Birth injuries take multiple forms. Sometimes, things go horrifically wrong during the labor and delivery process and result in the death of an unborn child or newborn. Other times, the incident may leave a child with permanent medical consequences, like cerebral palsy. Occasionally, birth injuries can affect the well-being or fertility of the mother. There are even tragic cases where both the mother and her unborn child die because of medical negligence or mistakes.
Obviously, significant birth injuries result in hospital bills. Mother and child may spend days in the hospital beyond normal postpartum care and may require ongoing medical support. Such expenses can add up to thousands – or even millions – of dollars, but those medical invoices are far from the only financial impact the birth injury may cause.
There are also two potentially major secondary expenses that families may need to cover after a tragic birth injury that can drastically increase the financial impact of the injury on the family.
1. Mental health support
It is common for mothers who experience trauma during labor and delivery or who have very poor outcomes to develop post-traumatic stress in response to their experiences. Other members of the family may also experience mental health consequences, including depression over the sudden change in family circumstances. It can cost families thousands of dollars to secure the necessary amount of counseling to resolve the trauma generated by birth injury.
2. Lost household income
Frequently, when birth injuries lead to debilitating medical consequences for the mother or lasting injury for the newborn, one of the parents may have to sacrifice future earning potential either to avoid exacerbating their medical condition or to provide support for the child. A birth injury could mean a complete loss of one spouse’s income or at the very least a major drop in household revenue if they have to transition to a part-time job or a less-demanding profession.
Those who hope to hold a medical facility or physician responsible for a preventable birth injury will benefit from working with a legal professional to arrive at a thoughtful estimate of how much that injury will cost a family overall. Filing a medical malpractice claim related to a birth injury is often necessary for those who are worried about how their family will absorb those major expenses.