Infant Brain Damage Attorneys
Brain Damage in Babies
Approximately 3 in every 1,000 full-term newborns in the U.S. are born with brain injuries, and half of these injuries are linked to oxygen deprivation during labor and delivery. However, oxygen deprivation is not the only cause of infant brain damage. It can also result from physical trauma during birth and other reasons.
Causes of Infant Brain Damage
Infant brain damage affects millions of babies every year. Some of the most common causes are:
Approximately 4 out of every 1,000 babies suffer oxygen deprivation at birth. There are a number of possible reasons the child could become deprived of oxygen during labor and delivery. If the infant is in the birth canal too long, the umbilical cord may prolapse (deliver before or with the baby) or kink, cutting off the baby’s blood supply. The umbilical cord could wrap around the baby’s neck. The placenta can become dislodged and stick in the birth canal. The mother may have blood pressure or other health issues, and the child may not begin breathing on its own quickly enough after birth.
Birth asphyxia can be mild, moderate, or severe. With rapid medical intervention, infants who suffer mild or moderate oxygen deprivation may recover completely. However, with severe birth asphyxia, when the baby is deprived of oxygen for several minutes, the child may suffer permanent brain damage, as well as potential damage to the respiratory, cardiovascular, and digestive systems, and the kidneys.
When the infant stays in the birth canal too long in a labor that lasts more than 18 hours, the sustained compression on the baby’s head can cause injury to the brain. An infant whose head hits repeatedly against the mother’s pelvic bone during a difficult delivery could sustain a brain injury. Physicians can also cause injury to the baby’s brain through improper use of vacuums and forceps in instrument-assisted deliveries.
When the mother has certain infections that are not treated correctly during pregnancy, they can cause damage to the brain of the fetus. Maternal infections that can cause infant brain injury include:
- Herpes simplex (better known as the STD herpes virus)
- Varicella (another herpes-family virus that causes chicken pox and shingles)
- Rubella (virus causing German measles)
- Syphilis (sexually transmitted bacteria)
Many infants are born with jaundice, particularly premature babies. Symptoms are yellowish coloring of the skin and eyes, caused by excess bilirubin (a brownish-yellow substance found in bile) in the red blood cells. When jaundice is treated promptly, the condition generally clears up with no permanent damage. If left untreated, however, bilirubin levels will continue to increase, damaging the infant’s brain.
Speak With an Infant Brain Injury Lawyer
Brain damage suffered at birth can lead to permanent disabilities and long-term health problems. Not all infant brain damage is the result of medical negligence. However, if your child’s brain was injured at birth and you suspect that is was associated with a medical error, your best course of action is to speak with a birth injury attorney.
Birth injury attorney Laura Brown is happy to meet with you in a free consultation to discuss the circumstances surrounding your child’s injuries. You can call (214) 974-4121 or email her at Brown@TrialFirm.com. Birth Injury Safety is run by legal advocates for children with birth injuries caused by medical malpractice, and their families.
- Herald Tribune Health: Brain injury in newborns could have many causes