At birth, most babies are delivered head first. Because of this, the baby’s shoulders and neck face the highest risk of injury. While birth injuries are unique, the main reasons why babies suffer birth injuries involve poor prenatal care or a medical professional who fails to properly respond to emergencies or assess risk factors. This, in turn, can also result in serious injury to the newborn. This failure by a healthcare provider to uphold the expected quality of care is referred to as medical negligence. If your child has suffered a birth injury, keep reading as we explore three things you can do to manage it.
1. Understand common birth injuries and how they occur.
Common birth injuries include Brachial Palsy, which occurs when the group of nerves that service the arms and hands (brachial plexus) is injured. This is likely to occur in situations where it’s difficult to deliver the baby’s shoulders. Also known as shoulder dystocia, the implication of this is that the baby loses the ability to rotate their arms. Due to the trauma involved when passing through the birth canal, some newborns may develop injury marks on their head and face. The birth forceps used during child delivery can leave temporary marks on the baby’s face and head as well.
During the birth process or labor, the pressure applied on the baby’s face may injure the facial nerve, resulting in facial paralysis. This paralysis becomes noticeable when the baby cries. Collarbone or clavicle fractures tend to occur during the birth process. The clavicle may break when the baby is breached or when there is trouble delivering the baby’s shoulders. Oxygen deprivation during the birth process can result in brain injuries.
2. Seek medical support.
Seeking effective treatment after a birth injury has occurred is an important step. Some medical treatments may be able to reverse or correct the damage caused, but the likelihood of these treatments being successful depends on how soon they’re given. Several treatment options can be prescribed to help manage the symptoms and associated conditions of your child’s injury.
A variety of medications exist to treat symptoms that result from different types of birth injuries, but none of these medications offer a cure, and some don’t treat the cause of your child’s birth injury. However, they help manage symptoms. Pain killers can help children who suffer from muscle tightness and muscle spasms, as in cerebral palsy. If your child is born with brain damage, they may be prone to seizures. In this case, anti-seizure medications can help reduce the severity of these seizures.
To help cover the cost of paying for medical supplies and services, most pharmacies accept insurance from several insurance companies. Before sending out your child’s prescription to a pharmacy near you, find out what types of insurance they bill (Medicare, Medicaid, Medi-Cal) and what medical supplies will be covered.
Physical therapy is a common treatment option for children who have brachial plexus injuries (Erb’s palsy), shoulder dystocia, lack of muscle control, and weakened muscles. Where permanent injury has occurred, physical therapy can help your child move better while also minimizing their pain. Studies have found that physical therapy can enhance your child’s quality of life by improving their ability to perform daily tasks, such as eating and getting out of bed.
Your obstetrician may also recommend some mental health resources as part of your child’s mental and behavioral health. If your child is born with brain damage, they will likely have behavioral or emotional challenges. If your child suffers from autism, for instance, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help them learn to manage their emotions, socialize with other children, and control their impulses. CBT is a short-term treatment plan that is administered by a licensed therapist, and it helps the patient understand how their behaviors and emotions affect each other.
In addition to conventional birth injury treatments, your child may also benefit from a variety of supplemental treatments. Acupressure and acupuncture, for instance, are effective pain management treatments. Massage therapy can help increase mobility while also managing muscle pain. If your child has cerebral palsy or a developmental disability, recreational therapy can also help your child. Every child’s injury is unique, making it difficult to ascertain the exact treatment that will work for each baby. Because of this, proper diagnosis is extremely important. Also, be sure to consult your healthcare provider before starting a new course of treatment.
3. Discuss your legal options with birth injury lawyers.
If your child develops a medical condition that you suspect may have been caused by birth trauma during the delivery process, you must know all of your legal options. Parents of children who are victims of medical negligence at childbirth can launch a birth injury claim to seek compensation for medical expenses, supportive therapies, medical bills, rehabilitative treatments, and long-term care.
An experienced birth injury lawyer will also offer counsel on what to expect during your birth injury litigation, such as how to dress for the lawsuit (petite suits for women and business attire for men). Further to this, your medical malpractice attorney should have years of experience practicing in your local state to understand state laws as they pertain to your birth injury claim. If you’re in the Illinois area, for instance, your attorney should be well versed in Illinois law to understand the statute of limitations on birth injury claims in Illinois. This will be able to guide them on whether your medical malpractice claim can still stand in a court of law.
If you’re in the Chicago metro area, reach out to a birth injury law office at Schwaner Injury Law to speak with a seasoned birth injury attorney who can explain the legal options available to you. The Chicago birth injury lawyer works on a contingency fee basis, which means that you only pay their legal fee once you win your medical malpractice lawsuit. For a free consultation, visit their website, or call them at (773) 245-0791 today.