Our nerves are the messengers between different parts of our bodies. They carry the signals that tell our hearts to pump and our eyes to focus. When the nerves are damaged, it can affect our ability to move and feel sensations. Severe nerve damage can be fatal, cutting off the signals that make the heart beat and the lungs breathe.
In adults, nerve damage is usually the result of a traumatic injury. Similarly, delivery-related physical trauma can cause nerve damage in infants.
Delivery is a rough ride. The baby has to squeeze through a narrow opening in the pelvis and then the birth canal. Sometimes, the baby needs a little help making the journey. If the baby is too big or the mother’s pelvis is too small, the baby can get stuck. Babies may also get stuck if they’re born in a breech (feet-first) or face-first position.
Read on for more about the causes, symptoms, treatment, and legal issues surrounding infant nerve damage, and what you can expect if your baby has been injured.
- Infant Nerve Damage: What You Need to Know
- What causes traumatic nerve damage in infants?
- What are the symptoms of infant nerve damage?
- What treatment options are available for my baby’s nerve damage?
- What are the legal issues surrounding infant nerve damage?
- What questions should I ask my doctor?
- What should I expect if my child has nerve damage?
What causes traumatic nerve damage in infants?
The pelvis and birth canal are tight enough that the umbilical cord is compressed and the baby can’t expand the lungs enough to breathe. It only takes a few minutes for oxygen deprivation to cause brain damage, so your doctor will want to get the baby through the birth canal as quickly as possible.
In order to speed up a difficult delivery, a doctor or nurse may need to reposition or pull on the baby to ease the passage. This pulling and twisting can damage the nerves in the baby’s face, neck, throat, or spinal cord.
Doctors may also use tools such as vacuums and forceps to help get the baby through the birth canal. A vacuum uses suction on the baby’s head to pull the baby out while forceps are used to get a stronger grip on the head so the doctor can pull the baby out more easily. Used properly, these tools cause nothing more than bruising that will heal within a few days. Used improperly, they can cause the baby’s neck and back to stretch and twist, causing nerve damage. The most common form of facial nerve injury caused by birth trauma involve the lower part of the nerve, which controls the muscles around the lips — most noticeable when baby cries. (R)
If the nerves are compressed or stretched, but not torn, the injury is called a “neuropraxia.” Neuropraxias are the least serious type of nerve injury and will often heal on their own with time. More serious injuries such as ruptures and avulsions (where the nerves are actually severed) may not heal and may require surgical intervention to restore some function. (R)
Over the course of a pregnancy, the baby grows from just one cell into a complicated, fully-functioning infant. That process is incredibly complex, and sometimes things can go wrong. Developmental issues that can affect the baby’s nervous system include neural tube defects and brain malformations.
Neural Tube Defects
In very early pregnancy, the embryo is a ball of identical cells. As the embryo develops, those cells begin to differentiate and form the structures that will eventually become the organs, circulatory system, and other parts of the body. At this point, the embryo is still shaped like a ball. As the embryo develops, a groove forms down one side. That groove eventually closes over into a “neural tube” that develops into the spinal cord and brain. (R)
In some babies, the neural tube doesn’t close all the way. In the most serious cases, that prevents the baby’s brain from ever forming. This is called “anencephaly” and is fatal. In other cases, only part of the tube is left open. This causes a condition called “spina bifida,” which can happen anywhere along the spine. (R)
One form of spina bifida is called “spina bifida occulta” or “occult spinal dysraphism.” In these cases, the vertebrae in the baby’s back don’t close all the way but the tissues underneath remain in place. Some cases of spina bifida occulta cause no symptoms; some cause a discoloration or tuft of hair over the area of the spine that isn’t completely closed. In some cases, the spinal cord may actually be connected to the skin, putting the child at risk for meningitis and incidental damage to the unprotected nerve. (R)
In more severe cases of spina bifida, the opening in the spine may be wide enough to allow the meninges to protrude. The meninges are the membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. When they protrude from the spine, it creates a “meningocele,” a fluid-filled bump or bubble under the skin. This form of the disease is called “spina bifida cystica meningocele.” This will create an obvious lump on the baby’s back. (R)
The most serious type of spina bifida is called “spina bifida cystica meningomyelocele.” Babies with this type will have a lump similar to a meningocele, but the spinal cord itself is pushed out of the vertebrae into the bubble. The lump is called a “meningomyelocele.” Because the spinal cord is pulled out of place and not protected by the vertebrae, damage to the spinal cord is common. Children with this form of spina bifida are usually seriously impaired — it is the most common central nervous system malformation and one of the leading causes of paraplegia worldwide. (R)
Brain malformations are rare, but usually very serious. They include hydrocephaly, porencephaly, hydranencephaly, and others. “Hydrocephaly” refers to a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the skull that puts pressure on the brain. “Porencephaly” refers to the formation of a fluid-filled cyst in the cerebral hemisphere and in “hydranencephaly,” the cerebral hemispheres are completely absent and replaced by fluid-filled sacs. Some children may develop an “encephalocele,” in which the skull does not completely close and part of the brain bulges out. (R) (R) (R) (R)
There are many varieties of brain malformation and the prognosis is poor for most affected children. For example, for children who develop an encephalocele, their outcome depends on what type of brain tissue is involved, where the sacs are located, and what malformations accompany them. Those who do survive are likely to have severe disabilities. Malformations often cannot be treated directly, but surgical procedures and medications may help control symptoms.
