Compromised Infant Cases: An Overview

In the field of medical malpractice, a “compromised infant case”, sometimes also referred to as “catastrophically injured infant case”, is one in which there is an allegation that a mistake or negligence at childbirth or infancy resulted in a serious injury such as a permanent disability or brain damage. Every year, babies across Canada are affected by errors made by or the negligence of obstetricians, pediatricians, nurses, and other medical professionals. These medical errors and/or negligence can often cause debilitating consequences, including chronic life-long medical conditions, and can significantly alter the lives of the babies and their families.

Situations That May Result in a Compromised Infant

There are a number of situations that may arise during labour and delivery that can potentially result in serious injury to the infant. These generally include:

  • Shoulder Dystocia/Brachial Plexus Injury;
  • Complications arising from caesarean sections or VBAC including uterine rupture, prolonged delivery interval, and breathing difficulties;
  • Failure to detect and/or treat a condition;
  • Failure to detect fetal distress or hypoxia;
  • Prescription or medication errors;
  • Surgical errors.

When such errors occur, they often have catastrophic consequences for the baby.

Common Injuries and Effects Stemming from an Injury at Birth

Common injuries and chronic conditions resulting from an injury at birth can include:

  • Cerebral palsy;
  • Brain injury;
  • Neurological defects, such as seizures;
  • Scoliosis;
  • Paralysis;
  • Hearing loss or visual impairment;
  • Cognitive difficulties;
  • Tremors;
  • Difficulties with self-care (feeding, grooming, etc.)
  • Behavioural issues;
  • Concentration attention and memory problems (including ADHD-like symptoms).

These injuries and conditions can be stand-alone, and a child can, for instance, only have cerebral palsy caused by a birth injury. However, these conditions and injuries can also present themselves in conjunction with one another, and a child (and their families) can face a lifetime of serious, ongoing medical issues.

Compensation Available to Compromised Infants and their Families

Families of children affected by an error or negligence during childbirth may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in order to secure the compensation needed to cover the ongoing costs of caring for their injured child, which are often astronomical and unfeasible for most families to cover on their own or with the help of insurance.

Damages can be awarded in recognition of the injuries suffered. Damages can also be awarded for loss of independence, wage losses suffered as a result of caring for an injured child, as well as future care costs.

If you have questions about the medical care you received during labour and delivery, or if you suspect that something out of the ordinary or abnormal may have occurred, contact the respected and highly knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyers at Sommers Roth & Elmaleh in Toronto. We have a special interest in pediatric malpractice and have represented victims of medical error and their families for more than 40 years. Our lawyers have been involved in many precedent setting decisions, and have a proven track record of success.  We are regularly consulted by other practitioners who seek our knowledgeable and highly-respected opinions on challenging pediatric malpractice and other medical malpractice matters. Call us at 1-416-961-1212 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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