Developmental Delays from Birth Injuries
Posted in Medical Malpractice on May 10, 2021
At certain stages in a child’s life, he or she is expected to meet developmental milestones for physical, emotional, and social skills. For example, a baby is expected to begin crawling by the time he or she reaches nine months. By the age of three, a toddler should be able to say his or her first name and age.
However, some children do not reach these milestones at the expected age, falling behind their peers. These developmental delays can occur for several reasons, from genetic conditions to maternal infections and birth injuries. If your child has sustained developmental delays due to birth injuries, you may have the right to file a medical malpractice claim against the at-fault healthcare provider.
Common Causes of Developmental Delays
Developmental delays often occur due to birth injuries, or injuries that occur at any time during the pregnancy. These injuries may arise during the labor or delivery process or occur due to an undetected condition during fetal development.
For example, an obstetrician may fail to monitor a baby’s heart rate during labor and the child may go without oxygen for a period of time. During the period of oxygen deprivation, the child may sustain permanent brain damage that impacts his or her function, leading to developmental delays later on,
Birth injuries that may lead to developmental delays include the following.
- Failure to order a caesarean section in an emergency situation
- Improper use of labor-inducing drugs
- Failure to notice signs of fetal distress
- Use of dangerous birthing tools, such as forceps or vacuums
- Use of excessive force to remove a child from the birth canal
- Failure to properly manage placenta problems
- Maternal infections, such as meningitis or Group B strep
- Uterine problems, such as a ruptured uterus
- A prolonged or difficult labor
- Perinatal asphyxia, or oxygen deprivation
Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim for Developmental Delays
If your child sustained a birth injury and later experiences developmental delays, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim. However, you will need to prove that the medical provider’s negligence caused the injury and your child’s resulting condition. You will need to provide evidence to support four key elements.
- The at-fault medical provider owed your child a duty of care.
- The at-fault medical provider breached his or her duty of care through a negligent act or omission.
- The at-fault provider’s breach of duty caused your child’s birth injury and resulting developmental delays.
- Your child sustained damages that you and your family can collect in the lawsuit.
To establish the at-fault provider’s negligence, you will need to prove that his or her actions deviated from the accepted medical standard of care. Under Missouri law, you will need to submit an Affidavit of Qualified Health Care Provider before you can file your claim. In this affidavit, you will need a medical professional to attest that the at-fault provider’s actions differed from what a reasonably prudent and similarly trained provider would have done under the same circumstances.
You will also need to prove that the provider’s actions caused the birth injury that subsequently led to your child’s developmental delays. You may need to enlist the help of a medical expert witness who can provide scientific evidence and testimony to support this claim.
If you are filing a medical malpractice claim in Missouri, you need an attorney on your side. A medical malpractice lawyer will guide you and your family through the process and gather the evidence that you need to establish your child’s right to compensation. Contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.