Birth “Trauma”

July 18, 2014

One of the more difficult types of cases that I handle is the result of medical negligence that leads to a child being injured during birth. It is a gut-wrenching situation when a baby is injured for life, and it affects the lives of their entire family. Many of these children suffer from brain injuries that render them unable to do even the most basic tasks, such as walking or communicating. These are the most extreme cases (short of the child dying), while many children are less seriously injured and are diagnosed with the nebulous term “cerebral palsy.”

Most parents don’t realize that their child has been damaged until much later in life when the child begins to fall farther and farther behind on developmental milestones. In fact, some people argue that “cerebral palsy” is a diagnosis developed to cover-up birth trauma. It implies no known cause and no defined set of symptoms, unlike virtually any other medical diagnosis. The sad reality is that many, if not most, cases of cerebral palsy are 100% predictable and 100% preventable.

If a baby has a normal development in utero there are very few causes for trauma during birth other than medical negligence. In most of the cases, the distress of the child during birth is clearly evident on fetal monitor strips, and it is either a person not paying attention or just plain incompetent who allows the baby to suffer and be injured. In other cases, the mother presents a known risk during labor which is unrecognized or ignored. It breaks your heart to realize that a child was injured for life and will suffer because of medical malpractice.

Although these children are often terribly injured, they are often loved and cared for through the heroic efforts of their parents. In an otherwise terribly sad situation, I am reassured and inspired by the examples of love that are beyond my understanding. It motivates me even more to try and lessen the burden of the parents and the suffering of the child by getting them justice. It is the most difficult, and at the same time, rewarding case I do.