If you’re having a child, you’ve probably spent months planning for your new arrival.
You’ve prepared the nursery and the childcare. Above all else, you’ve prepared yourself.
Unfortunately, some things are beyond your control and giving birth brings its own inherent risks.
Sometimes, birth injuries are unavoidable and unpreventable. Other times (in the very worst of times) they are the result of negligence or medical mishaps.
Of course, nobody ever wants to find themselves in the position of needing legal advice. This is especially true when welcoming a child into the world.
But, unfortunately, mistakes do happen. Blatant medical errors happen, and medical malpractice occurs every single day.
We hope you never find yourself in a birth injury law circumstance. If you do, it will be better to have as much information as possible ahead of time.
Read on for the essential things you need to know about birth injuries:
What is Considered a Birth Injury?
A birth injury is an injury sustained during the process of giving birth – just before, during or after the delivery. It is usually a preventable injury caused by an error.
Birth Defect and Birth Injury – What’s The Difference?
There is a big difference between a birth injury and a birth defect.
Birth defects occur within the early stages of pregnancy. They’re something your baby is born with – such as Down Syndrome, or a heart murmur. Birth defects are caused by internal factors like family genes and DNA and can also be caused by external factors such as the mother ingesting harmful drugs, etc.
A birth injury is much different. It’s directly caused by an error during the actual birth.
Birth Injury – Mild to Severe
Birth injuries come in many different forms, and they range in severity from mild to severe. These injuries can be of a temporary nature.
Some are curable and will get better over time. Others are permanent, and will last a lifetime.
Most of the time, mild injuries are immediately noticeable. Things like a broken bone and noticeable bruising or cuts are clear to the naked eye.
Some severe birth injuries can be seen right away. The baby may be off color, have an inability to suck, or experience seizures.
There are also severe birth injuries that cannot be seen immediately, and are discovered over time. For instance, it can take a while for parents or medical personnel to notice stiff muscles or jaundice.
What Causes Birth Injuries?
Birth injuries are generally caused by oxygen deprivation or delayed birth. Most of the time this occurs because of medical malpractice.
Oxygen deprivation is critical. It’s a component that leads to a wide variety of brain-related birth injuries. Delayed birth, meanwhile, is considered to be a birth of anything over 18 hours duration.
In the main, both oxygen deprivation and delayed birth are outside of your control and can be the result of some form of medical malpractice. That is to say, your medical team has made mistakes in your care.
These mistakes have been caused by negligence, miscalculations, or miscomprehension.
Types of Birth Injury
There are a variety of different types of birth injury. Some are more devastating to your child’s future than others. Some appear as brain-related difficulties. Others appear as muscle-related injuries. The most well-known consequence of birth injury is Cerebral Palsy.
Sometimes, birth injuries can lead to the development of Cerebral Palsy (CP). A very complex condition that manifests itself in many forms, cerebral palsy is perhaps the most traumatic condition resulting from a birth injury.
This disability is forever life-altering, and has a significant and devastating impact. The impact is not only on the child, but on the entire family. With constant medical care needed, the personal and financial implications of a CP diagnosis are huge.
There are, of course, other types of devastating consequences that arise from birth injury. This list is not exhaustive:
- Different forms of brain damage
- Mental retardation
- Erb’s Palsy
- Intracranial haemorrhages
- Infections like meningitis and sepsis
- Developmental or learning delays
- Umbilical cord compression
- Physical abnormalities
- Premature birth
- Infections in the mother
What Can You Do?
No parent wants to think about things like birth injuries. Still, it’s important to be aware, because mistakes happen. As a parent, you need to be prepared for if they happen to your family.
If it does happen to you
Fight through the despair and confusion. This is a horrible situation, but it’s important to keep a clear head. This is the time to trust your paternal instincts.
If you believe there is something not quite right with your baby, you need to have these concerns immediately addressed. Identify the problem as quickly as you can, and report it promptly.
The moment your child is diagnosed with a birth injury, seek legal counsel immediately.
A hospital cares for its own interests, and you will need a birth injury lawyer actively looking after yours.
Malpractice lawyers are experts in this field. We will be able to offer you and your family the clear, logical, and trained advice you need at such a monumental moment in your life.
Birth Injury – Lifetime Consequence
Calling it a ‘birth injury’ almost doesn’t seem just, does it? A birth injury is so much more than an “injury.”
It’s a wound. It’s an overwhelming wound that will impact the rest of your lives.
This is not your fault. It could, and should, have been prevented.
You are not alone. We may not be able to go back in time and change the events that have led to today. But we can work together to change the future for you, your child and your family.