The miracle of birth should be one of the most wonderful, rewarding, and exhilarating moments in an individual’s life, however, no miracle is without risk. Unfortunately, sometimes the birthing process does not play out the way that it should. Complications may arise as a result of medical negligence; the complications and associated medical negligence may result in birth injuries.
One of the most serious types of birth injuries is Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE). HIE occurs when a newborn baby’s brain does not receive enough oxygen due to decreased blood flow. With HIE comes a spectrum:
- Mild HIE= may result in little or no long-term impact
- Moderate HIE= may result in intellectual, cognitive delay, physical deficits and possible Cerebral Palsy
- Severe HIE= may be fatal and usually results in permanent and severe cognitive and physical deficits, and a significant chance of developing Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy is a birth injury that involves neurologic disorder that affects muscle movement and control, muscle tone and stiffness, and posture. Children with Cerebral Palsy may present with vision impairments, difficulty swallowing, epilepsy, and inability to walk, limited range of motion, or intellectual disabilities.
There are several types of Cerebral Palsy:
- Spastic Cerebral Palsy= most commonly characterized by increased muscle tone resulting in stiffness or making movement nearly impossible. This can include Quadriplegia (the entire body is affected), Monoplegia (one arm is affected), Paraplegia (2 limbs are affected or ½ of the body), and Triplegia (both arms and one leg, or vice e versa, are affected).
- Non-Spastic Cerebral Palsy= most commonly characterized by decreased muscle tone resulting in weakened or floppy muscle movements. This is broken up into two categories being Ataxic Cerebral Palsy (affecting the entire body and causing visual impairment, posture, movement and balance impairment) and Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy (involving near constant involuntary movements or the hands, arms and legs).
While a birth injury such as HIE and Cerebral Palsy can be emotionally trying on the parents and extremely difficult on the child, there are therapies for children injured by birth. Some of those injury therapies include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech/language pathology, emotional and behavioural therapy, massage therapy, sensory therapy, and recreational therapy.
If you have a child who has suffered a birth injury as a result of medical negligence, contact a knowledgeable lawyer at Law Fifty One LLP to see what options may be available to you in order to claim for compensation.