A birth injury can impede many aspects of a child’s life—physically, emotionally, and cognitively.
While birth injuries have various warning signs, one of the most troublesome is a child missing certain developmental milestones.
Below, our Philadelphia birth injury attorneys discuss the milestones your child should meet and what it may mean if your child misses them.
What Causes Birth Injuries?
Birth injuries have several causes. However, most of the time, birth injuries are caused by errors made in the delivery room during the birthing process.
Common causes of birth injuries include, but are not limited to, the following:
Failure to prescribe a pregnant woman the right type and dose of medication
Failure to monitor an infant for signs of fetal distress
Failure to respond to fetal distress appropriately
Improper use of birth assistance devices, such as forceps and vacuum
Such mistakes in the delivery room can leave an infant with physical or cognitive disabilities. Some of these disabilities are permanent, including cerebral palsy (CP), hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), and severe forms of Erb’s palsy or shoulder dystocia.
Permanent birth injuries can cost a child and their family hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars in medical treatment, rehabilitation and therapy, and lost wages from the child not being able to work in the future, as well as from parents staying home to care for the child.
Birth injuries are different from birth defects in that birth injuries are entirely preventable while birth defects are not always preventable. As such, medical professionals who injure a child during the birthing process must be held accountable for their actions, since their education, training, and experience should have prevented the birth injury from ever happening.
Did Your Child Miss These Milestones?
Babies and young children are expected to meet certain developmental milestones. Doing so demonstrates that they are healthy and progressing normally.
The failure to meet certain developmental milestones may indicate the presence of a birth injury that has affected the child’s physical or cognitive abilities.
Children should meet the following milestones by certain months or years of age:
Two to Four Months Old
Turns head when noises are heard
Follows people with eyes and recognizes faces
Holds head up
Reaches and grasps objects
Six to Nine Months Old
Rolls over from back to front and front to back
Sits up without assistance
Can pick up small objects with fingers
Begins to crawl
One Year Old
May be able to walk alone or while holding onto furniture
Understands simple instructions
Starts to say words
18 Months Old
Stands and walks
Eats with a spoon and drinks with a cup without assistance
Understands one-step instructions
Points to objects they want to play with
Two to Three Years Old
Begins to complete sentences
Recognizes family members
Can draw straight lines and circles
Can get dressed without assistance
Four to Five Years Old
Understands basic grammar and songs
Uses the toilet without assistance
Cooperates with other children
If your child has missed several of the aforementioned developmental milestones, it may be due to a birth injury that is impeding their development. Consult with a doctor to confirm or dismiss your suspicions.
If a birth injury is discovered, contact an experienced birth injury attorney as soon as possible so you can seek justice against the negligent provider and recover the compensation your child needs for treatment.
Can a Birth Injury Heal on Its Own?
While some birth injuries may resolve on their own or with treatment, many are permanent. As mentioned previously, cerebral palsy, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, and severe cases of Erb’s palsy or shoulder dystocia can cause life-long physical and/or cognitive impairment.
Children who suffer a birth injury will need to undergo extensive treatment and may not be able to participate in the same activities as other children. Some birth injuries are so severe that the child will require live-in care for the rest of their life.
This can cause devastating physical, emotional, and financial consequences.
Recovering Compensation for a Birth Injury
Given the potentially devastating consequences of a birth injury, it’s important for you to understand that working with an experienced birth injury attorney gives you the opportunity to recover the compensation your child will need for their treatment.
Damages that you may be able to recover through a birth injury claim include:
Past and future medical bills
Past and future lost wages
Pain and suffering
Keep in mind that, as with most personal injury claims, a birth injury claim has a time limit to file. Most birth injury claims in Pennsylvania must be filed within two years the birth injury occurred or was discovered.
Did Your Child Suffer a Birth Injury? We’re Here for You
If your child suffered a birth injury during the labor and delivery process, our Philadelphia birth injury attorneys at The Villari Firm, PLLC are here to help you seek justice.
Our team works with leading experts, including doctors and legal authorities, to investigate and prepare cases for our clients. We spare no expense and go to great lengths in order to help our clients secure the recoveries they deserve.
Contact The Villari Firm, PLLC today at (215) 372-8889 to schedule a free consultation with our team.