Every birth is miraculous, considering all of the biological processes that must come together to launch a new life. Fortunately, most deliveries occur without problems. And yet, when a problem arises, the emotional, psychological, and financial damages can be enormous. In addition, when medical mistakes cause birth injuries, the emotional and economic consequences can be even more complex.
Medical providers whose practices fall below the acceptable standard of care in the medical field can inflict extensive harm on mothers and newborns. Their negligence might include inappropriate prenatal care when they fail to follow the standard protocols of prescribing prenatal vitamins,; reviewing the patient’s chart for high-risk factors, such as a family history of hypertension, obesity, and diabetes; running appropriate tests to identify medical conditions that may affect the child; or scheduling regular checkups to monitor the pregnancy.
During the process of childbirth, doctors may injure babies through the faulty use of medical equipment to extract a baby from the birth canal with forceps or a vacuum extractor, or they may fail to take appropriate steps during the birth process, such as a timely cesarean birth or labor inducement by the right dose of Pitocin. Failure to monitor a fetus often leads to brain damage due to insufficient oxygen levels, whether that is the result of a compressed umbilical cord, uterine rupture, or placental abruption. An untreated infection can also lead to long-term damage.
Exploring the Lifelong Repercussions of Birth Injuries
The various acts and omissions comprising medical malpractice may leave a newborn with heartbreaking diseases and disorders, such as Cerebral Palsy, Erb’s Palsy or brachial plexus injury, kernicterus, seizures, shoulder dystocia, brain damage, Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), facial paralysis or bone fractures. Whether injuries occur to the brain, nerves, spine, blood, or bones, the long-term effects of birth injuries can consume parents emotionally and financially as they watch their loved one suffer physically, emotionally, mentally, and socially over the years. Birth injuries may lead to cognitive delays, physical disabilities, chronic illness, and emotional and psychological damage.
When oxygen deprivation occurs, a baby may end up with Cerebral Palsy, a brain disorder affecting the neurology controlling muscle coordination and movement, or HIE that results in brain damage. Either condition may occur from faulty monitoring of the fetus and birth complications, such as umbilical cord compression. Both conditions cause cognitive disabilities that can slow a child’s intellectual development from the start, continuing throughout their life. Brain damage from trauma can also cause cognitive impairment, leading to learning disabilities and information-processing difficulties. Traumatic brain injuries may result from misused birth-assistive devices or delayed medical treatment. For example, excessively long labor can cause brain damage to a fetus or macrosomia when a child is too large to exit the birth canal. The timing of a cesarean birth is critical to avoid injury. When doctors delay in performing a c-section, a baby may suffer traumatic brain injury.
And yet, birth injuries create not only cognitive but also physical delays in children. Erb’s Palsy, a neurological injury affecting a newborn’s arm, and kernicterus, a condition caused by excessive levels of bilirubin, can also affect a baby’s physical development. Erb’s Palsy occurs when extreme force during the delivery causes injury to a baby’s nerves around the shoulder area, affecting the hands, neck, and shoulder. The effects may be temporary or long-term, delaying a baby’s physical development so they miss typical milestones, like lifting their head, rolling over, and sitting up.
Kernicterus, too, can affect a baby’s cognitive and physical development. This condition occurs when high bilirubin levels in a baby’s bloodstream cause physical damage, such as hearing loss, intellectual delays, and vision and dental problems. A baby with untreated jaundice can develop kernicterus and suffer delayed development. Children with Erb’s Palsy or Kernicterus may need physical and cognitive therapies to help them hear, see, exercise, or learn.
Likewise, shoulder dystocia, which occurs during birth when a baby gets stuck in the birth canal, can cause lifelong physical developmental delays. When the baby’s shoulder gets trapped behind the pelvis, the result is nerve damage and fractures. Other birth injuries that impede or slow normal physical development are facial paralysis and bone fractures occurring from the excessive force and mishandling of birth instruments.
Early development cognitive and physical delays can place a child behind their peers for the rest of their life, but so can chronic conditions that develop from birth injuries. Chronic seizures, Cerebral Palsy, and nerve damage are lifelong conditions that may subject a child to epileptic seizures, muscle spasms, muscle atrophy, and sensory deficits. Children with Cerebral Palsy need continuous medical treatment, monitoring, and therapeutic care to help them complete daily tasks, such as walking, eating, bathing, and learning. They often need assistive devices to help them learn, communicate, or move.
Finally, emotional and psychological long-term effects from birth injuries include feelings of inadequacy, social isolation, frustration, and low self-esteem. Children understand they are different from other children, which may affect their confidence and sense of alienation. Parents, too, may suffer emotional and psychological injuries witnessing their child struggle to navigate simple life tasks. They may suffer guilt and anxiety or grieve the healthy child they should have had. Parents and children feeling the effects of birth injuries may need counseling to help them cope.
The Long-term Financial Impacts of Birth Injuries
Long-term care and treatment are costly. Regular doctor visits, therapy, counseling, rehabilitation, and special educational needs require money to pay specialists, home modification construction crews, medical device companies, and pharmacies. Moreover, caretaking a child with chronic and lifelong injuries is often a full-time job, eliminating one parent’s ability to earn wages. The financial costs of birth injuries are overwhelming.
The reason many injured victims turn to medical malpractice attorneys is for assistance in obtaining financial compensation for their ongoing deficits. Such losses cover companionship, life, life expectancy, and finances. Children with severe disabilities may never have the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with their peers or other family members. Their parents understand that their child may never experience life’s pleasures and most significant moments due to their disability and that their child may not live a long, whole life.
The emotional and financial tolls are high in birth injury cases and parents often need financial assistance that a medical malpractice action can provide. When the negligence of medical professionals caused your childbirth injury, you may be eligible to recover your past and future outlays for medical care, medication, therapies, rehabilitation, lost wages, and emotional and physical pain and suffering. The legal system is challenging to navigate without the help of a professional, and medical malpractice lawsuits are incredibly complicated.
Talk to a Lawyer about the Emotional and Financial Toll of Your Child’s Birth Injury due to Medical Mistakes
Our team of medical malpractice attorneys in New Jersey fully comprehends the substantial, lifelong impacts of your child’s birth injury diagnosis. If medical negligence on the part of an obstetrician, another physician, hospital medical staff, or others caused your newborn harm, it is essential to explore all of your available legal channels for obtaining compensation on your child’s behalf. After investigating and documenting all of the long-term effects of your child’s injuries, our lawyers will help you meet important filing deadlines, obtain critical proof for your claim, and negotiate for a settlement or present your case to a jury for the optimal financial award. We handle the entirety of the process, from examining your child’s case to determine if it meets the requirements for a valid legal claim, and effectively demonstrating that your child’s injuries are compensable by the ones who caused you and your family damages.
Contact us today at 866-708-8617 for a confidential, no-cost, no obligation consultation with a medical malpractice attorney to discuss your potential birth injury case.