There are many strong emotions that can come with a suspected birth injury: fear, sadness, anger, doubt, confusion. It can be especially hard when everything seemed to be going smoothly during the pregnancy and your family's struggle occurred unexpectedly.
If you are in this situation and going through these emotions, it can be hard to know what to do-especially when you're not sure whether the symptoms you are seeing are a naturally-occurring disability or the result of medical malpractice.
Speak up if you suspect something
If you have a nagging suspicion that something went wrong during the pregnancy or the birth, your intuition could be correct. Trust yourself. If you suspect that your child has suffered a birth injury, don't remain silent.
This is critical because the early years are when your child is developing very quickly. If problems are caught, early interventions may have a more significant impact. Keeping silent can mean a delay in treatment at a key time.
Pay attention to the details
Your baby may exhibit symptoms of a birth injury, like high-pitched crying that can't be calmed, limb and muscle weakness, or seizures. These are clear signs that something is wrong.
But often, parents come to believe that something is wrong over time. They see that their child, once a healthy-seeming baby, does not develop as expected. The child may miss milestones, falling behind the growth and development made by other babies of the same age. He or she may have trouble with fine or gross motor skills, speech, cognitive or social skills. These delays can be signs of a birth trauma.
If your child is exhibiting signs of a birth injury or falling behind, make sure to note all of these details. It may be helpful to keep a journal or a calendar, writing things down as you notice them.
It may also be helpful to write down important facts about your medical care and the birth of your child. Was there a problem during the pregnancy or birth? Was there a point when the medical staff acted like something wasn't right? Did you notice anything right away? These facts may help you get the right care later, and they can also help you if you choose to take legal action.
Get your child necessary care and support
If you have any doubt in mind--that your child's condition isn't just a natural defect or disability, but was caused by a medical error--it is important to contact your healthcare provider. Start with your pediatrician or family doctor. You may be referred to specialists who can give you further insight and provide optimal care.
Of course, paying for medical care can be challenging. Healthcare for a child who has experienced a birth injury or disability is expensive. Even families with otherwise full insurance coverage face steep deductibles that they cannot pay. If you are worried about the cost of your child's medical care, you might consider seeking compensation.
Send a clear message by taking legal action
The best way to pursue compensation for your child's birth injury is to take legal action. A birth injury lawsuit can help you recover the full and fair compensation necessary to pay your child's existing medical bills and to seek necessary medical care in the future. This compensation will help you access services that your child needs, but may otherwise not receive.
In a birth injury lawsuit, compensation also helps provide families with the means to care for their child throughout a lifetime. A settlement or jury verdict might mean that a family can modify an existing home to make it accessible, for example, or pay for in-home healthcare as the child grows and as needs change.
Legal action also sends a clear message to healthcare providers: that your child's life is precious. It reminds the medical profession that medical malpractice is never acceptable and that they will be held accountable for the harm they cause. If you need help sending this message, talking with an experienced birth injury lawyer is the place to start.