Not many people realize it, but giving birth in the United States is not as safe as we would like to think. In fact, A USA Today investigation finds that the United States is the "most dangerous place to give birth in the developed world." As a result, many babies are reportedly being born with some kind of birth trauma that was not expected during pregnancy. There are times when an undiagnosed birth defect can be the cause, but there are other (more frequent) times when the baby is the victim of a birth injury that occurs during labor and delivery. A birth injury, in most cases, is completely preventable. However, medical staff can make mistakes that harm your child for a variety of reasons. When these mistakes lead to permanent disabilities like cerebral palsy, blindness, hearing impairment, and other complications, there is a lifetime of care required for the disabled child following the delivery.
If your child suffered a birth injury due to medical negligence and is now suffering from a permanent disability, you should contact an experienced attorney from Berger & Lagnese, LLC in Pittsburgh today. We represent clients who have been injured, or whose babies have sustained life-altering injuries, as a result of medical negligence during labor or delivery.
Spinal Cord Injuries
A child can suffer devastating (and sometimes permanent) consequences if an injury to their spinal cord occurs during childbirth. Spinal cord injuries suffered during birth typically occur because of blunt force trauma that can be caused by a vacuum, forceps, or the doctor’s hands when trying to remove the baby from the mother. It is possible for the spinal cord to be entirely transected, suffer a partial tear, or suffer a bruise during birth. Outside of force, medical problems that affect the brain or the nervous system can also lead to spinal cord injuries. In other cases, there are babies who suffer from spina bifida, which occurs when the vertebrae of the spine are not entirely fused together. If this goes undiagnosed the nerves can become damaged during childbirth.
Cerebral palsy is another type of birth injury that happens all too often across the country. Cerebral palsy is an injury that causes problems with movement and most often occurs prior to birth. The symptoms of cerebral palsy typically show themselves during infancy. Sometimes it takes until the child is of preschool age for the signs to show. Some of the causes of cerebral palsy include fetal stroke, infections in the mother, traumatic head injuries, infant infections, mutations in the genes of the child and a lack of oxygen to the brain during delivery.
Brain injuries are another type of birth injury that a child may suffer from as a result of medical negligence during labor or delivery. This injury occurs when the baby suffers a lack of oxygen to the brain during delivery. It can also occur when there is a lack of blood flow to the brain. The vast majority of brain injuries can typically be avoided if not for a mistake made by the doctor or nurse in the delivery room.
Consequences of Birth Injuries
When a child suffers from severe injuries due to a birth injury, the trauma can affect them for the rest of their lives. Children injured during birth may suffer from:
- Developmental disabilities
- Lack of coordination
- Breathing problems
- Failure to grow and thrive
When a severe birth injury results in disabilities that last a lifetime, a child may require extensive surgeries, costly medications, assistive devices, personal care attendants, special education, physical therapy, and more. With such extensive treatments, many families find difficulty staying financially afloat. When this is the case, an experienced attorney can fight for your right to compensation for things like medical bills, disability, therapy, future treatment, rehabilitation, pain and suffering, and more.
Resources for Parents
The challenges a child faces because of a birth injury can be immense. Especially if the birth injury leads to a permanent disability. Your child might not be able to feed, dress, bathe, or transport themselves. They also might have trouble speaking, seeing, chewing, swallowing or controlling their bodily functions. However, despite many of these challenges, it is still the goal of many adult children with disabilities to one day live independently. Like all growing adolescents, they seek the means to lead fulfilling and meaningful lives. But as any parent of a child with disabilities knows, their transition into adulthood presents both opportunities for growth as well as unique challenges associated with managing his or her special need independently for the first time. For this reason, it is not unusual for a child with a disability to require assistance. Caregivers and support organizations are typically in place for guidance and direction, but it can still be very difficult for parents to let their disabled child out into the world by themselves. Especially when their diagnosis makes living independently a challenge.
Parents should know, however, that they are not alone and that there are resources available to assist them and their child along the way. These programs exist to provide maximum lifelong functioning through high-quality and developmentally appropriate services that are meant to continue as the child moves from adolescence into adulthood.
The following resources can provide some much-needed guidance for parents of children with disabilities:
- Renters’ Rights and Housing Assistance for People with Disabilities
- Managing Your Child’s Transition to Adulthood
- Special Needs Checklist: How Disability-Friendly is Your City?
- Transition to Adulthood: Home Modifications for Young Adults with Special Needs
- Best Vocational Training Programs for Disabled in 2018
If your child was the victim of a birth injury due to medical negligence and now suffers a permanent disability, the experienced attorneys at Berger & Lagnese, LLC in Pittsburgh can help you obtain justice and the compensation you and your family deserve.
Learn More About Birth Injury Claims - Contact Our Pittsburgh Law Firm Today
The lawyers at Berger & Lagnese, LLC have a wealth of experience in helping parents and children obtain justice if they were injured due to medical malpractice during labor and delivery. If you are entitled to file a lawsuit against a negligent doctor or other medical professional, we will work tirelessly on your behalf to help make sure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve. To learn more about birth injuries and to determine whether you might be eligible to file a birth injury lawsuit, contact our law firm today.