When should I talk to an attorney if my baby suffers a birth injury?

When should I talk to an attorney if my baby suffers a birth injury?

When birth injuries occur, often the effects and the impact on a child are unknown. Parents may be aware that complications occurred – an infant may be born with its cord wrapped around its next, with low APGAR scores, or with visible injuries. In some situations, doctors and medical staff can take actions to reduce or eliminate the long-term consequences of an injury at birth. For example, brain cooling can be used to counteract the effects of a brain injury. When cooling is started within 6 hours of birth, and administered over the course of a few days immediately following birth, it has been shown to lessen the severity of an injury and allows the body to heal itself.

However, even when hospital staff takes actions to reduce the severity of harm, it may not be possible to eliminate or reverse the damage done when a birth injury occurs, including those that a result of a preventable medical error.

Often, the extent of harm may not be apparent for a few years, as a child grows and develops. For example, signs that your child has cerebral palsy may not be evident until he or she reaches his or her third birthday and is unable to meet certain developmental milestones. While the immediate trauma has passed, the long-term implications become apparent. The child may need a lifetime of medical care and therapy.

In California, the time limits (Statute of Limitations) for filing a medical malpractice birth injury claim for a baby is generally until the child is 8-years-old. However, many exceptions exist to these general rules, as in the case of filing an action against a California county hospital or one that is part of a public health care district. The statute of limitations for these institutions can be considerably smaller than private hospitals. As such, as soon as you believe your child may have been harmed by medical negligence, it is important to seek counsel at once to preserve your case, and begin an investigation into all of the factors surrounding your matter.

For more information, or if you believe your child may have suffered a birth injury, please contact the dedicated San Diego medical malpractice lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.


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