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Did Your Newborn Suffer Cerebral
Palsy or Another Brain Injury Before
or During Labor and Delivery?

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Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

the guide

Get a FREE guide of resources available throughout Ohio to children and families of children who were born with brain injuries.

Our guide can help you build a foundation of knowledge and tools that will help you help your child
now and in the future.

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Ohio Birth Injuries Spinal Cord Injury Life Expectancy

Children who obtain spinal cord injuries at birth have a lower life expectancy than those who are not injured. Life expectancy is the number of years that an individual is expected to live at any given point in time.

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It is important for a number of reasons. First, for obvious reasons, it is important to know how much time we can expect to have with our loved ones. Second, it is important in the context of birth-related injuries because it affects the amount of damages that a child and his or her family might expect to get, in order to pay for the life-long care that is often needed following a spinal cord injury (SCI).

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Life Expectancies for Infants With Birth-Related Spinal Cord Injuries

Life expectancies will vary for each child, based on the severity of the injury. For example, a paraplegic child may have a longer life than a quadriplegic child might. A child that must rely on a ventilator to breath may have a shorter lifespan that a child that can breathe on his or her own. Being able to move and breathe on one’s own are the primary factors that affect a person’s longevity.

Doctors, medical experts, and malpractice attorneys use databases and complex statistical analyses to determine the life expectancy of a child at the individual level. Complications may develop for children that are paralyzed, either partially or totally, that may lead to higher levels of early mortality. These complications can include:

  • infections, like urinary tract or respiratory tract infections
  • pressure ulcers
  • bed sores
  • blood clots
  • In some cases, life expectancy may be less than half that of a non-injured child. However, this may not always be the case, and relying on broad, unsupported statements about how many years a child can expect to live can have devastating consequences in the context of a medical malpractice suit.

    Why You Need An Experienced Birth Injury Attorney

    When your case is underway, your attorney must hire an expert to help determine your child’s expected lifespan, in order to properly determine the lifetime expenditures for proving damages. Because MICRA has placed draconian limits on non-economic damages, it is up to your attorney to prove economic damages that will be sufficient to compensate you and your family for their losses. Problems arise when experts underestimate the remaining lifespan of a birth-injured child. If an expert in a malpractice lawsuit for a birth-related SCI underestimates the remaining lifespan of the child, then the attorney may not be able to get a damages award sufficient to properly care for the child over his or her lifetime. This is why it is important to enlist the help of a medical malpractice attorney whose main focus is birth injury cases, and who has extensive experience in trying these types of cases.