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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

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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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Financial Support for Parents Whose Newborns have Experienced a Subarachnoid Hemorrhage during Birth

Subarachnoid hemorrhages are relatively common in newborns that go through an extensive delivery process or rough labor. The use of instruments also increases the risk of such a brain bleed.

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Depending on the diagnostic process and the severity of the subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), a child may experience some permanent brain damage and neurological problems. As a parent of such a baby, you may be wondering about the financial support option that you may be entitled to.

A Brief Overview of SAH in Newborns

Elk & Elk

Aneurysms are the most common cause of subarachnoid hemorrhages in newborns. Quite often, SAH will become symptomatic in the days after the birth. Some of the most common symptoms include convulsions, apnea, and bradycardia (abnormally slow heart rate).

SAH can have serious consequences, especially if the bleeding causes an increase in intracranial pressure. A small clinical study involving 35 newborns having SAH was presented in the Journal of Perinatology in 1991. Of the children, 89 percent survived the bleeding. Only 16 of these children, however, didn’t suffer any neurological consequences as a result of SAH.

Of all surviving newborns, 19 percent developed post-hemorrhagic hydrocephalus.

Based on this experiment and other clinical observations, medics have concluded that SAH could have more profound consequences for newborns than previously believed. This is the main reason why close monitoring is recommended on a regular basis to enable the early identification and to address neurological symptoms.

While SAH is relatively common in premature babies, it may also occur in babies carried to term. Birth complications and a large size of the baby are two of the most common causes for such intracranial bleeding. There aren’t exact statistics about the occurrence of SAH in newborns. Depending on the size and the location of the bleeding, it may be difficult to diagnose immediately after birth.

Submitting a Claim for Financial Support

As already mentioned, SAH could have long-lasting neurological and developmental consequences. The parents of newborns that have suffered from SAH could potentially have to invest in medical treatments, physiotherapy, specialized equipment and educational tools.

Such supplies can be quite costly. Thus, financial assistance may be sought.

Whenever a subarachnoid hemorrhage is the result of medical negligence during the delivery, the parents may file a birth injury lawsuit. If there’s sufficient evidence, the parents will be entitled to a compensation either during a settlement or through a court verdict.

In Ohio, a birth injury lawsuit has to be filed within one year of discovering the injury. No lawsuit will be honored if four or more years have passed since the identification of SAH. Whenever a minor is involved, this person may bring a case upon turning 18.

The fact that the time starts ticking from the discovery of an injury is the crucial one. SAH may sometimes be asymptomatic when it occurs. Neurological problems will become evident later on in life. In such instances, the statute of limitations starts at the time when the symptoms were first identified rather than the time when the subarachnoid hemorrhage took place.

If parents are capable of proving a birth injury due to negligence, they’ll be entitled to compensation for all of the child’s medical and educational needs. Punitive damages and payments for emotional trauma will have to be provided by the defendant, as well.

What’s the Maximum Compensation?

Ohio is one of the states that have a cap on the amount parents can receive as a result of a medical malpractice lawsuit due to a birth injury/SAH. In Ohio, the parents of children who have suffered birth brain damage are entitled to two types of financial support:

  • Economic damages: these include medical care reimbursements (both past payments and medical care costs in the future), compensations for financial losses that have stemmed from the injury and future such
  • Non-economic damages: in this instance, compensation will be provided for the emotional distress that parents have experienced (this category is usually much more subjective than economic damages, and the sum that parents will be entitled to will vary significantly)

When it comes to economic damages in Ohio, there’s no cap. A cap applies to the non-economic damages that a plaintiff will be entitled to. The cap is set at 250,000 dollars or three times the economic damages that have been granted to the plaintiff (the greater of the two is taken into consideration). The overall maximum is 350,000 dollars per plaintiff or 500,000 dollars per case.

Whenever the medical negligence has contributed to the so-called catastrophic injuries or permanent injuries. In such instances, the cap will be increased to 500,000 dollars per plaintiff or one million dollars per case.

One case provides some information about the financial support that the parents of a child who experiences brain damage at birth may be entitled to. A medical malpractice settlement led to the payment of 8.5 million dollars to the family whose newborn suffered from brain damage at birth.

While being cared for at an Ohio hospital, the baby suffered an extreme brain injury. According to the couple, the injury resulted from the negligence of the treating physician. The baby’s APGAR score was used as evidence. The baby wasn’t breathing at birth, and according to the family, it wasn’t provided with the right kind of resuscitation.

A second example of an Ohio settlement for serious birth brain damage demonstrates a similar pattern. In 2012, the plaintiff went into labor bur forceps had to be used (followed by an emergency C-section). While the physician contested liability, the child suffered profound brain damage, and the hospital agreed to a four-million dollar settlement.

There is a massive difference between birth defects and birth injuries. SAH is typically caused by the latter. Many birth injuries are caused by the negligence of medical professionals, leading to detrimental consequences for either mother or baby. In such situations, the parent is entitled to financial compensation. The size of the compensation and the manner in which the claim is going to be made will depend heavily on the approach that the family’s attorney decides to adopt.