A newborn baby has their whole life ahead of them, but a birth injury gives them a rough start. If your child has suffered from a birth injury, consider consulting with a Philadelphia birth injury lawyer. Experienced birth injury attorneys have handled cases like yours before, so they can provide counsel and guidance on how to get justice for your child.
Common Types of Birth Injuries and Their Impact
Some birth injuries are immediately obvious, while some are more subtle and will only manifest with time. Some of the common birth injuries include:
- Cerebral Palsy (CP): Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to a baby's developing brain, which affects their ability to move, control, or coordinate their muscles. CP can be caused by birth complications that affect oxygen flow to the child. The impact of cerebral palsy on children varies. Severe cases may cause permanent disability, and the affected child may require lifelong care. Mild cases may only affect the child slightly. For example, the child may walk in an awkward posture.
- Brachial plexus injury: The brachial plexus is a group of nerves between the neck and shoulders that provide feeling and muscle control in the chest, arm, shoulder, forearms, and hands. Most brachial plexus injuries occur during a difficult delivery when the baby’s neck is stretched to one side, causing the brachial plexus nerves to be excessively stretched or torn. The impact on the child depends on the type of nerve injury and the location. The mildest form of nerve damage involves the stretching of the brachial plexus nerves without them tearing. This is known as neurapraxia, and it may heal within months. In the most severe form of brachial plexus injury, the nerve roots are severed from the spinal cord, known as an avulsion. This may lead to Erb's palsy, Horner’s syndrome, or Klumpke’s palsy.
- Intracranial hemorrhage: This is bleeding in or around the brain caused by the rupture of blood vessels. Although it can happen to any infant, it is more common among those born prematurely. About 25% of preterm infants weighing less than 1500 g (3.3 lbs) have intracranial hemorrhage. There are several types of intracranial hemorrhage based on the location of the bleeding: subarachnoid hemorrhage, subdural hemorrhage, epidural hematoma, and intraventricular hemorrhage. Some of these cases may heal without treatment, but more severe cases may lead to motor problems, such as cerebral palsy, brain injury, or developmental delays.
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE): Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is a birth injury that occurs because the child's brain suffered oxygen deprivation (birth asphyxia), sometimes because of complications during labor, delivery, or soon after birth. The severity of the impact on the child depends on the length of time their brain is without an adequate supply of oxygen. HEI may cause long-term conditions, such as cognitive impairment, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, or epilepsy.
6 Signs You Should Consult a Philadelphia Birth Injury Lawyer
If any of these signs are present, you should speak with a Philadelphia birth injuries attorney:
Your Child Suffered Birth-Related Injuries
The best time to consult a birth injury lawyer is immediately after you notice that your child suffered a birth injury. The injury may be mild, such as a cerebral compression that goes away in a couple of days or weeks. But it can also be severe and permanent, leading to impaired motor functions or developmental delays.
You Suspect Medical Negligence or Malpractice in the Birth Process
Not all birth injury cases are caused by negligence. Something can go wrong despite medical professionals exercising due care. However, sometimes medical negligence caused the injury, and if you suspect that to be the case, you should speak with a Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney.
Your Child Was Not Promptly Diagnosed or Was Misdiagnosed
Some medical complications present in newborns can be treated successfully without any permanent injury if they are diagnosed promptly. A delay in diagnosing a medical condition or a misdiagnosis can be dangerous. For example, jaundice is a common condition in newborn babies, and it's usually not threatening. However, untreated severe cases can lead to brain damage. A Philadelphia birth injury attorney can help you determine if your child’s birth injury was caused by a delayed or inaccurate diagnosis.
You Lacked Information About the Risks
You have the right to be informed about the risks associated with specific procedures or interventions during childbirth. If you were not fully informed about the potential injuries the mother or the child could suffer and a birth injury occurs because of that procedure, it may amount to medical malpractice. An injury lawyer in Philadelphia can help you determine if you have a legal claim.
You Are Coping With a Case of Wrongful Death
Some birth injuries are fatal. Nothing can adequately prepare you for the myriad of feelings you may experience from losing a child because of a birth injury. However, a birth trauma lawyer can help you get to the root of the case and seek justice.
Injury Resulted in Long-Term Consequences
Your child may survive the birth injury but suffer long-term effects that impact their quality of life. This requires lifelong care in some cases. A Philadelphia birth injury lawyer can guide you in seeking fair compensation to cover medical bills, therapy, rehabilitation, and medical equipment your child may require.
Consult an Experienced Birth Injury Lawyer in Philadelphia
Time is not on your side if your child has suffered a birth injury. You need to act promptly before the statute of limitation bars you from filing a birth injury claim. Our experienced and compassionate birth injury lawyers at McEldrew Purtell can answer all the questions you may have about your child’s injury. Our lawyers will use all of their experience and expertise to give you the best chance of receiving the compensation and justice your child deserves. Contact us to schedule a free consultation, and let us guide you through this challenging time.