Claim for a Spinal Cord Injury at Birth

How can I prove that the midwife damaged my baby’s spine if I make a claim for a spinal cord injury at birth?

If you suspect that your midwife acted in a negligent manner and injured your baby you will need to receive assistance with proving negligence, and you should allow a solicitor to investigate your claim for a spinal cord injury at birth and to collect evidence of negligence. Although the midwife may have caused the injury to your baby’s spinal cord, there are many other possible causes and it must be established – and proven ‘on the balance of probabilities’ – that the injury was not caused by the physical stress from birth process or from factors outside of the midwife’s control.

Spinal cord injuries can be caused by extension, compression or rotation of the spinal cord, restrictions to blood flow during pregnancy or birth as well as bone defects and diseases. To determine the cause of the injury – and whether a claim for compensation for a spinal birth injury can be made -diagnostic tests will need to be conducted. Your solicitor will ensure that your baby is examined by an expert paediatric doctor to establish the extent of the injuries, and the probable cause.

Your solicitor will also write to the hospital and all parties involved to confirm the actions that were taken during the birth process to help establish if the injuries were caused by the actions of the midwife, or if errors were made by other members of the hospital staff. You may have grounds to make a compensation claim for a spinal injury at birth for a failure by a doctor to identify a potential health problem prior to delivery, if this could have prevented an injury to the spine at birth.

An investigation must also be conducted by the HSE, so it is important that you make a written complaint and request an investigation into how an injury to the spine at birth was caused. The HSE is obliged to investigate all complaints to identify any failures in procedures or errors made by the hospital staff.

Following a thorough investigation of the claim for a spinal cord injury at birth, a review of the case will be arranged by your solicitor and an expert midwife or obstetrician will be consulted to determine – based on the evidence collected -whether the injuries were preventable and if the injuries resulted from medical negligence. It is not possible for a solicitor or non-medical professional to prove that the actions taken by a midwife or other medical professional were negligent under the circumstances, or if they resulted from incompetence or a lack of training. This is why all spinal birth injury compensation claims must be independently reviewed before they can be filed.

If it is possible for compensation for a spinal birth injury to be claimed, your solicitor will calculate the level of damages which can be recovered. The value of your compensation claim for a spinal injury at birth will be determined by the severity of the injury, the prognosis for your baby making a full recovery and full consideration will be given to the pain and suffering caused and any loss of amenity that will be suffered.

Spinal birth injury compensation claims can also be made to cover financial losses due to the injury and future costs of treatment, and a solicitor will ensure that all aspects of the injury are factored into the compensation amount that is claimed.