See also: Why Pregnant Women Should Consider Taking Folic Acid
What are the symptoms of infant nerve damage?
Our nerves are the messengers between our brains and the rest of our bodies. When they’re damaged, we lose some or all of the function of that body part. Minor nerve injuries can cause tingling, prickling, or partial numbness of the affected area. More serious injuries can cut off all feeling and function.
Babies are at risk for nerve injuries due to trauma during delivery or developmental defects.
Nerve Damage During Delivery
During delivery, your doctor may need to reposition the baby or pull on the baby to ease the passage through the birth canal. Unfortunately, that pulling and twisting can damage the baby’s nerves. The nerves most often damaged during delivery are the cranial nerve and the spinal cord.
The brachial plexus nerves are also at risk during delivery. For more information, check out the section on Brachial Plexus Injuries and Erb’s Palsy.
Cranial Nerve Injury
The cranial nerves connect your brain to your sensory organs. They allow you to see, hear, smell, and taste. They control the movement of your tongue and jaw. They allow you to make facial expressions and turn your head from side to side.
Pulling or twisting the baby’s neck during delivery may damage the cranial nerves. Improper placement of forceps or a vacuum during delivery can also damage these nerves. The symptoms of cranial nerve damage depend on which nerves are damaged, but the most common symptom is paralysis of part or all of one side of the face. The eye on the affected side may not be able to blink, requiring use of eyedrops and an eyepatch to protect the eye. In some very severe cases, the nerve that controls the diaphragm (the muscle that expands your lungs when you breathe) may be damaged, causing respiratory problems. (R)
Cranial nerve injuries can also cause a variety of palsies, or muscle spasms and contractions. Bell’s palsy affects the face, causing one side of the face to droop. Palsies of the third, fourth, and sixth nerves affect the eyes, causing drooping and abnormal eye movement. (R)
Most cranial nerve injuries acquired during delivery are mild. These minor injuries are called “neuropraxias” and occur when the nerves are stretched or compressed but not torn. Neuropraxias typically heal on their own within a week or two. If you don’t see improvement in the baby’s symptoms in that time, the injury may be a more serious tear or break. A tear or break in a nerve is called an “avulsion” or “rupture,” depending on the location of the injury. Surgery may help repair the damage in some cases, but others may be permanent and untreatable. (R)
Spinal Cord Injury
Twisting and pulling on the baby during delivery doesn’t just risk the cranial nerves. It can also stretch or tear the spinal cord. The spinal cord is the large bunch of nerves that run down the middle of your spine. Damage to the spinal cord will affect the function of everything lower than the site of the injury.
Spinal cord injuries during delivery are rare — it takes a great deal of force to pull or twist hard enough to damage the spinal cord. When they do happen, they’re usually very serious. An injury to the spinal cord can affect your child’s ability to breathe and pump blood. If the injury is a mild neuropraxia, a life support machine can keep the baby alive long enough for the injury to heal. More serious injuries may be fatal. (R)
Symptoms of Developmental Defects
The nervous system is one of the most complicated parts of the body and sometimes, things can go wrong during development in the womb. Fortunately, nervous system defects are rare. They fall into two main categories: neural tube defects and brain malformations.
Neural Tube Defect Symptoms
The neural tube is the structure that develops into the spinal cord and brain. It starts as a groove around one side of the embryo and then closes over into a complete tube as the embryo develops. Sometimes, the tube doesn’t completely close over. This is called “spina bifida.”
