When a baby suffers a birth injury such as cerebral palsy, the entire family is affected for life.
When looking forward to the birth of a baby, parents should be able to be excited and spend much of their time in anticipation of a full and wonderful life for their new addition. Even with pain from labor contractions or recovery times from a Caesarean birth, the overwhelming experience should be one of great joy and hope. However, there are times when problems during labor and delivery take away this joy and hope and leave babies suffering with lifelong disabilities.
When a birth injury happens, it is not always evident immediately. Many cases of cerebral palsy, for example, are not able to be diagnosed until children are at least three years old.
How common is cerebral palsy in birth injuries?
Cerebral palsy can develop from different situations. However, WebMD.com cites that as many as one-fifth of all cerebral palsy cases can be attributed to birth injuries. The direct problem that creates this is an insufficient amount of oxygen supply to the baby’s brain. Without enough oxygen, the brain of the baby can be damaged and such damage is not able to be reversed.
Parents of cerebral palsy children must readjust their expectations and dreams for the future. While some cases can be relatively mild, others can leave children severely disabled. From speech impediments to the inability to talk at all or even walk, the range of disability among cerebral palsy sufferers is great.
How families cope
Parents new to this situation will learn a lot from a United Cerebral Palsy Association publication that gives details about the emotional and financial implications of a birth injury that causes cerebral palsy. The process of coming to acceptance about such a situation is akin to the typical grief process. This is partially due to the fact that people must let go of many previously held beliefs or expectations.
The impact is also known to affect older or younger siblings as parents can often end up spending more time helping the disabled children than with their other children. Finding how to balance the needs of all members of a family can be difficult with such a diagnosis.
The cost to care for a child with cerebral palsy is also great. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that an estimated cost for a lifetime of care can reach $1 million. This can include prostheses, medications, devices and more. While medical insurance can pay for some expenses, it does not always cover everything. Some families may need to seek Supplemental Security Insurance for help.
Advice for families
In addition to coping with the emotional aspect of a birth injury, parents should proactively seek legal help. This can be another way of receiving compensation for an injury and helping to pay for necessary items and care.
Keywords: birth, injury, negligence, doctor, hospital