One of the issues to consider in the context of a child with behavioral issues is whether those issues may be due to a brain injury acquired during labour and delivery. Sometimes the behavioral issues meet the autism diagnostic criteria. However, not all children with behavioral issues meet that criteria and it is the task of the obstetrical lawyer to investigate the possibility that a hypoxic ischemic (an inadequate supply of oxygen to the brain) event, trauma from forceps or vacuum, or a stroke might explain the behavioral issues.
The starting point in the analysis is the proper interpretation of any MRI or CT imaging of the child’s brain. There are only a handful of pediatric neuroradiologists in Canada qualified to provide thorough interpretations of such imaging in a malpractice context. The interpretation of the imaging will provide important information on the existence of and nature of any brain injury. In some instances the pediatric neuroradiologist can provide opinion evidence on the most likely cause of the injury and its timing.
The obstetrical lawyer will likely also seek the opinion of a pediatric neurologist and often a psychologist or neuropsychologist.
Successful litigation for compensation for behavioral issues is based on solid opinion evidence from the top experts in the field. The obstetrical lawyer must understand the medical basis underlying the claim and must support the case with thorough and comprehensive opinions.