One common form of spina bifida is called “spina bifida occulta,” or “occult spinal dysraphism.” The vertebrae haven’t completely closed over the spinal cord but the opening is covered by skin. Babies with spina bifida occulta often have a dark, discolored, or hairy patch over the area of the spine that hasn’t completely closed. Otherwise, many have no symptoms at all. In more serious cases, the spinal cord may fuse to the skin above it. That can damage the spinal cord, affecting the child’s body below the site of the opening. Children with spina bifida occulta are also at increased risk for meningitis and damage to the part of the nerve not protected by the spinal cord. (R)
A more severe type of spina bifida, “spina bifida cystica meningocele,” occurs when meninges, fluid, and other tissue bulges out through the hole in the spine. This causes a dark, fluid-filled lump on the baby’s spine. This form of spina bifida requires surgery to put the bulging tissues back in place and close up the spine. The meningocele may damage the spinal cord, affecting the functioning of the baby’s body below the site of the meningocele.
“Spina bifida cystica myelomeningocele” is the most dangerous form of spina bifida. It occurs when the spinal cord itself bulges out through the hole in the spine, along with the meninges and fluid. This typically causes severe damage to the spinal cord and most children with this condition will be severely impaired. Surgery is required to put the spinal cord back in place. Spina bifida cystica myelomeningocele is often accompanied by hydrocephaly, a condition in which excess fluid builds up and puts pressure on the baby’s brain.
Brain Malformation Symptoms
The symptoms of a brain malformation depend on the type of defect. Some brain malformations are fatal.
Many brain malformations are invisible from the outside. For example, “hydranencephaly” occurs when the cerebral hemispheres fail to form. Instead, sacs of cerebrospinal fluid take their place. The baby will look and act healthy for the first few weeks, but will then start to experience irritability and unusual growth in muscle mass. Within a few months, the baby will start to have seizures. Hydranencephaly is fatal for most children. Early diagnosis and treatment is key. (R) (R)
Porencephaly is a less severe form of the same malformation. Children with porencephaly have fluid-filled cysts in their cerebral hemispheres. Porencephaly may cause seizures and spasms, hydrocephaly, and cognitive disabilities.
Some brain malformations will show up on ultrasound, allowing diagnosis before delivery. Others may not be identified until after birth when seizures or developmental delays arise.
What treatment options are available for my baby’s nerve damage?
When you break a bone, you can set it in the proper position and it will heal. When you get a cut, your skin will heal. When you damage a nerve, the process is not so easy. Nerve cells don’t heal the same way the rest of your body does. That makes treatment for nerve damage difficult. Severe damage is usually irreparable.
Some babies will suffer nerve damage due to trauma from the delivery process or due to a birth defect. Let’s take a look at how those injuries are treated.
Treating Infant Nerve Damage due to Delivery Trauma
Babies are at risk for nerve damage during delivery if the doctor needs to twist or pull on the baby to ease the passage through the birth canal. That’s a tight fit even in ideal circumstances, but a breech (feet-first) position or a high birth weight can cause the baby to get stuck along the way. Leaving the baby stuck in the birth canal for more than a few minutes is dangerous because the baby can’t breathe and the umbilical cord is too compressed to deliver oxygenated blood. That lack of oxygen can cause brain damage. Unfortunately, twisting and pulling the baby comes with its own risks — nerve damage. (R)
Damage to the cranial nerves is most common. The cranial nerves control everything above your neck — your face, eyes, tongue, ears, and jaw. Damage to these nerves can lead to facial paralysis. The good news is that most cranial nerve damage is minor. Most injuries are “neuropraxias,” where the nerves are stretched or compressed but not torn. A neuropraxia of the cranial nerve will generally heal on its own within a few weeks.
If the symptoms don’t clear up within a few weeks, that means the nerve may have actually ruptured or torn. In rare cases, surgery may be used to reconnect torn nerves. In most cases, surgical intervention is not appropriate. If the damaged nerves cause palsy of the eyes, injections of botulinum toxin (Botox) can ease the palsy and improve eye mobility. Corrective lenses can also increase vision and ease eye strain. (R)
In rare cases, pulling on the baby during delivery can cause damage to the spinal cord. In most cases, this damage cannot be repaired. The baby may need treatment for secondary issues arising from the spinal cord injury, including pain management and physical therapy. Injuries to the spinal cord affect the body at and below the level of the injury. An injury to the lower back may affect the child’s ability to walk, necessitating physical therapy and mobility aids. Injuries higher on the spine may affect the child’s ability to breathe; these are usually fatal. (R)
Treating Infant Nerve Damage due to Birth Defects
As with trauma, nerve damage due to birth defects is difficult to treat. In some cases, no treatment at all is possible. Birth defects that affect the nerves include neural tube defects and brain malformations.
