There is no doubt that welcoming a child should be a joyous and momentous occasion. Unfortunately for some parents, when a baby is born with unexpected brain damage or physical problems or defects, life can get very complicated, and very expensive, very fast. Children that suffer preventable birth injuries such as brain injuries or developmental issues will unfortunately require major health care for life – often creating significant financial hardships for the family. The tragedy of birth injury is compounded when the harm is traced to the negligence of physicians or nurses.
If your newborn was critically injured during pre-natal care or childbirth you should not immediately accept the explanations or excuses offered by the hospital and or doctors. Instead, you should consult a Hamilton medical malpractice lawyer as soon as you suspect there is a birth injury issue. Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers are personal injury lawyers that can help families prosecute serious cases of birth injury malpractice in Ontario. If your child has been injured by birth injury malpractice, our lawyers can help you understand your legal rights.
All too often, babies are born with problems that don’t match their parents’ wonderful expectations. Sometimes it’s because the baby is born with an undiagnosed birth defect, and sometimes the baby is actually victim of a birth injury that occurs during labor and delivery which could have been preventable. There are many questions to ask – such as whether or not the doctor viewed the imaging materials and/or ultrasound properly. Perhaps the injury could have been prevented by monitoring the size of the baby within the birth canal or whether or not the umbilical cord and/or placenta were not uin healthy positions. With all of this, could a difficult birth have been prevented?
Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers can help if your child has suffered physical injury, neurological injury or brain damage as a result of harm suffered before, during or after childbirth. We can help with cases involving:
Erbs palsy – is an obstetric brachial plexus disorder caused by injury to the brachial plexus, which are nerves traveling from the neck and down the arm. Children normally develop Erb’s Palsy if they been unnaturally tugged on or pulled, resulting in the neck being stretched during the labor and delivery period. Erb’s palsy usually occurs as a result of a lesion at Erb’s point, the area near the baby’s neck where the fifth and sixth cranial nerves merge to create the upper point of the brachial plexus. Erb’s palsy often occurs during stressful labor and is characteristically caused by pulling the head and arm in opposite directions. Erb’s palsy can also be caused when the baby is delivered in a breech birth. These injuries sometimes require surgery or can heal over time and children often suffer permanent minor to severe disability. Problems that typically develop foor children are related to problems moving their affected arm or shoulder after birth, the affected arm is held or moved in towards one side of their body, there is apparent weakness, distrubed reflexes, loss of feeling, problems related to grip strength, and possibly ongoing pain.
Cerebral Palsy – a condition that affects a child’s brain and causes motor deficiency due to a part of the brain that’s dormant or paralyzed. Cerebral Palsy normally leads to either partial or complete muscle paralysis. The conditions normally occurs before, during, or soon after birth and can end up being a lifetime disability for the affected child.
Deprivation of Oxygen – Oxygen deprivation to a fetus can happen at any time during a pregnancy, but it most often occurs during labor and delivery – such as the failure to respond to umbilical cord distress. Oxygen deprivation is often referred to as hypoxia.
Uterine Ruptures – this is a serious complication that occurs during vaginal birth when the mother’s uterus tears. The tearing can cause the baby to slip into the mother’s abdomen. The significant bleeding that normally occurs can also suffocate the baby. A uterine tear requires immediate surgical intervention.
Facial Paralysis – this is sometimes referred to as facial nerve palsy. A baby’s facial nerve is also called the 7th cranial nerve, and can be injured just before or at the time of delivery. The condition often involves the lower part of the facial nerve which controls the mouth – causing a person loss of the controllable muscle movement of the face. Improper forceps use in utero has been reported to be a common cause of facial paralysis.
Spinal Cord Injury – this can occur during highly stressful deliveries. Spinal cord injury during the birthing process has been linked to obstetrical forceps (especially when a rotational component was required), abnormal forces and overstretching of the child’s body during breech delivery (sometimes called turtle syndrome), rotational forces and hyper-extension of the neck and head.
Intracranial hemorrhage – otherwise known as a brain bleed – could be minor to severe. Intracranial hemorrhages are normally brought on by a burst vessel in the baby’s head which causes blood to flood into the brain. Intracranial hemorrhages typically occur with the use of forceps or instrument delivery, vaginal breech delivery, prolonged or traumatic delivery. Intercranial hemorrhaging used to be a more common cause of neonatal death following a traumatic birth – but reported incidents have decreased with improved obstetric care.
Unfortunately when babies undergoes a traumatic delivery and suffer injury, their medical complications and problems can be life-long. More likely than not, a child compromised during the birthing process will go on to suffer major neurological problem or developmental disorders, often requiring a parent to stay at home to provide full-time to care. Additionally, the injuries that the child suffers might surely diminish their future earning potential.
The future costs of caring for individual with a birth related injury, such as cerebral palsy or erb’s palsy can be incredibly substantial and often times place major stress on family finances. The present-value or life-time costs can easily reach 7 to 8 figures – including economic and non-economic damages. In birthing injury cases, damages are mostly sought to ensure the care and safety of the child, to provide long-term care and rehabilitation.
Improvements in obstetric care have no doubt led to a decrease in the incidence of birth injuries, but unfortunately they are still encountered from time to time. The reality is that doctors, nurses, midwives and other medical professionals often make preventable mistakes errors that cause a disability that requires a lifetime of ongoing care and treatment. Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers understand the brutal financial burden of medical bills and future care outside of OHIP that families must contend. Our Ontario birth injury lawyers work tremendously hard to help our clients’ and their families recover full and fair compensation for their past, present and future medical needs. Contact us today at 905-333-8888 for more information, or fill in a confidential contact form and tell us about your case.