When you learn that your child has suffered a birth injury, your immediate concerns focus on the present: What treatment does your child need, and where can you get this treatment without the risk of another medical mistake? These are very valid concerns; and, without a doubt, making sure your child gets the treatment he or she needs should be your first priority.
But, it is also important to consider the future. Birth injuries can have a variety of long-term effects. They can also prove incredibly expensive over a child’s lifetime. It is not unusual for families’ medical bills to climb into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and birth injuries can have various long-term non-financial consequences as well.
Different birth injuries have different effects. This is true both short-term and long-term. Thus, from a medical perspective, understanding the long-term effects of your child’s birth injury will require a comprehensive diagnosis along with paying careful attention to how your child’s condition develops over time.
With that said, many types of birth injuries present similar long-term risks. This includes risks that are physical, psychological, and financial in nature. For example, some of the more common long-term effects of birth injuries include:
Birth injuries often cause developmental delays. Oxygen deprivation and physical trauma during labor and delivery can impede children’s early-stage development, and this can have consequences that compound and lead to greater consequences down the line.
Oxygen deprivation and other issues during childbirth can cause cognitive disabilities. Cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, and kernicterus are all examples of medical conditions caused by birth trauma that can have life-long implications for children and their families.
Shoulder dystocia, use of excessive force during labor and delivery, palsy, and other conditions commonly associated with birth injuries can lead to lifelong physical disabilities as well. These disabilities can drastically impact children’s quality of life at all stages of development and into adulthood.
Birth injuries can also lead to loss of companionship and society. Sadly, many children who suffer traumatic birth injuries are never able to develop friendships or forge bonds with their parents, siblings, and other family members to the same extent as those who have not experienced birth trauma.
Developmental delays, cognitive and physical disabilities, and loss of companionship and society can also result in loss of enjoyment of life. For many parents, acknowledging that their child will never be able to enjoy life to its full potential is one of the most devastating aspects of a birth injury diagnosis.
Many types of birth injuries can also have the tragic consequence of shortening a child’s life expectancy. While individual prognoses vary, many medical conditions caused by birth injuries will shorten children’s life expectancy significantly.
As mentioned above, birth injuries can also leave parents facing significant long-term financial costs. Along with medical expenses, the need for prescription medications, medical devices, in-home care, tutoring, and other support services can leave parents facing costs far in excess of what they can afford on their own.
Along with financial costs, parents can experience other long-term effects due to their children’s birth injuries as well. For example, in addition to financial burdens, the Birth Trauma Association in the U.K. reports that parents may also experience:
The Birth Trauma Association identifies these as symptoms of postnatal post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and it notes that this is both “a completely normal response” and completely involuntary. In other words, as a parent, there is often nothing you can do to avoid these effects. But, help is available; and, if your family is entitled to financial compensation for medical malpractice, recovering this compensation can help you feel more comfortable in the years to come.
If your child has been diagnosed with a birth injury, it is important that you speak with a lawyer about your family’s legal rights. If your child’s injury was preventable, you may have a medical malpractice claim—and you may be entitled to significant financial compensation for the long-term effects of your child’s diagnosis.
Contact Coplan + Crane today online or at (312) 982-0588 for a FREE, no-obligation case evaluation. We serve clients throughout Illinois, including Chicago, Oak Park, Rockford, and other areas.