Physical injuries sustained by babies during birth are known as birth injuries. These injuries result from the forces of compression and traction experienced by the baby while transiting through the birth canal. Many factors can lead to a birth injury, namely, premature birth, prolonged labour, fetal oxygen deprivation, breech baby, and medical malpractice.
Birth injuries can range from mild lacerations to major and permanent injuries that cause lifelong disability. Minor injuries don’t require medical intervention and subside on their own. However, life-threatening injuries like nerve damage and bone fractures may require surgery.
Birth injuries are much lower now due to improved medical techniques like ultrasonography, which helps in prenatal assessment. Additionally, limited use of forceps (a tool used to hold the head and guide the baby through the birth canal) and deciding on a cesarean delivery in case of high chances of a birth injury can help reduce the chances.
In the aftermath of a birth injury, parents can feel devastated and helpless. This article will guide new parents about what path to follow after delivering a baby with a birth injury.
Seek Legal Help
If you suspect medical negligence to be the cause of your baby’s birth injury, seek legal advice before the statute of limitations expires. Consult a qualified birth injury lawyer to help you navigate your way through birth injury litigation.
A legal team can assist you in receiving the maximum amount of financial compensation to bear the charges of medical expenses in the minimum amount of time. The failure of doctors to provide their patients with the best possible care is one of the many forms of medical negligence. Your lawyer will file your birth injury claim and prove that the medical staff involved in the delivery of your child could not provide quality care. Medical errors that can lead to a birth injury are;
- Improper administration of medicine
- Failure to diagnose an infection in mother or baby
- Improper use of forceps
- Failure to attentively monitor the condition of mother and baby during birth
Serious birth injuries can cause parents to face years of emotional and financial distress. In this stressful journey, receiving monetary compensation from the responsible authorities is the least that can be done. The timeframe for birth injury lawsuits varies. Some cases are resolved within months, while some may take years to settle.
Even when the case is over, qualified attorneys may stay in contact with you to follow up on your case if a new problem surfaces.
Seek Medical Help
Seeking medical care for your baby should be your priority after a birth injury. Some birth injuries like cerebral palsy, paralysis, and fractures can be recognized right away. Babies suffering from severe birth injuries may be rushed to the emergency room. However, several injuries are not immediately evident like, nerve and muscle damage. These injuries remain latent and may show symptoms as physical and intellectual disabilities later on. Consult an experienced pediatrician to assist you through the diagnosis and treatment process. Immediate medical intervention may help minimize further damage and save your baby from lifelong disability.
Identifying Symptoms of a Birth Injury
For new parents identifying a birth injury can be challenging. Here are some signs and symptoms that can help you identify a birth injury.
- Seizures occurring within 48 hours of birth
- Abrasions or swelling anywhere on the infant’s body
- Breathing difficulty or need for CPR
- Lack of toned muscles resulting in limp arms and legs
- Failure to respond to loud noises, bright lights
- Slow feeding or suckling
- Inability to grasp objects
- Speech impairment and walking disability
If you notice any of these symptoms, consult the concerned physician. They will help you diagnose whether the symptoms are due to a birth injury or other illness.
Research Treatment Options for a Birth Injury
The concerned physician may design a treatment plan based on the birth injury sustained by your baby. Common birth injuries include brachial palsy, hemorrhage, perinatal asphyxia, Erb’s palsy, bone fractures, brain, skin, and soft tissue damage.
Surgery for severe bone, nerve, and brain damage may be recommended. Physical therapy is encouraged for babies with Erb’s palsy. Medications may be prescribed to help alleviate symptoms and prolong life while ensuring a better quality of life. Occupational therapies may be employed to deal with physical and intellectual disabilities. These therapies enable disabled children to perform daily life tasks.
Alternative treatments like nutritional therapy, recreational exercise therapy, acupuncture, and massage therapy may also be employed to lessen the pain and symptoms resulting from a birth injury. Music, art, and behavioural therapy may be utilized to ensure emotional development.
Treatment decisions are crucial from the moment a birth injury is diagnosed. Early medical intervention can help your child get the maximum benefit from these treatments.
Seek Community Support
Apart from seeking legal and medical help for a birth injury, you may also find a source of support from around your community. Many great official, unofficial and non-profit support groups exist to help you on every step of your journey. Some of these organizations are;
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has a list of resources for families affected by cerebral palsy.
- Reaching For the Stars is a national organization with an active Facebook group. They encourage the research to find cures for children with birth injuries like cerebral palsy.
- The Arc is a local support organization that helps support children with intellectual disabilities.
- Mommies of Miracles is an online support group. This group is specifically for mothers with children affected by birth injuries resulting in developmental impairments.
Navigating the legal and medical world of birth injuries can be a challenge. The above article might help clear up some of your confusion and hopefully guide you about the path to follow after delivering a baby with a birth injury. The assistance of qualified and cooperative lawyers and doctors can make this journey somewhat less taxing for you.
If you are equipped with the exact information, you may be able to take timely legal action and receive adequate financial assistance to treat your baby’s birth injury. Moreover, appropriate and timely medical care may also save your baby from developing severe disabilities.