It’s not always easy to detect if a baby has sustained a birth injury. Symptoms can sometimes take months or years to emerge. However, there are often subtle signs that are only too often missed or shrugged off. As a parent, you’re in the best position to know about your child’s development. A nagging feeling that “something’s not right” shouldn’t be ignored.
Have you noticed your child isn’t quite the same as your other kids were at the same age? For example, are they taking longer to take their first steps, or aren’t babbling? Have friends or families made comments that made you worry? If you had a traumatic or difficult birth experience, you might have suspicions that the birth harmed your child in some way. Apart from seeking medical or therapeutic support for your child, did you know that you could seek compensation if this has happened to you?
If medical negligence led to your child suffering a severe injury during birth, you could seek compensation. This will go a long way in helping you with ongoing care or rehabilitation.
Adendorff Attorneys Inc’s personal injury lawyers assist families with claims for preventable errors that lead to birth injuries. If your valid claim is successful, it can be life-changing for the affected child and family. You can use the payout for medication, therapy, support, transport and even caregiving.
The Cause of Birth Injuries and Their Symptoms
One of the leading causes of brain injuries during birth happens while the baby exits the birth canal during the birthing process. If they are deprived of oxygen, this can cause hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) or suffocation (asphyxia).
The longer the brain is deprived of an oxygen supply, the more chance that irreversible damage to the brain has occurred. The area of the brain that suffers injury will also affect the symptoms. A baby’s brain can also be injured when items used to assist the birth, such as forceps or vacuum extractors, are misused.
The parts of the newborn’s brain that can be damaged during the birthing process are the basal ganglia, cerebellum, or motor cortex.
To help you as a parent to make the right call, we take a look at the common signs of birth injuries to look out for and when to seek further help or advice.
A Focus on Birth injuries
Cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy are common birth injuries seen by personal injury lawyers in South Africa. Cerebral palsy is caused when the brain is damaged during childbirth. It then causes muscle tone, balance, coordination, and mobility problems. Erb’s palsy is caused by damage to a baby’s brachial plexus nerves. The infant may have difficulties moving the neck, arms, and hands in these cases.
Birth injuries may only be picked up by health practitioners when developmental milestones are missed. This means the babies don’t achieve predictable developmental skills by a certain age.
At birth, the following symptoms can indicate a birth injury:
● Low oxygen levels or heart rate
● Sensitivity to light, high-pitched crying, grunting, fussiness, or arched back while crying
● Hand curled into a claw-like shape or muscle stiffness or looseness
● Trouble with latching, suckling, or swallowing or excessive drooling, or weak or absent reflexes
● Facial nerve injury or skull fractures
Signs of developmental delay to look out for between ages one to two:
● Delays in speech or no speech
● Trouble eating, drinking, grabbing utensils, or using cups
● Unable to sit, stand, walk, or crawl without help
● Intellectual disabilities
● Poor muscle control or spasms
● Lack of bodily movements (ataxia) or poor coordination
● Not bringing objects to mouth or turning head when hearing noises
● Unable to pass small things from one hand to the other
● Vision and/or hearing problems
Signs of developmental delay to look out for after the age of two:
● Blindness, deafness, or muteness
● Trouble dressing, eating or drinking without help
● Difficulties walking up and down stairs or running
● Muscle stiffness or looseness
● Autism or epilepsy
● Problems with fine motor skills
● Tremors or shakiness
● Difficulty drawing straight lines or circles
● Difficulty speaking or understanding complete sentences
What to Do if you Think Your Child Has a Birth Injury
If you are worried that your child has birth injury symptoms or developmental delays, you should contact a doctor. The healthcare practitioner may conduct a test to look at the hearing, vision, intellectual ability or even brain scans to get a diagnosis. If the brain injury was caused by medical negligence, your personal injury lawyer will use the evidence to get financial compensation.
Need help with a medical negligence claim linked to a birth injury?
Our friendly attorneys are waiting for your call. Adendorff Attorneys Inc. has over 20 years of experience helping victims with claims for compensation for medical negligence linked to birth injuries. We will help you obtain all the information and documentation you need for your claim.