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What Should (and Shouldn’t) You Do If Your Child Suffered a Birth Injury?

Written by Berkowitz

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If your child has been diagnosed with a birth injury, there are some important steps you should take in order to protect your family’s legal rights.

Medical mistakes during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and neonatal care can cause various types of birth injuries. While many newborns will be able to recover from their injuries, a significant number will face life-long challenges. Even when infants who are diagnosed with birth injuries are able to recover, the medical costs can be astounding and families can face other substantial losses as well.

If your child has been diagnosed with a birth injury, or if you are concerned that your child may have suffered a birth injury, you need to protect your family’s legal rights. Due to the financial and non-financial costs involved, many families will need to take legal action in order to recover their losses. Additionally, in order to mitigate the risk of similar adverse events in the future, health care providers need to be held accountable. Above all, your new child deserves to have every available opportunity to live a normal life.

Protecting Your Family’s Legal Rights Following a Birth Injury Caused By Medical Negligence

When dealing with the possibility that your newborn has suffered a birth injury due to medical negligence, there are both steps you should try to take and mistakes you should try to avoid. However, we also want to be very clear that, regardless of what you have (or haven’t) done to date, you should speak with a medical malpractice attorney. Even if it is too late to take some of the steps or avoid some of the mistakes we discuss below, an attorney can still help you, and asserting your family’s legal rights could be crucial to your child’s health and your family’s long-term financial stability.

5 Steps to Take if Your Child has Suffered a Birth Injury

First, we will cover the steps that you should try to take if your child has been diagnosed with a birth injury, or if he or she is exhibiting symptoms of a possible birth injury or other complication due to medical malpractice.

Step #1: Take Your Child to See a New Doctor

Most importantly, if you have any concerns about your child’s health for any reason, you should see a doctor promptly. At this point, it makes sense to see someone other than the doctor, physician assistant, nurse, or other health care professional who you believe may be responsible for your child’s condition. You should try to see someone at an unaffiliated medical facility. And when you take your child for a diagnosis and treatment, you should be sure to explain in detail why you have concerns about your child’s health. This includes explaining:

  • What symptoms your child has exhibited since his or her birth;
  • When your child’s symptoms began and how they have changed; and,
  • What your previous health care provider did that you believe may have caused or contributed to your child’s current medical condition.

Step #2: Learn More about Birth Injuries

Birth injuries can have many different causes, and they can take many different forms. Many types of birth injuries can also have very similar symptoms, especially shortly after birth. It is critically important that your doctor provide an accurate diagnosis so that he or she can recommend an appropriate course of treatment and begin taking remedial steps immediately.

While it is your doctor’s job to accurately diagnose and appropriately treat your child’s condition, as a parent, it will be important for you to learn more about your child’s birth injury as well. You can use the links below to learn about some of the most common types of birth injuries. And if you choose our firm to represent you, our attorneys can provide you with additional information and resources that are specific to your child’s condition:

Step #3: Learn More about the Causes of Birth Injuries

Regardless of the nature of your child’s injury, it will be important for you to consider the possibility that your doctor or other health care provider may have made a mistake. Unfortunately, medical mistakes during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and neonatal care are common, and the chances that your child’s condition is the result of medical negligence are relatively high.

From failing to diagnose maternal and fetal infections to exerting too much force on the fetus during childbirth and failing to timely recommend an emergency C-section, numerous types of medical mistakes can lead to birth injuries. To learn about some of the most common forms of medical malpractice and how your health care provider’s mistake could be to blame for your child’s condition, you can read: Who is Responsible for a Birth Injury?

Step #4: Start Keeping a File of Your Child’s Medical Records and Take Detailed Notes

As you attend doctor’s appointments, trying to remember everything you need to know about your child’s condition, and losing sleep thinking about and caring for your child, some details will escape your mind. In order to make sure that you and your medical malpractice attorney have all of the information you need, it will be a good idea for you to start keeping a file of your child’s medical records and to get into the habit of taking notes on a daily basis.

