Neonatal Hydrocephalus

Giving birth to a baby that is suffering from a birth injury can be horrifying to the new parents. In many cases, new parents who are expecting to celebrate the new life of a child are bombarded with the complications surrounding the care and treatment their injured child now requires. As you can imagine, learning that your newborn has suffered a debilitating injury, like neonatal hydrocephalus that may have been caused by the negligent actions of a medical professional, can be overwhelming. These injuries can, and often do, require extensive medical treatment that is ongoing. Unfortunately, the impacts of these injuries are often life-long and devastating.

If your newborn suffered hydrocephalus as a result of a medical professional’s careless, reckless, or negligent actions, it is crucial that you reach out to a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. The medical malpractice attorneys at The Malpractice Group have decades of experience helping victims who have sustained an injury at the hands of a medical professional. Some injured victims may be entitled to compensation to help alleviate the financial burdens that they face related to all necessary medical treatment, pain and suffering, and more.

Over the years, The Malpractice Group has fought aggressively to protect the legal rights of victims and their families after suffering from debilitating birth injuries. Our team of skilled personal injury attorneys has extensive knowledge handling even some of the most complex legal claims surrounding birth injuries like neonatal hydrocephalus. We strive to help those harmed collect the compensation they need for medical treatment and other costs they face as a result of medical malpractice and negligence. Contact our The Malpractice Group today to explore legal options available for you.

What is Neonatal Hydrocephalus?

Neonatal hydrocephalus is a term used to describe situations where babies are born with water on their brains. Although this condition can be a congenital condition, it is often caused by head trauma before or during birth. This condition is present in cases where babies maintain too much water on their brains.

Although referred to as water, the liquid that accumulates is actually called cerebrospinal fluid or CSF. CSF is a liquid that fits inside the subarachnoid space and within the ventricular system surrounding the brain and spinal cord. A healthy brain typically produces 500 mL of cerebrospinal fluid each day and hosts between 100 mL and 160 mL at a time. Babies who suffer head trauma before or during birth will have problems with the flow or reabsorption of CSF.

There are two primary types of hydrocephalus. The first one is referred to as communicating hydrocephalus. Communicating hydrocephalus occurs when the ventricles of the brain remain open, allowing the CSF to flow inside. Unfortunately, CSF does not have the ability to flow out of the ventricles due to blockages in the exits.

The second type is non-communicating hydrocephalus. With this condition, the flow of CSF through the connecting ventricles is completely blocked as a result of the narrowing of Sylvius, which connects the third and fourth ventricles.

Common Causes of Neonatal Hydrocephalus

In hydrocephalus, the narrowing is typically caused by bleeding inside the ventricles. These intraventricular hemorrhages are often caused by strikes, blows, and other injuries to the head. Some of the most common causes of hydrocephalus include:

  • Trauma from a prolonged labor
  • Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)
  • A traumatic birth due to the use of forceps or vacuum extraction
  • Abnormal changes in blood pressure during birth
  • Oxygen deprivation during labor and delivery
  • Head trauma due to Cytotec or Pitocin
  • Being born in a breech position

If your baby suffered neonatal hydrocephalus due to the negligence of a medical professional, contact a medical malpractice attorney at The Malpractice Group as soon as possible.

Symptoms and Complications of Neonatal Hydrocephalus

Babies who sustain traumatic injuries that lead to hydrocephalus often experience an array of symptoms. In many cases, fluid build-up in the brain can cause the head to become puffy and swollen in the temple area, around the eyes, and around the bridge of the nose. An enlarged head is the most notable symptom of this condition. 

If this condition is not treated in a timely manner, it can result in increased intracranial pressure. The rapid growth will continue in an attempt to decrease pressure in the brain. Without treatment, hydrocephalus can cause a complete compression of the brain stem, causing the heart to stop working or the baby to stop breathing. Additionally, babies who endure these injuries often have problems speaking, swallowing, and breathing. 

Other early symptoms of neonatal hydrocephalus include sleepiness, irritability, an inability to look upward, vomiting, and seizures. Diagnosing this condition early on will help limit the chances of long-term complications.

Treatment for Neonatal Hydrocephalus

Babies who suffer from neonatal hydrocephalus have some treatment options if the condition is discovered early on. The condition can be managed by placing shunts into the brain. Shunts redirect the flow of fluid from an area of build-up in the brain, through the use of tubes, to the abdominal cavity where it can be absorbed. Physicians will typically place valves within the shunt system to allow them to adjust the flow and normalize pressure over time. It is crucial that tubes are long enough to accommodate the child’s growth and help to eliminate the chances of future surgeries. Unfortunately, studies show that nearly half of all shunts fail within two years.

The Malpractice Group Can Help You

If your baby suffers from neonatal hydrocephalus that occurred as a result of a doctor or medical professional’s negligence, it is crucial that you take the necessary steps to protect your legal rights. This condition, in particular, can require extensive medical treatment, surgeries, and lead to pain and suffering. Some babies grow to experience cognitive problems, vision programs, and difficulties with walking. By contacting a medical malpractice attorney as early as possible, you can ensure that your child is able to get the medical care they need to grow up and lead a productive life.

We at The Malpractice Group strive to help families get the justice they deserve. Our attorneys have effective and proven legal skills in litigating birth injury claims and an impressive record of successful outcomes to prove it. Families impacted by these devastating birth injuries can rest assured knowing their legal rights and best interests are protected with us. Contact The Malpractice Group today by calling (312) 561-4324 at your earliest convenience to schedule a free case evaluation.