The main focus of birth injuries caused by lack of oxygen and lack of blood flow tends to be on cerebral palsy. However, cerebral palsy, a neurological condition characterized by impaired motor function, is separate and distinct from developmental delays. During the first three years of their lives, children tend to advance and meet milestones very quickly. All children advance at different paces, but children with developmental delays are often far behind other children in their age groups.
Caring for a child with brain damage resulting in developmental delays or cognitive deficits is emotionally and financially draining. If your baby’s developmental delay occurred because of obstetrical negligence, you may have grounds for a malpractice lawsuit.
To arrange a free initial consultation about your potential case, please contact our Ohio developmental delay attorneys by email or call (440) 252-4399.
What Are Developmental Delays?
There are many ways to calculate whether a child is meeting his or her milestones. All children are unique and advance at different rates, so it is important to evaluate a child’s milestones by conferring with a doctor, like a pediatrician or pediatric neurologist, to determine whether appropriate milestones are not being reached.
Developmental delays are typically thought of as mental, but they can affect a number of other areas:
- Gross motor skills: ability to use large groups of muscles for sitting, standing, running, walking, and maintaining balance
- Fine motor skills: using hands to eat, dress, play, write, and handle small objects
- Language skills: ability to speak, use gestures, communicate and understand language
- Cognitive ability: ability to learn, understand, problem-solve, remember and reason
- Social skills: ability to interact with others, feel empathy and sympathy, cooperate, and have relationships
Sometimes one area may be affected, or numerous areas may be delayed. The degree of delays varies and can be directly related to the extent of the original birth injury.
Did Obstetrical Caregivers Cause Your Child’s Developmental Delay?
The Becker Law Firm represents clients in cases in which obstetrical caregivers—including obstetricians, radiologists, and anesthesiologists—should be held accountable for brain damage in infants. These problems may be profound and obvious at birth. In other cases, these injuries can be more subtle, resulting in failure to meet early childhood developmental milestones.
Some types of developmental delays are genetic. These medical conditions, like Down syndrome and cystic fibrosis, are passed to a child from his parents. These types of conditions cannot be caused by negligence or medical malpractice. However, doctors and other healthcare providers may have an obligation to identify these medical conditions early in the pregnancy when the mother has the option of making a decision to legally abort the fetus. Lawsuits over failure to diagnose genetic abnormalities are called wrongful birth actions.
Other types of developmental delays are caused by events surrounding pregnancy, labor, and delivery. These types of delays are sometimes caused by the negligence of doctors or other healthcare providers. In particular, prolonged lack of blood and oxygen to the brain during the labor and delivery process can kill brain cells and cause developmental delays. This is one reason why doctors must be vigilant in monitoring the condition of a baby during the labor and delivery process.