In the keepsake book of memories from childhood, there is usually a unique page for your child’s first word. When that word does not come or your child struggles to speak, you might be looking at years of speech therapy. Childhood dysarthria is a disorder that weakens an infant’s mouth and respiratory system muscles, affecting their ability to talk.
While childhood dysarthria can be a congenital condition, children typically develop dysarthria because they experienced a traumatic brain injury due to complications at delivery. When the injury is the direct result of your doctor’s negligent care or mistakes in the delivery room, the doctor’s actions might constitute medical malpractice. If your child suffered a traumatic brain injury at birth that caused childhood dysarthria, contact our Maryland attorneys for childhood dysarthria caused by birth complications. The experienced malpractice lawyers at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice will help evaluate your case and treat you and your family with the compassion and respect you deserve. Call (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free case consultation.
Diagnosing Childhood Dysarthria in Infants
The signs and symptoms of dysarthria are challenging to see. As your child ages and begins to talk, you may notice slurred or abnormally fast or slow speech. In more severe instances, your child may not be able to move their mouth at all. Because of the damage to the muscle systems controlling the mouth, infants with dysarthria may have limited movement in their mouth and tongue, difficulty swallowing or nursing, or excessive slobbering.
Currently, there is no diagnostic method to test for dysarthria in children. Doctors must instead rely on developmental speech tests that are designed to diagnose adults. Your doctor should perform a physical examination to rule out other potential medical conditions or causes. Additionally, your physician should check airflow and analyze your baby’s ability to move their mouth and tongue. A comprehensive exam may also include a CT-scan or MRI to determine whether your infant suffered a brain injury. If your doctor failed to request the proper tests or conducted a thorough examination, the failure could rise to the level of medical malpractice.
If your child is experiencing any symptoms of childhood dysarthria and your doctor failed to appropriately test or diagnose the condition, call our Maryland attorneys for childhood dysarthria caused by birth complications.
Medical Errors Causing Speech Disorders and Dysarthria in Infants in Maryland
While delivering a child is a very common procedure, there are still several medical risks associated with childbirth. Your child could sustain a severe brain injury during birth due to a poorly managed, difficult delivery. The following are all common causes of brain injury during childbirth that could lead to dysarthria and speech disorders:
Umbilical Cord Wrapped Around the Neck
A nuchal cord is a condition where the life-sustaining umbilical cord becomes wrapped around an infant’s neck. This condition is often caused by a baby’s random movements in the womb. While nuchal cords generally do not result in catastrophic injury, compression of the umbilical cord can deprive your child of oxygen, blood, and nutrients. In certain situations, an emergency C-section may be necessary. If your doctor failed to accurately diagnose or treat a nuchal cord or failed to order a cesarean section, your child might suffer a birth-related brain injury that could potentially lead to dysarthria.
Alternatively, breech births are another common cause of oxygen deprivation and brain injuries during a delivery. In a breech position, your baby’s head is facing upwards while the feet and buttocks are pointed towards the birth canal. With a breech birth, there is a risk that the baby could become stuck in the birth canal during delivery, blocking sufficient oxygen flow. Your physician could negligently injure your child by allowing the compression of the umbilical cord to last for an unreasonably dangerous amount of time. Additionally, your child could suffer a traumatic brain injury if your doctor improperly repositioned the infant. Any sustained oxygen deprivation or head trauma can cause brain damage. Depending on the duration and severity of the damage, your child might develop dysarthria or other long-term disabilities.
If delivery is prolonged or problematic, your doctor might employ obstetric forceps to assist the birth. Forceps resemble pliers with curved ends, and your doctor will use them to gently grasp your child’s head and guide the infant through the birth canal. If used negligently, forceps can substantially injure your baby by fracturing the skull or causing brain damage.
Depending on your condition, your physician might administer medication such as Pitocin to induce labor. Pitocin is a synthetic hormone that induces labor and strengthens contractions. When used negligently, Pitocin can cause contractions to be too powerful and too close together. This might restrict the blood flow between you and your child, resulting in oxygen deprivation and brain damage.
Your physician should monitor you during the duration of your pregnancy to ensure you do not contract an infection that could pass to your child and cause brain damage. Failing to diagnose an infection that could harm you or result in a brain injury to your child could constitute medical malpractice in Maryland.
Call Our Maryland Attorney for Childhood Dysarthria Caused by Birth Injuries for a Free Consultation
Watching your child struggle with communication or speech due to childhood dysarthria is heartbreaking. Speech therapy is expensive and could require years of work. If your child suffered from a more severe case of dysarthria, therapy might not be an option. When your child’s injury was the result of negligent conduct by a trusted medical professional, the heartbreak increases. Call our knowledgeable, compassionate Maryland attorneys for childhood dysarthria caused by birth complications. The experienced lawyers at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice have the resources to help you with your medical malpractice claim. Call (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free case consultation.