Raising a child who has a birth injury is often times more expensive than is raising a healthy child. For many families, the costs of caring for a child with a birth injury can be staggering, and result in the family struggling to pay bills or being unable to provide the child with the care that he or she needs. For any family whose child’s birth injuries was caused by a medical negligence, filing a medical malpractice claim to recover damages may be an option.
What are the Most Common Birth Injuries
Birth Injuries, an article by Dr. James W. Kendig and Dr. Ursula Nawab in The Merck Manual, states that a traumatic delivery that leads to an infant injury is more likely when the mother has small pelvic measurements, when the baby is in an abnormal position, or when the infant is larger than normal. These are foreseeable conditions that an obstetrician should recognize and take steps to address to prevent a traumatic delivery.
Birth injuries that may result due to these factors, as well as others, include:
- Head molding;
- Scalp abrasions;
- Caput succedaneum;
- Subgaleal hemorrhage;
- Depressed skull fractures;
- Facial nerve injury;
- Brachial plexus injuries;
- Phrenic nerve injuries;
- Other peripheral nerve injuries;
- Spinal cord injury;
- Intracranial hemorrhage;
- Fractures; and
- Soft tissue injuries.
Cerebral palsy is another type of birth injury that a child may incur. Usually, this is the case when the child is deprived of oxygen for a significant amount of time during development. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of cerebral palsy is approximately 1.5 to more than four per 1,000 live births.
The Lifetime Cost of a Birth Injury
Caring for a child with any birth injuries can be expensive. For some injuries, such as a minor brachial plexus injury, the child may only require care for the first few months or few years of life. For other injuries, such as cerebral palsy, the child may require care for many years. The Centers for Disease Control has estimated that the lifetime cost to care for an individual with cerebral palsy is approximately $1 million. While the exact costs of caring for a child will vary, here are some factors that should be considered:
- Medical expenses. A child’s medical expenses related to his or her injury will surely be one of the largest financial expenses that a family will incur. If medical care will be needed over a lifetime, these costs can amount to hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars. An average of more than one million is necessary for children with intellectual disabilities.
- Economic losses. In addition to medical expenses, a family may also incur business and economic expenses as a result of a birth injury. These expenses and losses include loss of work, loss of production, special education classes and therapy, at home and vehicle modifications, home care, and early mortality.
Families also suffer noneconomic losses as well, such as diminished quality of life, pain, and emotional anguish.
How to Recover Compensation for Your Child’s Birth Injury
According to Potentially Avoidable Injuries to Mothers and Newborns During Childbirth, 2006, nearly 157,000 injuries to mothers and newborns that occurred that year may have been potentially avoidable. The failure of an OB/GYN to monitor a patient and respond promptly to a difficult delivery may lead to birth injury. Further, implementing perinatal care quality control and safety initiatives costs hospitals little, according to A Perinatal Care Quality and Safety Initiative: Hospital Costs and Potential Savings and make the lack of such safety initiatives unacceptable. When a health care provider’s negligence caused serious harm to your child, you may be able to file a claim against the physician or/and the hospital.
Consult with Our Rhode Island Birth Injury Attorneys Today
No family should have to bear the financial burden of dealing with a birth injury caused by a health care provider’s negligence. At Marasco & Nesselbush, LLP, our trusted Rhode Island medical malpractice attorneys can discuss the facts of your case and if appropriate help you to file medical malpractice lawsuit and seek compensation. Call us now, or contact us online today for a free case consultation.