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Birth paralysis is a loss of control of or strength in muscles in a certain part of the body or a group of muscles, and it happens at birth. Usually, it occurs because there is an issue with the chain of nerve cells that send the signals for muscles to move and run from the baby’s body part to the brain and then back again. Six million people, or about 1 in 50 Americans, have some form of paralysis.
There are different forms of paralysis including partial, where you can still have some control of your muscles, complete, where you can’t move your muscles, permanent, where muscle control will not come back, and temporary, when some or all of your muscle control comes back. It may be localized, where it’s in one part of the body such as the face, arms, feet, and legs, or general, where it affects a larger part of the body.
Some kinds of paralysis that can occur during birth are:
- A spinal cord injury
- Erb’s palsy
- Cerebral palsy
- Facial paralysis
- Klumpke’s palsy
Circumstances such as a prolonged labor, breech presentation, a baby’s head being too large, using too much force with hands or medical instruments to pull a baby out, or a baby losing oxygen could cause various types of paralysis.
Symptoms of Birth Paralysis
If a baby has paralysis, then the following symptoms could show up:
- They don’t have control over their muscles and movements
- They have a loss of sensation and numbness in parts of their body
- They have trouble bending their wrist
- They have a loss of bladder or bowel function
- They have difficulty breathing
- They have a constricted pupil and droopy eyelid
- They are unable to grip
- They are showing they’re in pain and uncomfortable
- Their arm is pronated and their palm faces down or back
- Their wrist is in the waiter’s tip position
A doctor will be able to diagnose a baby with paralysis and let you know what kind of treatments will be necessary.
Treatment for Birth Paralysis
The treatment for birth paralysis depends on how severe the paralysis is and what kind your baby has.
For instance, if they have a mild case of brachial plexus palsy, the nerves may heal after birth or take up to two years to improve. They may need to go to physical therapy and do range-of-motion exercises as well as get massages until they heal. Facial paralysis may improve when a baby takes medication.
In more serious cases of birth paralysis, a baby may have to undergo one or multiple surgeries to get better, as well as go to physical, occupational, and speech therapy.
If surgery does not work for a severe condition such as a spinal cord injury, then a baby might need to use a wheelchair and crutches and other medical devices, as well as go to different types of therapy and take medication for the rest of their life.
How Do I Know if Medical Malpractice Caused Birth Paralysis?
Even if you think that medical malpractice is to blame for your baby’s birth paralysis, it can be difficult to prove that in a court of law. You need the right evidence to show that your doctor had a duty of care to uphold, they breached that duty of care by acting in a negligent manner, and that negligence caused your baby to become injured.
You may have a case if you believe something went wrong in the delivery room. For example, perhaps your doctor delayed giving you a C-section or wasn’t monitoring you and your baby properly. Maybe they used excessive force when delivering your baby or your baby lost oxygen during labor.
Sometimes things happen that are out of the doctor’s control but other times, birth paralysis is completely preventable with the right care. You really won’t know if you have a case until you call up a birth injury lawyer.
A lawyer will ask what evidence you have and then assess whether or not it’s enough to prove medical malpractice. Unfortunately, medical malpractice lawsuits are very hard to get through the legal system because it’s intentionally challenging to sue doctors. If it were easy, patients might sue doctors all the time, and then the healthcare field would suffer. But if you have the right proof and birth injury lawyer in your corner, your case may just go through.
How Much Will I Receive From a Birth Paralysis Settlement?
If you have evidence and can prove that medical malpractice did occur, then you could receive a settlement for damages like:
- Medical bills
- Loss of companionship and enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Future medical care
- Loss of earning capacity
The amount of your damages will depend on how high your current bills and future expenses will be for your baby’s recovery. For example, if your baby had Erb’s palsy and it healed on its own, then your medical bills are going to be lower because you didn’t have to pay for therapy, medication, or surgery. But if your baby now has cerebral palsy, they may need surgery and lifelong care, along with medical equipment to help them function. They could have limited options when it comes to their careers and future earnings, so your settlement could be higher.
Settlement Offers in a Birth Paralysis Case
After reviewing your evidence and taking on your case, your birth injury lawyer is going to get in touch with the defendant to present a settlement offer. If the evidence is compelling enough, the defendant might settle so they don’t have to go to court. Then, they might risk ruining their reputation and having to pay much higher damages to you.
The defendant may also reject a settlement the first time around and your lawyer will have to renegotiate. They might not want to settle because they believe they would win, but once you present strong evidence, they could decide to settle instead.
Your lawyer will not be able to tell you what your settlement will be ahead of time, but they will work hard to get you the highest amount possible.
Why Contact a Birth Injury Lawyer?
You’re not a litigious person and you don’t want to get caught up in a lawsuit when all you’re trying to do is take care of your baby. Your lawyer will handle negotiating with the defendant and going to court if it comes to that. They will fight for you at a time when you need someone on your side. Then, you can focus on your baby and yourself and move forward with your life.
Birth Paralysis Birth Injury Attorneys
When you need help with a birth injury lawsuit, Gilman & Bedigian are here for you. We will work hard to procure your damages and ensure you get the settlement you deserve.
Contact Gilman & Bedigian 24/7 for a free consultation at (800) 529-6162.