Fighting so families obtain the financial support needed to care for children with birth injuries
Welcoming a baby into your home is a life altering event. No matter how much you prepare during the nine months preceding the birth, taking care of a healthy newborn can be overwhelming. Parents of a infant with birth injuries face an even more daunting task, caring for their child, while also looking for the best available treatments and therapies to maximize their child’s potential.
Birth injury frequency and importance of medical response
Between six and eight out of every 1,000 infants born in the United States will suffer some type of birth injury. The most common birth injuries include:
- Erb’s palsy
- Bone fractures
- Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (“HIE”)
- Intracranial hemorrhage
- Facial paralysis
- Spinal cord injuries
- Cerebral palsy
A prompt diagnosis and medical response when a birth injury happens may improve the results gained from currently available therapies and treatments. Depending upon the type and severity of the birth injury, parents might be presented with surgical, medication or interactive therapy options.
Treatment and therapy options
Surgical therapies may be appropriate for certain birth injuries. Depending upon the severity of the injury, surgery might be essential to ensuring the infant’s survival, or it might enable the child to regain use of limbs affected by the injuries suffered at birth. The following are examples of birth injuries for which surgery might be recommended by doctors:
- Brachial plexus injuries: These injuries may affect the upper or lower arm of an infant, and are usually associated with pulling on the arms or applying pressure to the child’s arms during delivery. Erb’s palsy and Klumpke paralysis are types of brachial plexus injuries.
- Intracranial hemorrhage: A brain hemorrhage is bleeding. It can be caused by high blood pressure in the mother that is passed on to the child. It can also be caused by dropping a baby after delivery. Surgical repair of the blood vessel to stop the bleeding or surgical evacuation of the blood may be essential to prevent permanent damage to the brain or death.
- Skull fractures: Improper use of forceps by a doctor can cause a fracture of the skull requiring surgery to repair it. Skull fractures also may be caused when an infant is dropped by delivery or nursery personnel.
When birth injuries cause spasms or convulsions, frequently seen in patients with Erb’s palsy and cerebral palsy, doctors may prescribe medications. Anti-inflammatory medications and anti-seizure drugs might be used where appropriate depending upon the birth injury and the medical issues suffered by the infant because of it.
Physical therapy is a commonly used treatment option for birth injuries that cause weakening of the muscles, loss of muscle control or coordination difficulties. Conditions such as cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy may react well to physical therapy. Other modalities, including occupational therapy, speech therapy, and conductive education also may be useful.
Children with birth injuries may benefit from activities that focus on strength and balance, flexibility and improving overall fitness and muscle tone. There are physical therapists that specialize in providing services to infants and young children in conjunction with parents.
Specialized treatments and therapies
Children who suffered damage to the brain caused by a lack of oxygen during birth have been treated in a hyperbaric chamber in which they are exposed to pure oxygen at high pressures. Although still in the research phase, hyperbaric oxygen therapy might prove effective in alleviating some of the effects of cerebral palsy.
Neonatal therapeutic hypothermia uses a cooling blanket to lower a child’s body temperature. Research has shown that children with low Apgar scores can have their chances of developing severe brain damage reduced by as much as 25 percent through prompt and proper hypothermic treatment.
Other available therapies for children who have suffered birth injuries include:
- Equine and animal therapy
- Aqua therapy
- Adapted cycling therapy
- Conductive education
Adapted sports, such as those offered by Youth Challenge in Cleveland, and specialized camps for children with disabilities, increase the physical activities engaged in by children suffering from birth injury disabilities. Such activities improve balance, coordination, and socialization of children with disabilities and help in maximizing a child’s potential.
Experienced medical malpractice attorneys making it possible for children with birth injuries to get the treatment and therapies they need
The Cleveland medical malpractice attorneys at The Eisen Law Firm have been dedicated legal advocates for children suffering from birth defects for more than 40 years. We team with life care planners and physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists (“physiatrists”) to determine the cost of the treatments and therapies your child requires now and in the future. Trust us to relentlessly pursue a financial resolution from negligent doctors and health care providers to ensure that your child gets the help he or she needs. Contact us today to arrange for a free initial consultation by calling 216-687-0900. You can also contact us by using the convenient form on our website.