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When a child is born, doctors and pediatricians have a schedule of milestones for the child to meet. This schedule is based on developments that normal, healthy children have over the course of their first years of life, and span the spectrum from physical to mental to emotional changes.
Unfortunately, some children are not able to keep up with this schedule, and quickly fall behind due to developmental delays. Many of these developmental delays are due to birth injuries that the child has suffered either during their mother’s pregnancy or during delivery and which came from a doctor’s negligence or their poor medical care. In all of these cases, the developmental delays that result from the birth injury alter the lives of the children that suffer from them and strain the child’s parents in a myriad number of ways.
Getting compensation for your child’s developmental delays is crucial if you want to give them as close to the full and rewarding life that they deserve. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the medical professionals that caused the birth injury at the heart of your child’s growth problems can be the only way to get it. The attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian can help.
The Schedule of a Child’s Expected Development
After birth, children are supposed to grow up and mature at a certain speed. Doctors and pediatricians have found that healthy children reach specific milestones in their growth at certain ages, and have come to expect those developments to happen in all children.
For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics, a leading organization of doctors that specializes in the growth of children, have a growth schedule that expects children between the ages of four and seven months to:
- Be able to roll over on both sides,
- Transfer objects from one hand to the other,
- Enjoy playing socially, and
- Struggle to get objects that are out of reach.
When toddlers and children keep up with this development schedule, or when they develop at an even quicker pace, doctors consider them to be healthy and growing babies.
Developmental Delays Can Stunt a Child’s Growth
However, not all children are able to keep up with the development schedule that doctors expect them to. When children fall behind, they are said to have developmental delays that stunt their growth and can get worse over time as the delay in learning one skill prevents the child from learning another. In some cases, developmental delays are nothing but phases, as a child struggles to learn a mental or emotional concept, or build enough strength to perform a physical task. When the child does overcome this obstacle, they can get themselves right back on schedule.
Unfortunately, many developmental delays do not go away. Instead, they build upon one another as a child’s slow development causes him or her to miss more and more growth milestones for longer periods of time.
A lot of developmental delays, while apparently physical issues are actually problems with a child’s mental development. For example, a child’s motor skill problems are the symptoms of many developmental delays and, while these problems are physical in nature, are actually often because of a mental setback in their growth.
Genetics Can Be to Blame for Developmental Delays
In some cases, genetics or other natural causes are at the heart of a child’s developmental delays. Medical conditions like Down syndrome or cystic fibrosis can be passed to a child from his or her parents and cause significant delays in the child’s growth.
While there is little that the medical community can do to prevent these genetic diseases, doctors can have a legal obligation to identify these conditions early in the pregnancy and notify parents that their child has one. Failure to uphold this legal obligation can be the grounds for a wrongful birth lawsuit against the doctor or medical facility.
Developmental Delays from Birth Injuries
Other developmental delays, however, can be the result of birth injuries that were suffered by your child during pregnancy or delivery. In many cases, these devastating birth injuries are the result of a doctor’s negligence or medical malpractice.
Birth injuries come in a variety of shapes and forms. While many of them are the result of a complicated and traumatic delivery, others can come from doctors prescribing a pregnant mother the wrong kinds of drugs, which then have a serious impact on the health of her unborn child.
For example, traumatic births that require doctors in the delivery room to use force and strong coercion to get the baby out can cause a wide variety of birth injuries, including:
- Bone fractures,
- Spinal cord injuries,
- Erb’s Palsy,
- Cerebral Palsy,
- Cephalohematoma, or
- Facial paralysis.
In these cases, the difficult birth can saddle the child with serious debilitations and injuries from their first seconds of life. The struggles that their little bodies go through to heal from the outset can push back the growth that they need to accomplish over their first few years of life, leading to developmental delays that compound on each other and make it impossible for your child to keep up with his or her peers.
Other developmental delays can be the result of birth injuries that are caused by complications that happen during the mother’s pregnancy, rather than through a traumatic event during delivery. One of the most common of these is perinatal asphyxia – also known as birth asphyxia. This type of asphyxia happens when an unborn child is deprived of oxygen while in the womb or during delivery, often because the umbilical cord has become wrapped around his or her neck or because doctors have let the mother’s blood pressure become too high.
Birth Injury Attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian
All of these injuries have something in common: A child is suffering because of something beyond their control or the control of their parents. Getting the child compensation from the people ultimately responsible can be the only way to ensure they live a full life. Contact us online for the legal help you need to make this happen.