About 1 in 33 babies born in the US has a birth defect such as hearing loss, fetal alcohol syndrome, or a heart defect. Certain types of infections, exposure to certain chemicals, and consuming drugs and alcohol during pregnancy can all lead to birth defects. Birth injuries, however, occur during the birth process, and can be brought on by the baby’s size (either large or small), the baby’s position, or the difficulties of labor.

Birth injuries can result in conditions like brachial palsy and hemorrhages, as well as physical, mental, and developmental delays. If the injuries are the result of negligence on behalf of a medical professional or institution like a hospital, you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Examples of medical negligence include the failure to diagnose a major condition or infection, failure to follow delivery procedures, improper use of delivery tools like forceps and vacuums, and failure to properly monitor the baby’s heartbeat to determine if the child is in distress during delivery.

Picture or mother and baby holding hands

It’s important to look for symptoms in children of a variety of ages because injuries don’t always become apparent right away. Some symptoms might fade after a few days or weeks but several months or years later other symptoms indicate a more serious injury than was initially believed. Many families struggle to afford increased medical care and treatments or surgeries for their children, which is why birth injury lawsuits are such an important part of my work.

If you believe your child was injured during birth, it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis as quickly as possible so you and your child’s doctor can understand the full extent and nature of their injuries.

Birth injury symptoms you should look for in infants:

  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Muscle stiffness or looseness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Inability to move or rotate arms
  • Weak or absent reflexes
  • Uneven movement on one side of the face
  • Difficulty eating, swallowing, or suckling
  • Arched back while crying
  • Hand curling into a shape like a claw
  • Not turning toward loud noises
  • Not bringing objects to their mouth
  • Excessive drooling
  • Gasping for air after slight exertions
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Seizures
  • Inability to hold their head up by 6 months
  • High-pitched crying, grunting, and fussing that doesn’t stop with soothing

Birth injury symptoms you should look for in 12-24 month olds:

  • Delays in speech or no speech development
  • Difficulty eating, drinking, grasping utensils, or using cups
  • Low memory retention and other intellectual delays
  • Lack of bodily movements
  • Involuntary bodily movements and lack of muscle control
  • Difficulty sitting, standing, walking, or crawling
  • Poor coordination
  • Difficulty manipulating small objects or passing them from hand to hand
  • Vision or hearing problems

Brain injury symptoms you should look for in children 2+ years of age:

  • Tremors and shakiness
  • Problems with fine motor skills
  • Inability to draw in straight lines or circles
  • Difficulty walking up or down stairs
  • Difficulty running
  • Inability to speak in full sentences or understand basic instructions
  • Difficulty dressing, eating, or drinking without help
  • Deafness or blindness, particularly when other family members don’t have these conditions

In most cases, the statute of limitations on birth injury cases is 2 years after the children’s fifth birthday. However, parents must file a claim for medical bills within 2 years of the injury, usually the child’s second birthday. If your child was older than 2 before you realize they have suffered a birth injury, parents can also file separate claims for the medical bills and other expenses involved in raising their child. These claims must be filed before the child turns 18.

As an emergency room nurse, I can quickly read and understand medical jargon and documentation like charts and test results. I’ll be able to tell right away if gross negligence occurred while your baby was being born, leading to their birth injuries. If it did occur, I will help you file a lawsuit that will hold the responsible people or institutions accountable while securing the financial means for you to provide your child the medical care they need. Contact my office today to set up a free consultation.

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Tracey L. Dellacona

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