Treating Neural Tube Defects
The “neural tube” is the part of the embryo that eventually develops into the brain and spinal cord. The tube starts as a groove and eventually closes over to make a complete tube. In some children, the tube doesn’t close completely. That leaves part of the spinal cord unprotected by the vertebrae of the spine. This is called “spina bifida.”
There are several different types of spina bifida. In “spina bifida occulta,” the skin closes over the hole in the spine. There may be a patch of hair or darker skin over the location of the hole. Most children don’t have any side effects from spina bifida occulta and don’t require any treatment. In fact, many cases of spina bifida occulta are never even diagnosed. In some cases, the spinal cord may become fused to the skin. Surgery is required to separate the nerves from the surrounding tissue. This surgery is difficult and may leave the child with damage to the spinal cord at the site of the hole. (R)
“Spina bifida cystica meningocele” and “spina bifida cystica myelomeningocele” are more severe versions of the disease. In the first, the meninges and fluids from the spinal cord bulge out of the hole to form a “meningocele,” but the spinal cord is left in place. In the second, the spinal cord bulges out with the meninges and fluid to form a “myelomeningocele.” You will be able to see the bulge on the baby’s spine.
Your doctor will perform scans and testing to determine whether the bulge is a meningocele or a myelomeningocele. In either case, surgery will be required to return the contents of the bulge to their place in the spine and close up the hole in the spine. Children with meningoceles usually have some level of disability after the surgery. Children with myelomeningoceles are often severely disabled due to the damage to the spinal cord. In addition, these types of spina bifida are frequently accompanied by hydrocephaly, or fluid buildup in the brain that can cause pain, seizures, and brain damage. (R) (R)
Treating Brain Malformations
In most cases, brain malformations are not treatable. If your child has evident symptoms such as macrocephaly or microcephaly (a very large or very small head), an encephalocele (a hole in the skull through which part of the brain bulges), or obvious swelling, your doctor may order MRI scans and other tests to determine whether your child has a birth defect. In other cases, symptoms such as seizures or developmental delays appear later on, at which point a scan or test can point to a diagnosis.
In very rare cases, children are born with a condition called “anencephaly.” This occurs when the neural tube fails to close at the end. These children are born without large portions of their brains and skulls. Anencephaly is always fatal. It affects about 3 pregnancies in every 10,000 in the United States. (R)
While brain malformations are often untreatable, they cause secondary conditions that do respond to treatment. Brain malformations commonly cause epilepsy, which can be controlled by anticonvulsant medication. Children with limited mobility may need mobility aids, such as walkers and wheelchairs. Occupational therapy can help children learn strategies for tackling daily tasks and physical therapy can help strengthen their muscles and maintain joint flexibility.
What are the legal issues surrounding infant nerve damage?
Medical problems are expensive. Nerve damage can be particularly pricey, requiring multiple surgeries and lifelong therapy and support. Sometimes, nerve damage is the result of an unavoidable genetic mutation or developmental defect. Other times, nerve damage is the result of carelessness or negligence by your medical care providers.
When your child is injured by the negligence of a medical care provider, the law gives you the right to claim compensation for the injuries.
In cases of medical malpractice, the goal of a lawsuit against the medical care provider is to get compensation for the costs of the injury. In legal terms, this compensation is called “damages.” Damages can be economic or non-economic. Economic damages include compensation for quantifiable costs such as past and future medical expenses and the wages your child will forego in the future as a result of the injury. Non-economic damages are meant to compensate you and your child for the non-monetary costs of the injury, such as pain and suffering.
Medical Malpractice Cases for Infant Nerve Damage
If your child is injured, you can file a lawsuit against your doctors, your nurses, the hospital or clinic where the injury occurred, or any combination of these. Your attorney will help you decide which parties to sue. For ease of use, we’ll talk about cases against doctors specifically, but cases against each type of defendant have the same requirements.
A medical malpractice claim has four parts. You’ll need to prove that the doctor had a duty to your child. You’ll need to prove that she failed to uphold that duty — that’s called “negligence.” You’ll need to prove that your child was injured. Finally, you’ll need to prove that the negligence of your doctor caused that injury — that’s called “causation.”
The first point is easy. If the doctor treated your child in any way, that creates a doctor-patient relationship. Where there is a doctor-patient relationship, the doctor has a legal duty to treat the patient according to the standard of care in the field.
