Ontario Birth Injury Lawyers Helping Clients with Subconjunctival Hemorrhage Claims
Birth injuries can be debilitating for a newborn baby, and they can prevent the infant from living a full life. While many children recover from birth injuries with proper medical care and treatment, some birth injuries lead to lifelong disabilities. While birth injuries do not always occur as a result of a healthcare provider’s mistake or error, many birth injuries do happen when a doctor or nurse fails to properly diagnose or treat a condition that results in a birth injury, or when the healthcare provider makes a mistake during labor and delivery. When this happens, the parents may be able to file a claim to obtain damages. One common type of birth injury is a subconjunctival hemorrhage. While this condition usually resolves itself in a short amount of time, it can result in permanent eye damage.
A birth injury claim can be complicated, but an Ontario subconjunctival hemorrhage lawyer can discuss your options for seeking compensation.
Learning More About Subconjunctival Hemorrhages
Subconjunctival hemorrhages are more commonly known as a broken blood vessel in the eye, according to the Mayo Clinic. As the Mayo Clinic explains, this is an injury that happens “when a tiny blood vessel breaks just underneath the clear surface of your eye,” which is known as the conjunctiva. This particular part of your eye has difficulty absorbing blood quickly, and as such the blood becomes trapped. Sometimes a person who suffers a subconjunctival hemorrhage does not even realize it until looking in the mirror, while other people may find that the condition affects their eyesight.
An infant subconjunctival hemorrhage is a common type of birth injury that often results from a difficult labor in which a substantial amount of pressure is placed on the infant during a natural childbirth. During contractions, trauma may lead to a broken blood vessel in the infant’s eye. In some cases, the infant may suffer a subconjunctival hemorrhage in both eyes, according to Stanford Children’s Health, resulting in both eyes showing a bright red area in the white part of the infant’s eye.
Diagnosing Subconjunctival Hemorrhage in an Infant
For most infants who suffer a subconjunctival hemorrhage, the injury is immediately apparent to a physician given that the injury appears as a red area in the white of the eye.
In terms of prognosis, most infants recover within one week to 10 days after suffering this type of birth injury, and there is no long-term damage to the eye(s). However, in some rare cases, the injury can remain present for an extended period of time, at which point the child should be examined immediately by a medical professional.
Common Causes of and Risk Factors for Subconjunctival Hemorrhage and Other Types of Birth Injuries
According to Stanford Children’s Health, the following are some of the most common causes of and risk factors for birth injuries:
- Large babies that weigh more than 4,000 grams (or eight pounds, 13 ounces);
- Premature babies that are born before 37 weeks since their bodies are more fragile and thus more susceptible to injury;
- Cephalopelvic disproportion, meaning that the mother’s pelvis is not an adequate size and/or shape for giving birth vaginally;
- Dystocia, or a difficult childbirth;
- Prolonged labor; and/or
- Abnormal birthing presentation, just as breech.
Just because a child is more susceptible to a birth injury as a result of size, for instance, does not mean that the obstetrician does not have to take additional steps to ensure the infant’s safety during childbirth. In fact, healthcare providers have a duty to take certain steps in riskier pregnancies, like those with premature babies or particularly large babies. When a doctor omits certain steps that are necessary to ensure the safety of the infant and the mother. If a birth injury does occur, the doctor or other medical professionals may be liable.
How Long do I Have to File an Infant Subconjunctival Hemorrhage Claim?
Most birth injury claims have a two-year statute of limitations under the Limitations Act. What this means is that parents typically have two years from the date of the birth injury to file a claim seeking compensation for their child’s injuries. In some cases, the statute of limitations may be extended to two years from the date that a reasonable person would have known that the injury occurred. In some cases involving medical mistakes and birth injuries, the parents might not realize that an injury has occurred until the child begins showing symptoms.
The statute of limitations in birth injury claims may be extended, however, under Section 6 of the Limitations Act. This section of the law clarifies that injuries suffered by minors may allow for a delayed limitations period until the minor reaches the age of majority (or turns 18). As such, it may be possible to file a claim years after the initial birth injury.
Subconjunctival Hemorrhage Could be a Sign of Additional Birth Injuries
In some cases, even if a subconjunctival hemorrhage is not serious and ultimately will clear on its own, it could be a sign of a more serious birth injury. Since a subconjunctival hemorrhage can occur from trauma during labor and delivery, the occurrence of one of these injuries could be a sign that other birth injuries occurred that do not have immediate or obvious symptoms.
If your labor and delivery involved any of the risk factors mentioned above and your child suffered a subconjunctival hemorrhage, you should speak with a pediatrician about assessing your child for signs and symptoms of more serious birth injuries. An experienced birth injury lawyer in Ontario can help you with your case.
Contact a Subconjunctival Hemorrhage Lawyer in Ontario
When an infant suffers a serious birth injury, the injury can result in tens of thousands of dollars—and often much more—in hospital bills, follow-up visits and treatments, rehabilitative costs, medical devices, and medical remodels to the house in order for the child to live as comfortable a life as possible. Parents of a child with a birth injury should not be responsible for those financial costs.