Thankfully the majority of births are happy occasions with mother and baby doing just fine. But when things do go wrong they can be catastrophic. There are huge legal implications from this as it means parents are forced into making major life-changing decisions with massive cost implications of raising a disabled child. A successful compensation claim is hugely crucial here as it can really help alleviate the burden.
Caused by damage to the brain before, during or just after birth, Cerebral Palsy covers a number of neurological conditions that will affect a child’s movements and co-ordination. There are different types of cerebral palsy of varying severity. Some children will still have a degree of cognitive ability, others won’t. It will also affect their muscle tone which means they may appear rigid and stiff (hypertonia) or floppy (hypotonia). Cerebral palsy can be developed through infection during pregnancy, a difficult/premature birth, bleeding in the baby’s brain or abnormal brain development in the baby. No two people are affected the same way but the repercussions are huge.
Erbs palsy is a nerve injury that affects the movement of a child’s shoulder, arm or hand. It can be caused by excessive force being applied to the baby’s head during the childbirth process. The baby may be too large to easily fit into the birth canal. “Shoulder dystocia” may occus which is when the baby’s shoulder can get stuck. To get the baby into the proper birthing position pulling is required, that is when the injury is likely to occur. The injury can wear off after a couple of months. In approximately 20% of cases, the nerves have been torn from their usual points of attachment and this leads to permanent paralysis.
Doctors and other nursing staff have a duty to observe carefully if you have had a difficult birth and your child appears to have a weakness or paralysis in its shoulder, arm or hand. The baby will typically hold its limp arm down by its side with the forearm turned inwards and the wrist bent. The baby also will not be able to lift its affected arm, even when startled, and if the injury is more severe the baby may also have a droopy eyelid.
Statistics show that in around one in ten of first-time pregnancies pre-eclampsia will occur. This is a condition that usually affects the expectant mother around the 20 week mark or immediately after delivery. Women with this condition will suffer from high blood pressure, fluid retention (oedema) and protein in the urine (proteinuria). It can be very serious for both mother and child if the issue is left untreated. The root of per eclampsia is uncertain, but the general consensus is that it involves a problem with the placenta. Most expectant mothers do not appreciate that they have pre-eclampsia until it’s diagnosed at an antenatal appointment.
Mild pre-eclampsia can be easily dealt with by using blood pressure and urine tests; the more severe kind will require hospitalisation. Full eclampsia (a life-threatening seizure for mother and baby can occur in less than 1% of women untreated for pre-eclampsia).
Complications during and after the birth process itself
Child birth is a common occurrence and medical professionals are well rehearsed. However, they can result in severe consequences for mother and/or baby when things do go wrong. The clinical negligence experts at Quality Solicitors SSB recognise the following as being the more common instances of clinical negligence during childbirth;
• A failure to recognise complications such as a large sized baby or a tangled umbilical cord
• A failure to respond adequately to foetal distress
• A failure to proceed with a Caesarean section when one is appropriate
• Forceps or a vacuum extractor is used incorrectly
There have been many medical negligence errors made through the incorrect administering of anaesthesia. Permanent brain damage or even death can occur if even the smallest mistake was made on the part of the anaesthesiologist. Mistakes have been known to happen over any of the following:
• A failure to investigate the patient’s medical history properly for any potential complications
• A failure to inform the patient of the potential risks involved
• A failure to administer the correct level of anaesthesia to the patient
Childbirth is a difficult time and thankfully in the vast majority of instances it goes without issue. But when problems do occur you need the support of expert clinical negligence solicitors. At Quality Solicitors SSB we can help you to understand the complexities of the situation and guide you through the process of the compensation