The second point requires the help of expert witnesses, usually other doctors in the same field. These witnesses will describe the appropriate standard of care. For example, forceps should be used in a particular way to avoid harm to the baby’s cranial nerves. The expert witnesses and your attorney will then show that your doctor failed to uphold the standard of care in some way. The doctor may have used the forceps incorrectly, as evidenced by the pattern of bruising on the baby’s head. The failure to meet the standard of care constitutes legal negligence.
The third point will involve medical records and the testimony of other care providers that treated your child for the injury. Scans of nerve damage and test results can demonstrate that your child suffered an injury.
The fourth point often requires a combination of expert testimony and medical evidence. Your expert witnesses will explain that the type of mistake your doctor made causes the type of injury your child suffered. There must be a clear link of causation between your doctor’s actions and the injury. If your doctor negligently failed to perform a routine test on the baby but that test was unrelated to the injury, there is no case.
Is a birth-injury lawsuit right for me?
A lawsuit is a time-consuming and labor-intensive endeavor. You’ll need to weigh the potential benefit of winning against the time, energy, and money you’ll spend on the case. If your child is severely disabled as a result of medical malpractice, you can win enough compensation to ensure that your little one is provided for forever. If your child suffered more minor injuries, the compensation you can receive may be too low to justify a lawsuit. Remember that this type of lawsuit can take months or years to resolve.
If you believe your child was injured by medical malpractice, gather the medical records and make an appointment to speak to an experienced attorney. Most offer free consultations, so it doesn’t cost you anything to look into your options. At the initial consultation, the attorney will go over your case with you and give you an idea of the strength of the case. Ask about how much compensation you may be able to win, how long the case is going to take, and how strong your chances are. You should also ask about attorney’s fees. Some attorneys will charge hourly fees, but many take medical malpractice cases on a “contingent fee” basis. That means they will be paid a percentage of the damages you win. If you don’t win any money, you don’t have to pay.
It’s better to speak to an attorney sooner rather than later if you’re considering filing a lawsuit because the law gives you a limited amount of time to file a case. This “statute of limitations” is usually a couple years from the time you learn of the injury. After that, you lose the right to sue. It’s better to speak to an attorney as soon as possible so you have plenty of time to make a decision about what’s best for you and your child.
No amount of money can undo the pain of seeing your child injured, but compensation for medical malpractice can help you afford the medical care that your child needs going forward. Safe Birth Project is here to help.
What questions should I ask my doctor?
Nerve damage encompasses a wide variety of injuries. Ask your doctor these questions to get the information you need to care for your child.
1. What nerves are damaged?
Brachial plexus injuries are the most common, but other nerve injuries also happen. Is your child’s cranial nerve damaged? What about the spinal cord? Ask your doctor about the nature and location of the injury.
2. How severe is the damage?
A mild injury such as a neuropraxia will heal on its own, but severe injuries may require surgery or may be permanent. Ask your doctor about the severity of the injury and whether any treatment will be necessary.
3. What should I be looking for?
Nerve injuries may heal by themselves, but it can be tough to tell which injuries will heal and which won’t. Ask your doctor what signs you should be watching for that may indicate that your child’s nerves are not healing properly. Your doctor can also warn you about potential secondary issues that can affect your child. Schedule a followup appointment so your doctor can check your little one’s progress.
4. Will my child have a permanent disability?
Nerve damage can affect your child’s face, arms, legs, and more. Ask your doctor about what you should expect in the long run.
5. Does my child need physical or occupational therapy?
Some nerve injuries may benefit from therapy to strengthen the surrounding muscles. Children with permanent injuries may need occupational therapy to develop strategies for accomplishing daily tasks with limited mobility or limited use of an arm.
6. How did this happen?
Some causes of nerve injury may be genetic, meaning they could affect any future pregnancies. Some nerve injuries are caused by medical negligence. If your child’s injury was caused by negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses and more.
What should I expect if my child has nerve damage?
You never want anything bad to happen to your child. Medical problems are especially scary. If your little one has been diagnosed with nerve damage, you’re probably wondering what that means for the baby and your family. Let’s review.
Diagnosing Infant Nerve Damage
The first step is diagnosing the nerve damage. The damage may be evident right away in the form of partial or full paralysis. If the baby can’t move one side of the face or one limb, there may be some nerve damage. Nerve damage can happen during delivery if the doctor needs to twist or pull the baby into the proper position for delivery. The good news is that most nerve damage sustained during delivery is minor and will heal on its own within a couple of weeks.
