Experiencing a birth injury is a traumatizing experience that can be mentally damaging to all of those involved. A birth injury can lead to a lifetime of suffering and medical treatment, so it’s important to seek help as soon as you become aware of the injury. Some of the most important places to seek help from are medical professionals, personal injury lawyers, insurance companies, mental health professionals, and family members.
What are birth injuries?
While some birth injuries may not be severe, there are plenty of birth defects that can be debilitating to a person’s life and result in permanent disability. Some of the most common birth injuries include cerebral palsy, brain damage, Erb’s palsy, brachial plexus, spinal cord injury, oxygen deprivation, and facial paralysis. Although the severity of these defects ranges from serious injuries to minor injuries, all of them can be traumatic to the infant and the parents.
What are the causes of birth injury?
These injuries are typically the result of a medical error (or negligence on behalf of the obstetrician) during the delivery process that occurs within the delivery room, or during a water delivery. If the obstetrician fails to provide adequate medical care, it’s possible for the birth to go poorly. One of the most common negligent practices includes the use of forceps while the infant is in the birth canal. Communication error is another common cause of birth injury–if the gynecologist has poor communication with their medical staff or the mother, this can lead to serious injuries for the infant.
It’s important to note; however, that birth injuries are not always caused by a physician’s negligence. There are plenty of natural factors that can result in a newborn becoming injured during birth. Some of these common causes of injury include the infant being too large for the birth canal, the infant is positioned to come out feet first, it is a premature birth, the mother is overweight, or the birthing process takes a long time. Regardless of the level of care provided by the attending obstetrician, they can do everything correctly every step of the way during labor, and these conditions can still cause a birth defect. These situations are often out of the hands of the doctor and the mother, so unfortunately the child’s injury may not be avoidable. Other unfortunate but common causes of birth injury include car accidents—if the pregnant mother experiences a car accident, then it’s possible for the fetus to suffer a serious injury while in the womb.
How to determine negligence.
In order to determine whether your birth trauma was the result of medical negligence, you’ll need to establish the four elements of negligence. These elements include: demonstrating that there was a duty of care owed, there was a breach of this duty, there was a harm suffered, and that this harm was caused by the breach of duty. If you can adequately show that your doctor breached their duty of care during the birthing process, then you are likely to have a successful personal injury case. Overall, negligence is usually the result of carelessness, which can ultimately lead to a serious permanent injury or infant death. If you feel that your doctor’s had a sense of carelessness in the delivery room, then seeking additional medical help and legal advice is the best way to determine whether the healthcare professionals assisting in your birth were negligent during the childbirth.
Seek medical attention.
Since birth injuries can be severe and require long-term care, it’s in the family’s best interest to seek proper medical treatment for your newborn as soon as possible. Whether the child’s injury is physical or has resulted in a mental disorder, new parents must address any birth injury in a timely manner in order to have a chance of treatment and in some cases to prevent a wrongful death. A different medical expert in a separate medical facility will likely be able to recognize any issues that have resulted in severe injuries of the child. A medical expert will be able to determine the extent of the injury and the individual needs required to treat your child’s medical condition. Serious complications in a childbirth can either lead to common injuries that are easily treated, or more complex cases that require extensive treatments from multiple pediatricians and medical experts. Overall, there are a number of factors that can lead to significantly different types of birth injuries; however, it’s important to make sure that the original negligent gynecologist experience doesn’t discourage you from seeking additional treatment from other doctors. Even if your child suffers from a permanent injury, such as spina bifida, that results in a loss of a normal life, the proper treatment of your child’s injury can enhance their quality of life.
Seek legal advice.
Once you’ve realized that your child has suffered an injury at birth, you must weigh your legal options and seek legal advice in a timely manner. A birth injury case must be brought within the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the time period during which a lawsuit may be brought. In birth injury cases, the statute of limitations typically begins once the birth injury is noticed and they must act quickly to bring the case to a birth injury lawyer. Taking too long means they could be unable to bring the case altogether, regardless of the extent of the injury. It’s important to note that most jurisdictions have a statute of limitations that consists of a period of two years, meaning the new parents have two years to bring the birth injury lawsuit to an attorney from the time that they first noticed it.
In order to retain a birth injury attorney, you’ll need to set up a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer within the surrounding community. For example, if you’re in the Illinois area then it will be in your best interest to search for a birth injury lawyer in Chicago. Your attorney will require your infant’s medical records as well as any personal information that may be relevant to the case, such as medical bills, prescription drugs, treatment centers, and other medical records that may be essential in allowing the personal injury lawyer to analyze your case. If the birth injury was the result of an auto accident rather than medical error, then the attorney will need your records regarding that accident and the types of treatment the mother and the newborn have received as a result. Regardless of the specific cause of the birth injury, a personal injury lawyer will be able to discuss your legal rights and legal options with you, and once you’ve found the best match for an attorney, you must immediately discuss their legal fees. Upon retaining an attorney and providing them with the discovery that they’ll need, your experienced birth injury lawyer will take care of the rest of the case, and ensure that you can receive some financial recovery for your medical expenses.
Prioritize mental health.
While it may be easy to become fully engrossed in your child’s injury, it’s important as new parents to take care of your mental health too. Residential mental health facilities can be a great place for new parents to cope with the distress that they’ve experienced. These residential mental health facilities can help new parents from relying on substance abuse and remaining strong for their family members. The healthcare providers and therapists at these treatment facilities will eliminate any negative stigma around mental illness and can be beneficial for families who are suffering from their child’s injury or wrongful death of their newborn.
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