There are certain costs of raising a child that you expect when you’re pregnant and your due date is fast approaching, such as diapers, food, and education. However, these financial considerations will be far from your mind if you’re informed that your baby has suffered a birth injury as a result of medical error. The emotional impact of such news can be considerable, especially as you think about the immediate and long-term damages. According to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cost of birth injury hospitalizations to the US health care system averages about $23 billion.
Still, these figures don’t do justice to what you and your family will incur personally, and they don’t cover the long-term damages that inevitably result from birth injuries. When you realize that a medical mistake will become an alarming economic burden, it’s time to discuss your circumstances with an Atlanta, GA birth injuries lawyer
Costs of Immediate Care After a Birth Injury: During or immediately following delivery, health care practitioners may need to provide specialized medical care just to stabilize the infant’s or mother’s medical condition. It may be necessary to perform surgery or other procedures, and your newborn may spend time in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). A March of Dimes publication on Special Care Nursery Admissions reveals that, when infants are admitted to the NICU, the average length of stay is approximately 13 days – totaling more than $76,000 in medical and hospitalization costs.
Long-Term Direct Costs: For babies that suffer serious developmental conditions due to birth injuries, the expenses don’t end when you bring your newborn home. The CDC estimates that the direct costs of raising a child with intellectual or developmental disabilities can be 25 times a healthy child. These expenses may encompass such ongoing medical care as:
- Physical, behavioral, cognitive, and speech therapies;
- In-home care or placement at an assisted living center;
- Corrective surgeries;
- Wheelchairs, adaptive equipment, and assistive devices;
- Renovations to your home to allow for adaptive equipment and hospital beds;
- Vehicle modification and lifts to accommodate adaptive equipment; and,
- Much more.
Indirect Damages: There are also implications that you don’t anticipate when your baby suffers from a birth injury that has permanent ramifications. Some may be measurable in terms of cost, but others are hard to value in dollar figures. Perhaps the most impactful is for parents who choose to care for the child at home. Many victims of birth injuries will require care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which makes it impractical – and usually impossible – to work full time. Caretakers give up their sources of income, and may even need to forego future professional and business-related opportunities.
There are also indirect damages that affect the child, especially quality of life. Plus, depending on the specifics, there’s the possibility of premature mortality.
Consult with an Atlanta Birth Injury Attorney About Your Claim
You may be entitled to compensation for both direct and indirect costs, in the short and long-term, if you or your child suffered birth injuries due to medical malpractice. For more information on your legal rights, please contact the office of Julie A. Rice in Atlanta, GA. We can provide more information on your legal options after reviewing the details of your case.