Nerve damage may be caused by birth defects such as spina bifida and brain malformations. Spina bifida occurs when the baby’s spine doesn’t form completely and leaves part of the spinal cord exposed. In “spina bifida occulta,” the hole is covered by skin. There may be darker skin or a patch of hair over the site of the hole. This condition usually has no symptoms. Other forms of spina bifida cause the meninges and fluid to bulge out of the hole. In especially severe cases, the spinal cord itself will bulge out. These bulges are clearly visible and will require surgery. (R)
Brain malformations may also be visible or invisible. Some types cause the child to have a very large or very small head while others will have no outward symptoms. If your child has visible symptoms, your doctor may order scans and tests to determine the cause and determine whether immediate treatment is needed.
Treatment and Care
If your child has nerve damage from trauma that doesn’t heal within a couple of weeks, you’ll need to go back in to see your doctor for further testing. The nerves may have ruptured or torn, in which case they will not heal on their own. Treatment for these more serious injuries will depend on the location and nature of the injury.
Brachial plexus injuries are the most common type of nerve damage. Cranial nerve injuries are also fairly common, affecting the face, eyes, nose, ears, and mouth. Damage to them can cause facial paralysis and various palsies (tremors and shaking). Unfortunately, the damage often is irreparable. If the ocular nerves (the ones that control the eyes) are damaged and causing an ocular palsy, an injection of botulinum toxin (Botox) into those nerves can relax them and alleviate the palsy. (R)
Similarly, spinal cord injuries are rarely treatable. You’ll need to keep your little one as still as possible to allow any potential healing to run its course. Afterward, you’ll work with physical and occupational therapists to strengthen the baby’s muscles and determine the extent of the injury.
For serious cases of spina bifida, your little one will need surgery to return the tissue in the bulge to where it belongs. While this procedure is necessary, it’s also risky. It requires exposing the spinal cord and potentially moving it into the proper position. That can damage the cord and may increase the risk of serious infection. Children with severe spina bifida will often have serious disabilities, such as problems going to the bathroom or not being able to feel their legs or feet at all. (R)
Most brain malformations are untreatable. If your child has an encephalocele (a hole in the skull through which part of the brain is protruding), surgery will be necessary to put the brain back and cover the hole. About 340 babies in the U.S. are born with this condition each year. (R)
Long-Term Outlook of Infant Nerve Damage
If the nerve damage is relatively mild, your baby won’t have any long-term consequences. The damage will heal completely within a few weeks. More severe damage will have long-term consequences. You’ll need to work with your child’s doctors to determine whether physical or occupational therapy are right for your baby.
The long-term prognosis for children with spina bifida depends on the severity of the case. Many children with spina bifida occulta will have no symptoms and no long-term consequences. More severe cases can cause learning disabilities, developmental delays, and physical disabilities. In some cases, physical or occupational therapy may help your child learn to manage daily tasks.
The long-term outlook for children with brain malformations depends on the type of malformation. Brain malformations can cause developmental, physical, and intellectual disabilities. They can also cause palsies and epilepsy, which may require treatment with anticonvulsant medications. Some brain malformations may be fatal. (R)
The range of possible effects from nerve damage is huge. On one end of the spectrum, minor damage may cause a tremor or weakness. On the other end, serious brain malformations can be fatal. There’s no easy answer for what to expect when your child suffers from nerve damage. You’ll need to work with your baby’s doctors and therapists to decide on a plan of treatment that meets your little one’s needs. As always, your love and support are a crucial part of any treatment.
Infant Nerve Damage Resources for Parents
You never want to see your child hurt, and it’s tough to bear when injuries happen. These resources can make caring for your injured child easier.
- Medicare and Medicaid: All health care is expensive. Pediatric health care can be particularly pricey, especially if your little one needs to see a specialist. Medicare and Medicaid can give you the coverage you need to make sure your baby gets crucial care.
- Social Security Disability Benefits: If your child is going to suffer long-term effects from nerve damage, consider filing for Social Security Disability benefits. These payments can ease the strain of medical bills and other costs.
- State Disability Services: Your state’s Disability Services Office can connect you to low-cost doctors, testing facilities, medications, and medical devices. This office can also help you ensure that your child’s school has the necessary facilities and staff for your little one’s education.
- United Healthcare Children’s Foundation: This foundation offers financial support and more to the families of children with disabilities.
- Online Communities: Search online for local communities of parents of children with disabilities. You can find parenting and care tips, advice on how to handle schools and state resources, and emotional support.