21 Nov Neonatal and birth injury claims
Awaiting a new arrival can be an exciting and apprehensive time. Ireland currently has the highest birth rate in the EU, with 61,016 babies born in 2018. Most babies arrive safe and sound, but sometimes injuries can occur which impact the health of your newborn.
Neonatal and birth injuries can devastate families. If you or your child suffered a birth injury because of a mismanaged delivery or a failure to diagnose complications, you may want to pursue a medical negligence claim against the HSE.
Get in touch with Ferrys Solicitors LLP for expert advice.
What can lead to birth injury claims
If an injury was completely unavoidable and the medical professionals present did everything they possibly could to prevent it, they may not be liable for the injury.
Birth injury claims can only be brought where the negligence of the hospital or doctors caused the injury. Situations which can lead to birth injury claims include:
- Inadequate care or skills
- A failure to monitor the mother or baby sufficiently
- A failure to accurately diagnose a condition
- A failure to act in an emergency
- Rough handling during delivery
- Prolonged labour
Types of birth injuries
Injuries for babies which could lead to a claim include:
- Cerebral Palsy
- Erb’s Palsy
- Broken bones and bruises
- Brain damage caused by oxygen starvation
- Brain damage caused by untreated low blood sugar
- Brain damage caused by undiagnosed meningitis
- Injuries caused by forceps delivery
- Deafness caused by prolonged labour
- Spinal cord or head injuries
Injuries to mothers which can lead to birth injury claims include:
- Avoidable c-sections
- Mismanagement or misdiagnosis of preeclampsia
- Epidural injuries, such as infections or nerve damage
Cerebral palsy injury claims
The most well-known birth injuries are:
- Cerebral palsy: This causes paralysis, as well as other disabilities, and is usually caused by brain damage before or at birth.
- Erb’s palsy: A paralysis caused by nerve damage, which can occur during a rough delivery.
When these disorders are caused by medical negligence, birth injury claims are often brought forward. Here are some examples of successful claims regarding cerebral palsy injuries:
- In 2019, a 12-year-old boy with cerebral palsy settled his medical negligence case for €10.5 million.
- In 2011, a four-year-old boy was awarded interim damages of €1.3 million. Further payments increased this amount to €2 million. Then, in 2014, he was awarded another €580,000.
- In 2014, another 4-year-old boy received interim damages of €2 million after the HSE admitted liability.
In all of these cases, the HSE was liable because of a failure to promptly diagnose and act upon signs of foetal distress. Birth injury claims are usually brought against the HSE.
How can I make a claim?
Children affected by a birth injury can make a claim until two years after their 18th birthday. However, they are usually brought sooner to cover medical costs.
For a successful claim, you need to attribute negligence. This is difficult, so it’s important to seek the advice of a solicitor.
Contact Ferrys Solicitors LLP today. Our expert team can organise your claim while you focus on your family.