I can't imagine the distress you must be feeling after a birth injury or trauma. It's so understandable you're considering suing the hospital, doctor, nurse or midwife.
Maybe you're hoping to...
Medical professionals are well aware of the risks of delivering babies and (should) have taken reasonable precautions to deliver your baby as safely as possible.
Medical malpractice unfortunately happens though. Professionals are human beings too and therefore are as fallible as any of us.
However, if you feel that you’ve not received the care you expected, read on to find out about the often-missed challenges of claiming compensation.
My concern is for your emotional and mental well-being, as well as that of your partner or spouse and your family. So, I am offering this advice as psychological support, based on my 24 years’ experience of couple counselling.
I am not qualified to comment on the whys and wherefores of claiming compensation.
In no way would I want you to think that I am either encouraging or discouraging you from suing.
If right now you just don't have the energy, patience or concentration to read, then I strongly recommend you try hypnosis to help you cope. You can order the hypnosis download, Postnatal Depression Recovery, via my page Hypnosis Online FAQ - and come back here tomorrow. I'll still be here for you.
If your baby has been hurt or has died, you, your partner and your family will be suffering.
If you've been injured then your baby, your partner and your family will be affected too.
To learn more about trauma, hop over to my page on Dealing with a Birth Trauma. From there you can also visit my other pages on post-traumatic stress to help you get a wider perspective.
I will be here when you come back.
A successful outcome will of course help a little.
A financial award is a great outcome if it covers the costs of your and/or your baby's treatment and/or long-term care. It can also compensate you for any loss of income.
Of course you may also get satisfaction from the feeling that justice has been done, particularly if that was your primary motivation.
Perhaps you're also hoping that it will help to heal the wounds so that, once it’s all behind you, you’ll be able to get on with the rest of your life. You may - or you may not - be able to do this. It depends very much on how you deal with the trauma and the whole legal minefield.
Claiming compensation for a birth injury or trauma may help you to feel a little better. It will help you to gain a bit more control by 'doing something'. If your claim is successful, it will be helpful to you when you walk out of court knowing that justice has been done. Very importantly for some, it may mean the funds to obtain specialist care. But there are a few things to consider first...
Is it going to cure your trauma?
I’m afraid not.
Is it going to change things for you at home?
- Possibly - depending on your needs and the compensation awarded.
To what extent will this satisfy you?
- This depends on many factors.
The legal process is likely to add another layer of stress and difficulty to your life. It will to some extent complicate your situation now - while you’re already feeling fragile - and potentially over the next few years.
Therefore, you and your partner may want to prepare yourselves to deal with the following:
The whole legal process itself can put an additional strain on your relationship or marriage.
Before you start the process do be sure to discuss in detail what both of your expectations are.
There's a danger that at any one stage it can all begin to feel too much for either one of you. One of you may want to give up on the process, regardless of what you agreed on at the start.
How supportive will you or your partner be if that were to happen…especially after you’ve invested so much in terms of money, time and emotional energy?
When you have gone through something so traumatic your brain, mind and body need time to heal. That healing is a process as much as the legal process of claiming for a birth injury is. It too has various stages. You (both) need to be shielded from additional stresses as much as possible. "Some chance" you might say - you are dealing with 'life'!
For your trauma to have a chance to heal properly you’d ideally want to avoid going over the 'facts' more that you would normally to come to terms with it. However, the legal process may interfere with the natural healing.
I hope that you now have sufficient information about how suing might affect you, your partner and your other children. This should help you to plan ahead and muster all of your strength and resources.
I hope it might also help you to have a really useful conversation with your birth injury lawyer or solicitor. I've written a page with tips on Finding a (Birth Injury) Lawyer.