Lego Wii

Lego Wii

What Happens When Birth Injuries Affect Your Family? by Daniel Marcus Manson

I recently had the opportunity to tour the home of Karen (her name has been changed to protect her privacy), the mother of four children. In many ways, Karen’s home is typical of what you’d expect to see in a Philadelphia suburb. Two of the kids are wrestling in the living room when she meets me at the front door. Her daughter is sitting in the kitchen, playing Club Penguin on the family computer. There’s a flat screen TV mounted on the living room wall, just above a gas fireplace and I can see the Wii sensor attached to the top. The kids have spread a small trail of toys throughout the main floor and I’m careful not to step on a Transformer someone has built out of Lego. Birth Injuries is the last thing I’m thinking.

It isn’t until I hear a banging from the hallway leading to the bedrooms and involuntarily flinch at the possibility that a wall is being damaged that the differences begin to dawn on me. The entrance hallway is much wider that I’d expect in a home of this size and it cuts into the space of the living room. Perfect at eye level, it’s scraped and battered a few feet above the floor. Doorways have been widened, including the front door. â€Here comes Nathan,†says Karen, in way of explanation, as her fourth and youngest child wheels into the kitchen. He looks at me and waves. Karen wipes his face and he uses the joystick on his wheelchair to accelerate into the living room. I flinch again when the chair clips the corner of a coffee table, but Karen shrugs. â€We’re going to have to get rid of that table,†she says, â€there’s just no room for things like that in here.â€

Karen suffered from strep late in her pregnancy and, although she had brought it to the hospital’s attention several times, it went untreated. Nathan suffered neurological damage as a result of the streptococcal infection that was subsequently passed to him in the womb. Karen felt guilty for years, but came to realize that this was one of those rare cases where the medical establishment had failed. Faced with ongoing medical bills along with costs for home support, specialized equipment like his wheelchair, renovations and a converted van capable of carrying Nathan’s wheelchair, the family was facing financial disaster. Fortunately, they consulted an attorney who filed a lawsuit and won a substantial settlement.

Nathan may never lead a fully normal life, but Karen and her family now have the means to ensure it’s the best possible.

Janet Mercer is a former General personal injury attorney, who left the legal profession to pursue journalism. Janet’s writing portfolio includes detailed coverage of product liability cases in the US. She received several awards for her feature on the use of untrained, general laborers on large scale construction projects and how this practice can lead to Workplace Injury.

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