Thursday, April 22

What to Do if Your Child Has a Birth Injury

Having a baby is one of the most magical times in anyone’s life. Imagining your life together as a new family, all the sweet moments of snuggling, all the first moments in your child’s life, all the special days you’ll spend together—all of these whimsical thoughts can fill anyone’s heart with joy.

That being said, being pregnant also includes a lot of unknowns and, therefore, a lot of fear and stress. Many parents-to-be are fearful that something may happen to their baby, and rightfully so. So much can go wrong—a birth defect, a birth injury due to doctor negligence or medical malpractice, and more. Of course, birth injuries range from something like scoliosis, which is serious but treatable, to something like brain damage, which can be far more devastating.

Most of these fears are for naught. After all—most babies in the United States are born perfectly healthy, without a birth injury. Unfortunately, sometimes a new infant may be the victim of medical malpractice. So, while it’s best to assume the best, you should also be prepared for the worst. To that end, keep reading for some steps you should take if your infant has suffered a birth injury.

Get an attorney.

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If your baby has been the victim of medical malpractice or negligence on the part of medical professionals, you need to find an attorney right away, and you should find one who specializes in personal injury law. Having brain damage, cerebral palsy, spine injuries, or any other birth injury is no small thing for the parent of a newborn. You will have to deal with medical care, physical therapy, your child’s discomfort or back pain, and so much more as you handle the fallout from your child’s injury. This is why you deserve fair compensation for your personal injury.

There are personal injury lawyers who work especially in the area of birth injuries. These birth injury attorneys will help walk you through all the complicated twists and turns of a lawsuit. They’ll also help you understand all of your legal options when it comes to a birth injury case. You can search online for “birth injury attorneys in Chicago” (or wherever you’re located), but make sure that you find someone who both values an excellent attorney-client relationship and will fight relentlessly to get you the justice you deserve. Many personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation, so you don’t stand to lose any money by meeting with several attorneys to find the best one for you and your infant.

While you’re at it, make sure that you’re ready in case your lawsuit goes to court. Any personal injury lawyer worth their salt will tell you that you have to look professional when appearing before a judge, so invest in a blouse, dress jacket, nice coat, and even some slacks or trousers. Just make sure that you look your best when you head in to see the judge.

Find treatment for your infant’s birth injury.

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Besides finding a personal injury lawyer and a jacket (maybe with stripes?) for your court date, you need to find physical therapy, medication, and any other medical care that your infant may need. Your child’s care is of the utmost importance, especially while they are still small. A newborn has more flexibility in their spine and treatment can be more effective at a young age than when they’re an adolescent, although that may seem counterintuitive. Depending on the severity of the birth injury, different medical care will be required to improve their (and your) quality of life.

For example, scoliosis may be treated with a combination of physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, and a brace in some cases. Depending on the type of scoliosis, however, scoliosis treatment may also require a surgeon to perform scoliosis surgery, such as spinal fusion surgery. It’s important to speak to a medical professional about options for scoliosis treatment and the risk factors or side effects involved. You should also speak to your insurance company to see if the scoliosis treatment may be covered by your plan. It may be dependent on how old your child is and whether they’ve experienced a growth spurt yet. That being said, there are treatment options out there for scoliosis. If your child has scoliosis as the result of a birth injury incurred during the birthing process, it’s not a final verdict. The curve progression can be altered or even halted. They don’t have to have a permanent disability. Look into the treatment of scoliosis so that you know your options, and find healthcare professionals you trust to work on treating your child’s scoliosis.

Reach out to family members.

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This is the time to ask for help. Seeing your baby’s back pain or discomfort is bad enough, but having to deal with the ins and outs of a lawsuit at the same time and finding medical care for your infant or newborn is just overwhelming. Who can remember if they’re wearing a coat or a jacket when they’re trying to keep track of medical records and the names of all the healthcare professionals?

The truth is that you need a helping hand, and that’s where your family members come in. Whether it’s your chosen family of close friends or your given family, gather your crew around you and be clear about your needs. Maybe it’s just someone to launder your skirt or trousers so they’re ready for your court appearance. Maybe you need someone to hold the baby so you can take a shower or a nap. Maybe you need someone to make a meal for you to eat quickly before taking your infant to physical therapy.

Whatever it is—that’s what your loved ones are there for. Don’t wait for them to pick up on your needs. Sometimes people can get uncomfortable with a painful situation and not know exactly how to step up in the way you need. If you’re expecting them to help you in a timely manner, you need to be clear about your needs. Share with them about your birth trauma, if you feel comfortable, and don’t neglect the side effects that this situation is having on you as well. Speak to your family members about taking care of you so that you can be there to take care of your newborn.

With all of this said, it’s important to reiterate that most newborns come into the work without scoliosis, cerebral palsy, or any other birth injury. It’s also important to remember that, no matter what happens—from mild scoliosis to a severe injury or permanent disability—your baby is your baby and you’re going to love them more than you knew was possible. You’ll want to kiss their tiny face every minute of every day. So, although it’s great to be prepared to take care of a birth injury in the best way possible, don’t lose sight of what’s actually happening here. After the delivery process, you’ll be welcoming a new family member into your home. This is the greatest, sweetest, most incredible adventure you’ll ever go on. So, despite the fears, focus on the love and leave the rest until after you’ve gone through the birthing process. There will be time enough to handle everything then.