Your child is the best gift you will ever receive. Every parent prays and wishes that their newborn is safe and healthy. Nine months of delicate care, excessive precautions and unconditional love finally culminates into the birth of the child, the moment every parent eagerly waits for.
But what happens when complications arise in childbirth? What happens when the mother and child are put in danger by an irresponsible act by the medical authorities? What happens when birth injuries occur not due to your fault, but due to medical negligence like wrong use of medical devices, failure to recognize pregnancy disorders by the doctor, or wrong prescription of prenatal drugs?
You must take legal action when this happens. Your legal rights need to be protected. You have full rights to sue the medical organization and receive compensation for the damages caused you.
However, I believe that birth injury lawsuits are beyond legal implications. Medical negligence at the time of childbirth is a matter of shame medically and socially; and justice must be delivered to the victim.
Litigation Will Help in Receiving Resources for Treatment
Medically induced birth injury cases are rare; but when they do happen the impact is grave. When a medical personnel’s fault causes cerebral palsy, facial paralysis, hypoxia, perinatal asphyxia, spinal cord injuries, bone fractures or any other injury in the child, there will be lifelong effects and the child will have to deal with it throughout his life.
As parents it’s your duty to ease out the challenges and burdens that the children are going to face. To do that they will need medical and social support at each stage of their life. Providing that is not going to be easy.
Extensive and expensive treatments and rehabilitation procedures will be required. The wronged party will need huge resources for pursuing required medical procedures. Litigation will ensure that you can pursue and receive the compensation for the above.
Compensation may not make your child fine overnight, but intensive treatments and care may gradually diminish the symptoms of the disease and enable your child to lead a better and more adjusted life. The laws are made to enable parents or legal guardians to pursue compensation, and for your child’s sake, you should.
Preserve the Medical Records
I have known parents who have been impacted severely by medical negligence which caused birth injury defects in their child. Yet they shy away from suing the responsible individuals and organization. They think litigation will be a time consuming and complicated process that will yield no results. That is untrue. Litigation is all about presenting the strongest and most relevant evidence. Medical records are the backbone of this evidence.
Collect and preserve all medical records that establish birth injury negligence. This will help in simplifying the case immensely.
In some cases, birth injury is clearly visible and diagnosed at the time of birth itself. This includes obvious physical harm to the newborn. However, in many cases, the symptoms of birth injury only manifests at later stages of life.
In such cases, the medical records are key in diagnosing and determining birth injury. The medical history information and test results must rule out the possibility of other medical conditions impacting the child’s health and development, for example, why the child is unable to meet growth milestones, or display understanding and knowledge he should at a particular stage.
Reviews of medical history and test reports will help you understand and attribute your child’s medical condition to medical negligence at birth which resulted in birth injury.
Besides litigation purposes, preserving the medical records will also help in providing the correct treatment to your child throughout, eliminating the trouble of requesting a medical history every time. It will also be helpful for educational purposes, in determining the right school for your child, assessing his self care and performance abilities, and the like.
You should also keep your child’s medical records, as the medical provider beyond a point of time will have them destroyed and is not regarded responsible for preserving them.
Keep the Statute of Limitations in Mind
States have different rules on the statute of limitations. The range is extensive, from one year from the time of birth to 21 years from birth, states have differing laws.
This makes it imperative that you file the lawsuit within the statute of limitations, because once the time has expired, you cannot file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
While filing the lawsuit it is also essential to understand that some states consider the statute of limitations from the time the injury occurred, while some consider it from the time of discovery of injury.
Consult an Expert Attorney
You must receive your compensation and the litigation process must be navigated in the right manner. Approach an attorney who has a successful record in dealing in medical malpractice cases. Initial consultation is free for most attorneys.
Narrate the episode to the attorney. Hire an attorney who best understands your case professionally and personally. To win the case, your attorney will have to prove that the defendant had violated the standard of care by committing or omitting a medical act that led to injuring or causing defects in the child.
The attorney should also unambiguously be able to prove the severity, duration and expenses ( past, present, and future) involved in the injury and acquire the justified compensation.
These rare, but horrific incidents of medical negligence induced birth injury and defects are devastating for the parents. Though the emotional turmoil and mental disturbance the parents of the children, and the children themselves experience can never be measured or compensated, financial compensation and justice can be the much needed healing bandage to the wounds.
Ralph Leon is Marketing Manager at The Berkowitz Law Firm LLC, one of the leading medical malpractice law firms in Connecticut. He has experience of more than a decade in writing about law and legal issues, particularly medical malpractice and personal injury law.