You can take notes in whatever way is most convenient and most efficient for you. Whether you prefer to take notes on your phone, keep a notebook or diary, or use a calendar on your refrigerator, the key is simply to create a routine and be as consistent as possible. Try to record information such as:

  • The date, time, location, and doctor for each of your child’s medical visits
  • Whether you received any records during each visit
  • The out-of-pocket costs you incur in relation to your child’s birth injury
  • The impacts on your child’s daily life
  • The impacts on your daily life and the lives of the other members of your family

Step #5: Learn about What to Expect When You File a Birth Injury Claim

If your family is entitled to financial compensation due to medical malpractice, you will need to hire an attorney, and you will need to work closely with your attorney throughout your family’s birth injury claim. While the process takes time, and although it can be stressful at times, you will get through it. When you schedule a free initial consultation at Berkowitz Hanna, our lawyers will explain everything you need to know and we will help you make informed decisions to ensure that you have the best possible opportunity to recover the financial compensation your family deserves.

5 Mistakes to Avoid If Your Child has Suffered a Birth Injury

Now, what about the mistakes you need to try to avoid? Unfortunately, while you and your family are focused on doing everything you can to give your child the life he or she deserves, your health care provider’s insurance company is focused on something else entirely: making sure it pays as little as possible for your provider’s mistake. With this in mind, you must be vigilant in order to protect your family’s legal rights, and this means doing your best to avoid mistakes such as:

Mistake #1: Letting Your Current Doctor Try to Correct His or Her Mistake

If you have been with your doctor for a long time, it may be difficult for you to accept that he or she has made a significant error that has harmed your child. You may also have a close relationship with your doctor, and you may still trust him or her despite what has happened. But, even if this is the case, you still need to take your child somewhere else. Even if it was truly a one-time mistake, the costs for your child and your family could far exceed the costs of treatment. And continuing to see the doctor who harmed your child could impair your claim for just compensation.

Mistake #2: Assuming Everything Will Be Fine

Depending on your child’s symptoms and the websites you have been visiting online, you may be getting the sense that your child will be able to recover from his or her birth injury over time. However, even if this is a possibility (which it is with certain types of birth injuries), the costs could still be substantial, and you still need to assert your family’s legal rights.

Mistake #3: Assuming There Is Nothing That Can Be Done

By the same token, you must also avoid assuming that there is nothing that can be done. Some birth injuries have lifelong effects. And if your child has suffered a brain injury or a neuromuscular injury that will impact the rest of his or her life, it is easy to feel helpless. However, there are treatment options available that can improve your child’s quality of life dramatically, and an experienced medical malpractice attorney can help your family recover just compensation.

Mistake #4: Waiting Too Long to Seek Legal Advice

For a variety of reasons, many families wait to speak with an attorney when they have concerns about the cause of their child’s birth injury. But, if you have questions, we strongly encourage you to speak with a medical malpractice attorney right away. At Berkowitz Hanna, there are many ways that we help our clients beyond seeking just compensation for their children’s birth injuries. And seeking legal representation promptly will ensure that your family has the best chance to recover maximum compensation as quickly as possible.

Mistake #5: Letting Your Current Doctor Tell You What to Do

Finally, it is a sad reality that many doctors try to cover up their mistakes in order to avoid facing liability for medical malpractice. As a result, if you think you may have a claim, you need to avoid letting your current doctor tell you what to do. From this point forward, you should see a different doctor for treatment of your child’s birth injury, and you should make all decisions with your child’s health and your family’s financial stability in mind.

Schedule a Free Birth Injury Consultation at Berkowitz Hanna

If you would like to speak with an attorney about your child’s birth injury, we invite you to schedule a free initial consultation at Berkowitz Hanna. To request an appointment with one of our experienced Connecticut medical malpractice attorneys, please call us directly or contact us online today.