When you have anxiously awaited the birth of your child for months, it is shocking to discover that some error during your pregnancy, delivery, or shortly after birth has resulted in brain damage. Your child may face a long road to health, but many infants who suffer from birth-related brain damage never fully recover. You do have rights when negligence is the cause of your child’s medical condition, so please call Preszler Law Firm at 1-844-373-8202 to learn more about them. Our brain damage birth injury lawyers are dedicated to helping you and your family get the compensation you deserve by law.
Infant Brain Damage and Symptoms
Birth-related brain damage is a serious issue and, though there are many different causes behind it, your child could experience a multitude of permanent disabilities and long-term effects. Depending upon which part of the brain is affected, there may be an arrange of neurological, cognitive, and physical medical conditions that result from brain damage.
Causes of Brain Damage in Infants
From a medical standpoint, birth-related brain damage may result from:
- Infections in the mother’s body, such as preeclampsia or rubella;
- Oxygen deprivation, such as from umbilical cord issues, fluctuating blood pressure in the mother, constricted airways, infant anemia, early placenta separation from the uterus, or blockage in the birth canal during delivery;
- Jaundice, which is the result of excessive bilirubin in the baby’s blood shortly after birth;
- Physical trauma during the birth process.
Symptoms of Birth-Related Brain Damage
The exact nature of the signs depend how the brain damage occurred. However, you should take note if your infant displays such symptoms as:
- Unusual temperament, including excessive crying, wailing, fussiness, and refusing to nurse;
- Physical appearance, such as an abnormally small skull, deformed facial features, unusually large forehead, or wandering eyes;
- Delays in development, which can be difficult to spot given your child’s infancy. Still, there are some signs that manifest, such as if your baby does not smile, respond to stimulus, coo, or hit other milestones that are typical of a child his or her age.
Birth-Related Brain Damage May be the Result of Negligence
While the health of the mother is a factor during pregnancy, brain damage that occurs during labor, delivery, and aftercare may be the result of medical negligence. Examples include:
- Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis of an infection in the mother;
- Improper use of birth-assisting devices, such as a forceps or a vacuum extractor;
- Forcing delivery too early;
- Careless delivery techniques, including excessive pulling or twisting during childbirth;
- Oxygen deprivation during or shortly after delivery;
- Failure to monitor bilirubin levels in a jaundiced infant;
- Not recognizing the signs of fetal distress;
- Misuse of medications during labor;
- Delays in ordering a cesarean section or other procedure;
- Improper monitoring of the fetal heart rate; and,
- Many other forms of negligence.
Proof in a Case for Brain Damage Due to Birth Injury
Your right to recover compensation for your child’s brain damage injuries depends upon proving four sets of facts:
- A patient-provider relationship, which exists when any physician provides medical care;
- An act or omission that falls outside the standard of care that applies to health care providers;
- A connection between the act or omission, and your child suffering from brain damage; and,
- Losses resulting from birth-related brain damage.
Medical mistakes involve a specific form of negligence based upon the standard of care. Physicians are held to a higher standard, which requires comparing your doctor’s acts and decisions to those of another provider. If a different practitioner, with similar training and faced with the same set of circumstances, would have done the same as your own doctor, you may not have a claim.
However, if you can prove that your physician deviated from the standard of care that applies to all providers, you may be able to recover compensation for your child’s birth injuries. In a brain damage case, potential responsible parties may be:
- Your obstetrician;
- Other treating physicians;
- Nurses that assist with delivery and aftercare;
- Delivery room providers;
- Hospital staff; and,
- Others whose negligence may have contributed to causing brain damage in your child.
You May be Entitled to Compensation in a Birth Injury Claim
Brain damage in children can have a wide range of physical, neurological, and developmental consequences. Your child could fully recover, or may partially recover with some remaining health effects. With severe brain damage, your child may require high levels of medical care and support, and may not ever live independently. This type of care can be extremely costly, and the emotional implications can be just as devastating as the physical effects.
Fortunately, the law allows you to recover for these losses. By proving the element described above, you may be able to seek such damages as:
- Economic damages, including medical treatment, therapy, medications, medical equipment, and other costs; and,
- Non-economic damages, such as pain, suffering, emotional distress, and diminished quality of life.
You should note, however, that there may be limitations on your compensation.
- Ontario’s Limitations Act: By law, you have two years to file a claim for birth injuries, including brain damage. However, this time period may not start to run until you discover that your child suffers from brain damage. In some situations, you may not know of the condition until he or she reaches toddlerhood.
- Cap on Non-Economic Damages: In a 1978 decision, the Canadian Supreme Court set a limit on non-economic damages. After adjusted for inflation, the cap is around $300,000. Still, this law may not apply for extreme cases of medical negligence or a higher amount is otherwise justified. Plus, it only affects non-economic damages. Medical costs may be considerable for a child with brain damage, but you may still be able to recover the full amount for these economic damages.
Discuss Brain Damage with an Experienced Birth Injuries Lawyer
If you have questions about your rights after your child suffers brain damage from a birth injury, please contact Preszler Law Firm at 1-844-373-8202 or via our website. We can tell you more about your legal remedies after conducting a free consultation regarding your circumstances.