Birth injury and birth trauma are not always discussed as part of your pregnancy. Healthcare providers don’t like to discuss the possibility of errors or mistakes; unfortunately, every medical procedure carries some degree of risk. Modern technology has reduced the risk of certain types of errors, but others are more common than ever. Cerebral palsy and hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) are two of the more common types of birth injuries today.
What’s the difference?
Simply put, HIE is a brain injury caused by oxygen deprivation. During birth, a baby is subjected to tremendous stress, not the least of which comes from switching from an umbilical cord to breathing air. The brain and body of a newborn can compensate for brief periods of oxygen deprivation like those encountered during a normal birth. Unfortunately, even a slight delay can result in death or permanent impairments like developmental delays, cognitive issues and epilepsy.
Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to a developing brain that affects muscle control. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tell us, “There are several possible causes of the abnormal development or damage. People used to think that CP was mainly caused by lack of oxygen during the birth process. Now, scientists think that this causes only a small number of CP cases. The brain damage that leads to CP can happen before birth, during birth, within a month after birth, or during the first years of a child’s life, while the brain is still developing.”
Document, document, document
The effects of HIE or CP can take years to accurately assess; the first symptoms may take months to develop, and full extent and severity may not be apparent until a child is four or five years old. While it’s a good idea to maintain records of medical examinations and treatments anyway, these documents become invaluable when your child is diagnosed with a birth injury later in life.
If you believe that your child’s disability is the result of a medical mistake or malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages and continuing care. The experienced South Carolina birth injury attorneys at McGowan, Hood & Felder LLC can evaluate your case and help get you the compensation you deserve. Call 888-302-7546 or contact us today for a free consultation.