Birth Injuries in Ireland
When a baby is born to a family, the most frequent wish is that they are happy and healthy. For the majority of babies in Ireland that wish comes true, as the medical treatment they receive during and after their birth surpasses much of what is available in many other parts of the world. Unfortunately, accidents sometimes happen, and when your baby has been born with a birth injury, the happiness of a new addition to your family can turn into sadness, anxiety and anger.
In some cases, birth injuries may be due to the mismanagement of the delivery or the failure to cope with a medical emergency. Where your child has sustained an injury during their birth, which you believe could have been avoided with a higher degree of care, you should speak with a specialist birth injury solicitor about making a birth injury claim for compensation.
High Profile Birth Injuries
The two most high profile birth injuries in Ireland due to negligence are Cerebral Palsy and Erb’s Palsy. Although not exclusively caused by asphyxiation during the delivery process, a child suffering from cerebral palsy will have suffered non-progressive brain damage during their birth. The degree of the brain damage will determine how affected the child is and to what level surgery and therapy can restore their health. In the most catastrophic cases of cerebral palsy, a child will need life-long care and never be fully independent.
An infant who sustains Erb’s Palsy (or a similar brachial plexus birth injury) may recover naturally within the first few months of their life, but this can still be an extremely worrying time if you are the parent of a child who is displaying signs of paralysis. The injury is due to the tearing of nerves when excessive force is used in the extraction of the baby from the birth canal and often occurs when the foetus’ shoulder gets caught behind the mother’s pelvic bone. When the birth injury fails to heal fully, it can affect agility in the child’s limbs and signals of heat, cold and pain being sent to the brain.
Negligence and Birth Injuries
In cases of both cerebral palsy and Erb’s palsy a birth injury solicitor will be able to determine whether the injuries were avoidable and caused by a lack of skill by the medical staff. The amount of compensation awarded for a birth injury claim where negligence is proven will vary according to the severity of the injury and the level of future care that will be required, however you can be certain that a birth injury solicitor will compile the strongest case possible to maximise how much compensation you receive.
Parents are also able to make birth injury claims for other forms of birth injury. Just because the injury is not “high profile” or catastrophic does not mean you are exempt from the sadness, anxiety and anger that a parent would feel is their child was delivered with broken bones, bruising or a skin reaction due to the negligence of a medical practitioner. Any injury which is caused by poor professional performance or which “on the balance of probability” could have been avoided if a different course of action had been taken should be brought to the attention of a birth injury solicitor.
Negligence During Infancy
Not all birth injuries in Ireland are apparent immediately after the birth. Some will not manifest for months or years after your child has been born and can be caused by genetic or teratogenic factors (smoking while pregnant, excessive drinking, diabetes etc). Most parents would naturally consult a paediatrician as soon as they noticed anything wrong with their child, but when there is a history of physical conditions being passed from parent to child, some birth injuries may be over-looked.
In cases of misdiagnosis, you should also speak with a birth injury solicitor about making a birth injury claim, as prompt medical attention might have prevented your child’s birth injury developing into a life-long health issue. Unlike injury claims involving adults, children have two years from their eighteenth birthdays in which to make birth injury claims. However, claims for birth injuries in Ireland can be made at any time, and should be made as soon as the full extent of the injury is known in order to provide sufficient care, therapy and education for your child during their formative years.
Free Advice from a Solicitor
Mothers too can suffer from birth injuries due to medical malpractice. A perineal tear caused through carelessness or the mismanagement of nervous shock after a particularly traumatic birth can have long term consequences for the health of the mother. A birth injury solicitor will be able to talk you through what you are entitled to include in a birth injury claim and the procedure for doing so.
Quite often, parents are reluctant to contact a birth injury solicitor “too soon” because they feel that they are acknowledging that their child will not recover from their birth injuries and that they are giving up hope. We acknowledge that you may not yet be ready to make a birth injury claim, but by talking with a birth injury solicitor, you can have any questions you need resolved answered by an experienced professional and get the advice you need to make an informed decision – if the time ever comes.
To contact us, simply complete your contact details in the form below and a birth injury solicitor will get back to you at a convenient time. There is no obligation to use our services once you have spoken with us and all details given to us in respect of your child’s birth injury will remain completely confidential.