Estimates show that nearly 2 out of every 1,000 births in the United States results in a birth injury. The majority of injured victims suffer debilitating brain injuries that have a lasting impact on their health and wellbeing. These injuries often require immediate and long-term medical treatment. When babies sustain an injury such as neonatal brain damage, they often go on to develop permanent disabilities that impact their health and wellbeing indefinitely. Although there is an array of causes for birth injuries, some babies suffer the devastating consequences of neonatal brain damage that is caused by the careless, reckless, or negligent actions of a medical professional.
Thousands of babies across the United States suffer neonatal brain damage as a result of errors made by negligent doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. These injuries often cause overwhelming pain and suffering that impacts victims and their families for the rest of their lives. To make matters even worse, the financial devastation families may endure from medical treatment can be crippling. When babies sustain these serious injuries, due to the negligence of medical professionals, it is imperative that their families contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to protect their legal rights as a victim.
The personal injury attorneys at The Malpractice Group remain dedicated to helping families recover after tragic birth injuries. We understand the overwhelming mental, emotional, and financial challenges families often endure. To make things easier for them to move forward with medical treatment, we fight to ensure that they maximize their recoveries and hold negligent medical professionals accountable.
Causes of Infant Brain Damage
Neonatal brain damage can have a lasting impact on a child’s life. These injuries can result in permanent impairments and disabilities that require treatment and result in lifetime disabilities. Some neonatal brain injuries are caused by the negligent and reckless actions of medical professionals. Although there are many causes of neonatal brain damage, the longer a baby’s brain is restricted from oxygen flow, the more severe the damage may be. Some of the most common causes of infant brain damage include:
Asphyxiation: There are several trauma injuries that can cause birth asphyxia. When babies are deprived of the oxygen they need, they may suffer long-term brain damages. Some common causes of asphyxia include problems with the umbilical cord, the mother’s blood pressure or anemia, getting stuck in the birth canal, and constricted airways.
Physical Trauma: Next to Erb’s palsy caused by negligence, birth injuries are the leading cause of intellectual disabilities and cerebral palsy in the United States. These injuries can be caused by the improper use of birthing tools, performing a delivery too quickly, or pulling and twisting the child during difficult labor.
Jaundice: Jaundice is a condition that causes yellowing to a baby’s skin and eyes. If jaundice is left untreated, it can cause a dangerous amount of bilirubin to build up in the baby’s blood. This leads to a condition called kernicterus, which is a form of brain damage. Jaundice-induced kernicterus is characterized by lethargy, high-pitched screaming, high fevers, and an abnormal arching of the back. Babies can also suffer acute bilirubin encephalopathy, which can lead to impaired feeding and sucking in developing babies.
Intracranial Hemorrhages: Brain bleeds can result in irreversible brain damage that continues to impact the child’s life indefinitely. This can cause developmental delays and an array of other complications.
Oligohydramnios: Having low amniotic fluid levels can result in a decrease in oxygen flow to the baby. This condition can cause devastating brain damage that results in disabilities and permanent health conditions.
Preeclampsia: If not monitored and treated, preeclampsia can cause deprivation of oxygen to the baby. This condition can lead to premature labor and increase the risk of devastating injuries.
Untreated Infections in the Mother: Mothers who have syphilis, herpes, varicella, rubella, and other infections that are not identified or treated can easily pass them on to their child during the birthing process. The transmission of infection can lead to neonatal brain damage. Infections can increase the risk that a child will be born prematurely, which also increases the risk of brain damage.
There are an array of birth injuries caused by the negligent actions of medical professionals during the pregnancy, labor, and delivery processes. Some actions that lead to devastating birth injuries include:
- The failure to deliver the baby in a timely manner after shoulder dystocia is discovered
- The improper use of forceps or vacuum extractors during delivery
- The failure to recognize umbilical cord issues
- The failure to recognize and address fetal distress
- The failure to respond after discovering a placenta abruption
- The improper use Pitocin
- The failure to perform a C-section when necessary
- Inadequate or improper resuscitation measures
The longer a child is exposed to any of these conditions, the more severe the injuries may be. In some cases, neonatal brain injuries can be fatal. If your child suffered brain damage as a result of medical negligence, contact the medical malpractice attorneys at The Malpractice Group as soon as possible to see what legal options are available for you.
General Symptoms of Infant Brain Damage
Children who suffer from neonatal brain damage often exert an array of symptoms. These symptoms can be either physical or mental and have a detrimental impact on their lives. Some of the most common symptoms of infant brain damage include:
- Abnormal Physical Appearance: Babies may have problems focusing their eyes. In some cases, those impacted by these injuries have deformed facial features and unusually small skulls.
- Temperament Issues: Babies who have neonatal brain damage may have a high-pitched cry. They may refuse nourishments and act extremely fussy.
- Developmental Delays: Neonatal brain injuries may stop babies from crawling and smile in a manner typical of their age. They may have problems responding to various triggers and may act sluggish.
If your child suffered neonatal brain damage, and you believe medical negligence was the cause, contact our law firm at your earliest convenience to explore legal options available to you.
