Associated with Birth Injuries?
Some symptoms are apparent immediately, while others manifest later on in childhood. It is important to remember that while the symptoms we have listed are commonly associated with birth injuries, they are also symptoms for other health conditions. As always, be sure to consult your doctor about your suspicions.
Some symptoms of birth injuries that are immediately apparent in an infant include:
- sensitivity to light,
- excessive drooling or fussiness,
- struggling to swallow or eat,
- nausea and vomiting,
- jaundice or paleness,
- inadequate weight gain,
- low heart rate,
- low oxygen levels in the blood,
- inflamed nasal passages,
- skull fractures,
- weak or absent reflexes,
- hairy patch on the back,
- favouring one side of the body,
- muscle spasms, and
- muscle stiffness and weakness.
This is not an exhaustive list, and, as mentioned above, these symptoms are not only associated with birth injuries. Other symptoms may emerge during the toddler years. They include:
- delayed motor skill development,
- difficulties with problem-solving,
- difficulties speaking properly,
- lack of muscle control,
- difficulties walking normally, and
- missing developmental benchmarks or milestones.
Finally, it is important to note that symptoms may also develop later on in childhood. Late-appearing symptoms typically become evident once a child goes to school. These symptoms are typically cognitive, and include:
- developmental disabilities such as Asperger’s syndrome,
- ADD/ADHD, and
- issues with fine motor skills.
4. What Care or Adjustments Might My Child Require?
The goal of every birth injury claim is to compensate the child and family for the losses they suffered. Part of the compensation includes ensuring the child who has access to the healthcare they require to live an independent and fulfilling life. If you have recently learned that your child suffered a birth injury, you may feel lost, afraid, and uncertain about the future. Likely, you are wondering what types of treatment your child may need or what accommodations you must make at home.
If your child has a developmental or physical injury, they may require accessories such as a wheelchair, crutches, braces, or orthotic boots to allow them to get around at home. You may also need to make changes to your home to create a more accommodating living space for your child. Some at-home adaptations include widened doors and entryways that allow a wheelchair to pass through easily, bath and toilet chairs, or gates to block entrances to stairwells.
Care required will vary from person to person. Some children who have suffered a birth injury may go on to suffer few, if any, residual symptoms. Other children may require lifelong care.
5. My Child Succumbed to their Birth Injury. What Can I Do?
If your child sustained a fatal injury, you may be entitled to compensation through a medical malpractice or wrongful death claim. While we know that no sum of money will change the past and bring your child back, it may ease some of the financial uncertainty you may feel.
NOVA Injury Law has proven success in the area of medical malpractice. Our firm’s approach is unique as we have an in-house medical doctor who consults on all medical malpractice files.
Still unsure? We offer free, no risk consultations. You’ll get the opportunity to discuss your case with an experienced lawyer. You owe it to yourself and your family to take advantage of this offer.