Infant Brain Injury
A newborn can suffer a traumatic brain injury during childbirth when a physician is negligent in performing an assisted delivery, or when there is a decreased flow of blood or oxygen to the baby’s brain.
When a baby gets stuck in the birth canal or exhibits signs of fetal distress during childbirth, a physician may use forceps or a vacuum extractor to grasp the baby by its head and assist in pulling the infant through the birth canal. An assisted delivery is generally considered to be a safe procedure. But when a doctor uses the forceps or vacuum extractor during the wrong stage of labor, with unnecessary force, too many attempts, or when the baby is not in an optimal position, the baby can face lifelong, debilitating consequences. Birth-related brain injuries are the leading cause of cerebral palsy and intellectual disabilities in the United States. Premature babies are particularly at risk for this type of injury.
Oxygen deprivation is another cause of traumatic brain injury in newborns. If a baby is not responding well to the stress of the birthing process, medical professionals are trained to take action to assist the baby. For example, they might instruct the mother to change her position, provide her with oxygen, reduce labor inducing drugs like Pitocin, or order a Cesarean Section. Failure to take such action can lead to a reduction of oxygen (hypoxia) and/or blood flow (ischemia) to the baby’s brain—a condition known as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy or “birth asphyxia”. In most countries where Western medical care is widely available, between one and eight out of every 1,000 babies will suffer from hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. Worldwide, the number is much higher—affecting approximately 23 percent of all newborns.
If your baby suffered a traumatic brain injury during childbirth, we can help. The lawyers at Shebell & Shebell believe in holding negligent doctors, nurses, and hospitals accountable for their errors. A traumatic brain injury can require a lifetime of costly medical care. We are prepared to help you recover compensation for these costs.
Factors That Contribute to Infant Brain Injuries
Injuries to a baby’s brain may be caused by a number of factors, which may include the misuse of instruments during assisted delivery, or the failure to recognize or treat fetal distress. However, there are many factors that can increase the likelihood of these situations occurring, including:
- Preeclampsia (maternal high blood pressure and high levels of protein in the urine)
- Placental abruption (separation of the placenta from the uterus prior to delivery)
- Multiple births
- Maternal fever
- Induced labor (often with the aid of the drug Pitocin)
- Intrauterine growth restriction, or IUGR (underdevelopment of the fetus)
- Breech presentation
- Umbilical cord problems
- Macrosomia (a very large newborn)
- Delay in delivery
- Complications of a vaginal birth after Cesarean Section (VBAC)
- Drug interactions, overdose, or administration of contraindicated drugs
- Failure to monitor the baby’s heart rate for signs of distress
- Failure to diagnose and promptly treat neonatal conditions such as hydrocephalus
Treatment for Brain Injury
The costs of treatment and rehabilitation for a traumatic brain injury can be astronomical. Rehabilitation often includes physical therapy, speech therapy, psychological treatment and occupational therapy. Babies who suffer from brain injuries may require lifelong care by an attendant, modifications to the family home, and costly medical equipment.
We Are Committed to Helping Victims of Brain Injuries
The Birth Injury Lawyers at Shebell & Shebell are dedicated to helping parents get answers. If your child has a birth injury that you believe should have been prevented, we can help you to investigate the cause and potentially recover money damages for past and future medical expenses, future life care expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. To discuss your case, call us at 866-957-5237 or contact us online today.