Signs of Neonatal Brain Damage
Infant brain damage can range in severity. The symptoms can be mild to severe and include signs of cognitive impairments, developmental delays, seizures, cerebral palsy, and various other indicators. Babies who suffer from severe brain damage often have visually apparent symptoms that doctors notice right away. Some of the most common symptoms and signs include:
- Small head or skull
- Having a large forehead
- A malformed spine
- Stiffness in the neck
- Distorted or unusual facial features
- Abnormal eye movements
Some other early signs include having seizures, excessive crying, unusually irritability, increased fussiness, problems eating or sleeping, and exerting signs of general discomfort without any explanation.
Not all signs of neonatal brain damage are recognized immediately after birth. Some signs and symptoms can take time to manifest before becoming apparent to doctors and medical professionals. Some of the later signs of neonatal brain damage include:
- Sensitivity to light
- Muscle spasms or tremors
- Sudden unexplained paralysis to certain areas of the body
As babies grow into toddlers, they may experience physical development problems and delays. Babies may be slow to crawl and can have problems standing up, sitting, or walking. Feeding may be challenging for children, especially when they try to feed themselves. As the children continue to grow, they may struggle to learn and perform various tasks like tying shoes, using writing instruments, getting dressed, and reaching various other growth milestones.
Children who have cerebral palsy injuries can exert an array of symptoms that are typically characteristic of the injury. These symptoms include:
- Tight and stiff muscles
- An abnormal walking gait
- Tightness in the joint that does not allow it to open up all the way
- Weak or paralyzed muscles
- Muscle spasms and tremors
- Delay reaching motor skill milestones
- Problems with fine motor skills
- Impaired coordination
- Scissoring legs
- Abnormal movement of the limbs
- Learning disabilities
- Vision and/or hearing loss
- Growth delays
- Floppy muscles and joints
Children who suffer from neonatal brain damage often require extensive medical treatment for their injuries and resulting conditions. In many cases, children have to go through therapy and other treatments indefinitely. When children suffer these devastating injuries as a result of medical negligence, it is crucial that their families contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
Diagnosing Neonatal Brain Damage
Symptoms of brain damage are extremely varied and diverse. Some children may not show signs of these injuries for several months or even years. If they do show symptoms at all, they may not be severe enough to recognize the condition easily. In cases where symptoms develop soon after birth, doctors utilize various tests to diagnose the damage. In most cases, doctors will use imaging scans like MRIs or CT scans to show if there are any signs of trauma to the brain.
In cases where the injuries are not as apparent, adequate and continual monitoring is crucial. When medical malpractice and negligence are believed to be the cause of neonatal brain injuries, families should consult with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
Treatment Options for Neonatal Brain Damage
Babies who suffer brain damage should receive various forms of treatment for their injuries. The more aggressive the treatment measures, the better chances the baby has of recovering. Palliative care and supportive care are often started immediately to ensure the baby is comfortable and safe, given the current circumstance. The type and severity of the injury will have a driving impact on the type of treatment the baby will receive. Some of the treatment options available include:
Hypothermia Therapy: This therapy is started within 6-hours after birth. The sooner the treatment is started, the better the prognosis. Brain cooling therapy works to slow cell death in the brain, which can prevent complications like electrolyte and glucose imbalances, poor perfusion, seizures, respiratory problems, brain bleeds, and infections.
Early Intervention Programs: The use of EI programs and therapies are successful in maximizing the skills and development in children who suffer from brain damage. The implementation of occupational therapy, speech therapy, and physical therapy are crucial for muscle strengthening, improving coordination, and various other things.
It is crucial to note that some conditions may not disappear completely, regardless of how much treatment the baby gets. Some brain damage results in a permanent injury that cause disabilities and other life-altering conditions that require continual medical treatment. Not only are the mental and emotional consequences of these conditions are overwhelming, but the financial burdens relative to treatment and lost wages can have a devastating impact on a family as well. For this reason, it is crucial that families reach out to an aggressive neonatal brain injury attorney with The Malpractice Group as soon as possible to get the justice and compensation you deserve.
The Malpractice Group Can Help You
Babies who suffer brain damage due to the negligence of a medical professional often require long-term treatment. In many cases, babies are left with overwhelming pain and suffering that continues to impact their health and wellbeing indefinitely. Not only are these small children forced to endure the overwhelming consequences, but their families are often forced to suffer as well. The expenses relative to medical care drastically drive up the cost of raising a child. When babies suffer as a result of negligence, it is imperative that families reach out to a knowledgeable birth injury attorney as soon as possible.
Our team at The Malpractice Group of WVFO understands the overwhelming impact neonatal brain injuries can have on families. We wholeheartedly believe that families should never be forced to spend thousands of dollars on medical treatment as a result of a medical professional’s negligence. For this reason, our aggressive birth injury attorneys at The Malpractice Group will work diligently to ensure families are fully and fairly compensated so they can focus on moving forward from these devastating incidents. If your baby suffered a birth injury, and you believe it was caused by medical negligence, contact our medical malpractice attorneys at your earliest convenience. Call our law firm at (312) 561-4324 to schedule a free case evaluation to determine what legal options are available for you.