Our Chicago birth injury attorneys were interested to stumble upon an article in The Daily Home this week that profiled a brother and sister born with a rare birth defect. Both siblings were born with facial disfigurements known as craniofacial disorder. Every year more than 100,000 infants are born with the disfigurement. Not all of those victims experience the same problems, however, as the scope and severity of the disfigurement can vary dramatically from one victim to another.
As with many different birth injury terms, craniofacial disorder actually refers to a range of problems, all of which cause some sort of abnormality in the face. Usually the problems are caused by abnormal growth of soft tissue or bone in the face or skull. In some situations the problem is caused by a birth defect that develops early on in the pregnancy, often rooted in genetics. At other times the disorder is brought about by a preventable birth injury, usually as a result of trauma or a disease.
This recent article profiled a family that is working hard to raise awareness about craniofacial disorder. Both of the family’s children-a 14-year old girl and her 12-year old brother-were born with the abnormality. The younger boy has a more severe version of the problem, having had over 30 surgeries in his young life already to deal with the complications. The girl’s problems are less severe but still significant. She has already had 7 different surgeries. Both children have more operations to come to correct the continuing problems connected to the disorder.
The long-term effects of problem are much more than just cosmetic. For example, when the young boy was born he was forced to spend the first months of his life in the hospital. His nostrils were not completely formed when he was born, and he could not suck on a bottle or pacifier. In addition he had hearing and speech problems as he grew older. The older sister also had hearing and speech issues as a result of her condition but the problem were mild compared with those faced by her brother.
The family remarked that they were fortunate to have been able to access world class surgeons and scientists throughout the treatment process. The parents explained that they continually visit with physicians at various hospitals and universities nearby as the children have more and more work done to improve their development. One surgeon involved in caring for the boy noted, “the objective is a functional outcome-the ability to breath, chew and speak and pronounce words-but one benefit will be cosmetic and enhance his psychosocial well-being.
Our Chicago birth injury lawyers appreciate the effect that these and other injuries can have on the social and psychological development of the involved children. Many children who go through traumatic births and have nerve damage lose the ability to use some their limbs. Cerebral palsy victims often cannot control certain bodily movements. Besides the functional problems these children face, the effect that these issues have on the overall well-being of the victims must also be remembered. Fellow children rarely understand how and why their classmates are different. Any deviation from the norm in schoolyards, cafeterias, and parks often means a life of teasing, taunting, and confusion.
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