The Impact of a Birth Injury on Family and How to Heal From It
By VSCP LAW
Birth injuries can cause a variety of hardships on a family. They can cause financial hardship as the cost of future care for the child can be unexpected and excessive. Birth injuries can also cause emotional hardship as the family tries to come to terms with a future they never could have predicted. In this article, we will explore the impact of a birth injury on a family and how they can heal from it.
What is a birth injury?
A birth injury refers to damage caused to a baby shortly before, during, or after their birth. Birth injuries can result in permanent damage to the baby that will last into childhood and adulthood. Common birth injuries include bone fracture, cerebral palsy, brachial plexus, vacuum extraction complications, brain damage, and encephalopathy.
The Impact of a Birth Injury on Family
When a family has been impacted by a birth injury, they can suffer financially. Babies that are injured during the birthing process require medical care that the parents of the child hadn’t anticipated. Some costs they didn’t plan for are related to physical therapy, occupational therapy, medicine and medical supplies, subsequent surgeries or medical procedures, and special equipment. Many of these costs are only partially covered by insurance or not covered at all.
When a loved one has been injured by a birth injury, the family also suffers emotionally. There is immediate concern for the wellbeing of the baby and worry about the baby’s chance of survival. Family members often suffer anxiety about the future symptoms related to the injury. They can feel depressed at the realization that whatever expectations they had prior to the baby being born may not be met due to the baby’s injuries. The parents of the baby can suffer damage to their relationship as they navigate the stress of their baby’s injuries. Siblings of the injured baby can suffer feelings of neglect as most of their parents’ attention, energy, and time is focused on the injured baby.
How to Heal from the Impact of a Birth Injury on the Family
If you are suffering from the impact of a birth injury, you may be able to heal by taking the following steps:
- Allow yourself to grieve. Grieving isn’t just for those whose loved one has died. Grieving is a process necessary to heal from any loss. Even though your baby hasn’t died, you have still experienced a loss – a loss of your prior expectation about who your baby would be, a loss of the vision you had for the future of your baby, a loss of the family life and experience you previously dreamed about. Something was taken from you without warning. Allow yourself the time and space to mourn the loss.
- Find experts who can help you. You may need the help of a family therapist, social worker, counselor, psychiatrist, house cleaner, nanny, cook, tutor, physical therapist, disability specialist, etc. There is no shame in asking for help when you need it and when your baby has suffered a birth injury, you and your family will definitely need help.
- Research grants and financial assistance opportunities. Your state may offer grants that can help families suffering financial distress resulting from their loved one’s birth injury. And there may be private foundations that can offer monetary help. Also, there are a number of government programs in place to help your family through the trauma of a birth injury. While not all necessarily specific to birth injury, the following are some government programs that help families suffering from financial distress: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI).
- Seek legal advice. It’s highly possible that your baby’s injury was due to the medical negligence of a doctor or other healthcare professional. If you have a successful birth injury lawsuit, you could recover monetary compensation that will help pay for all the help you and your child will need. Look for a qualified and experienced birth injury lawyer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or wherever you are located.
If you believe you or a loved one has suffered a birth injury in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or elsewhere, contact VSCP LAW at www.vscplaw.com.