When a child suffers a birth injury due to a medical practitioner’s negligence, the parents are more likely to see a sharp increase in initial medical costs. The cost of taking care of the birth injury builds upon the already high cost of delivering in a medical clinic, health center, or hospital. The injured baby may require costly neonatal intensive care, treatments, and medical procedures to survive or prevent birth injuries from exacerbating.
Types Of Birth Injury Costs
Immediate Care Expenses
An infant who is injured during delivery may need immediate medical treatment and care to bring his or her condition to stability. Surgery is usually part of the treatment process. The baby may stay in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for some time. Consequently, parents incur expenses for the hospital equipment and services. They also incur extra costs associated with treatment and care provided by medical practitioners.
Long-Term Direct Costs
Direct costs include expenses that parents of an infant with a birth injury cover out-of-pocket or those captured in their invoices or receipts. The following are long-term direct costs of a birth injury:
- Ongoing treatment and care from medical practitioners
- Surgeries and other corrective procedures
- Physical, cognitive, behavioral, and speech therapies
- Caretaking and special education
- Medical equipment, adaptive gear, wheelchairs, and assistive devices
- Home renovations and car modifications
Indirect And Unanticipated Expenses
Indirect and unexpected expenses are those costs that significantly affect both the parent and the injured child but are difficult to define. Many parents, for instance, may opt to care for their child’s birth injuries at home. This decision may force them to work part-time or stop working altogether, resulting in lost wages.
A parent may also drop his or her professional or business ambitions to take care of the injured baby. The baby may also incur indirect costs. A birth injury that leads to permanent impairment or disability may, for instance, affect the child’s ability to enjoy life fully. The child may struggle to sustain gainful employment or he or she may be unable to work entirely. The child may also have a high risk for premature mortality based on the severity of the birth injury and the condition it causes.
Emotional Pain And Suffering
Parents of a child with a serious birth injury may suffer real and distressing emotional pain over the years. Similarly, the affected child may experience pain and suffering due to the emotional and psychological effects of his or her injury. Birth injuries like cerebral palsy can result in chronic pain.
Loss Of Consortium
A birth injury can hurt the capability of parents to bond and fully enjoy a relationship with their child. It can result in loss of affection, companionship, and a healthy parent-child relationship.
Recovering Compensation For The Cost Of A Birth Injury
A parent whose child has suffered birth injuries due to medical malpractice can recover compensation for both tangible and intangible costs by suing the at-fault party. Working with a competent and reputable attorney can increase the odds of the claim becoming successful and the parent obtaining a reasonable and maximized compensation.
Besides pursuing compensation, the parent should also look for other ways to reduce the financial burden associated with caring for a child with birth injuries. Seeking financial assistance from charitable and government organizations is a good place to start.
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