A Parent's Role in Pursing a Birth Injury Claim
When pursuing a birth injury claim in Ohio, the attorney handling the claim will work towards obtaining compensation for the long-term services and care the injured child may need. Most of the time, the attorneys will attempt to shield the parents from the legal and procedural challenges; parents of a severely injured child have enough to handle during this time.
However, the child’s parents do have a role to play. While the lawyer handles the legal aspects of the claim, the child’s parents will work with medical professionals to determine the child’s current and long-term medical needs.
The first step is to determine the nature and degree of birth injury suffered. Some injuries are irreversible and will have significant, life-altering consequences for the child, while others may require substantial medical care initially, but ultimately have more modest consequences.
Once parents understand the full scope of the injuries, they can begin developing a long-term treatment and care plan. A child suffering a birth injury may require medical services from a variety of specialists. These might include neurologists, physical and occupational therapists, and surgeons, for example. A child with a severe birth injury may need supportive therapy from psychologists, social workers or psychiatrists.
A long-term care plan looks not only to the child’s current needs, but also to the child’s needs as he or she grows. Any medical or surgical interventions the child may need throughout his or her life due to the birth injury should be addressed in the plan.
Children with severe birth injuries often require adaptive equipment, such as braces, wheelchairs, or hearing aids. The cost of this adaptive equipment and the frequency with which it needs to be replaced should be taken into account in the long-term care plan. Parents may also be required to make home modifications to support the use of adaptive equipment, such as installing wheelchair ramps or safety rails.
Children with severe birth injuries may require intensive day-to-day assistance that must be provided by a nurse or home health aide. If a family member will serve as the primary caretaker, the family must still consider respite care. And the possibility of eventual institutionalization should also be taken into account in appropriate cases, such as when in-home care depends upon the continued good health of the parents.
A realistic and well-thought-out long-term care plan that considers all of these elements is essential to obtaining adequate compensation when medical malpractice leads to severe birth injury.