Identifying Brain Injuries Caused at Birth
Thousands of babies throughout the United States will be born with some sort of brain injury or brain damage every year. The tragedy of infant brain damage is heightened when considering that it should be preventable in many incidences. It is through doctor, nurse, or pediatrician negligence that a large number of infant brain injury cases arise.
Common forms of infant brain damage, symptoms, and causes:
- Birth asphyxia: An infant born with low oxygen levels happens once in about every 250 births, but the number could potentially be much lower. Oxygen deprivation at the time of birth is generally caused by the umbilical cord wrapping around the newborn’s neck during delivery. Medical staff members with proper training should be able to recognize ways to avoid getting the baby tangled in the umbilical, or should be able to move rapidly to untangle it the moment the problem is spotted. Without quick-thinking and effective care, birth asphyxia for just a few minutes or less could cause permanent brain damage.
- Kernicterus: A small percentage of babies are born with jaundice, or a blood condition that causes them to appear yellowish at birth. Adequate and immediate care should be able to reverse jaundice and prevent serious harm. When jaundice is not addressed, it can develop into kernicterus, which is brain damage caused by the excess bilirubin in the baby’s blood. An infant with kernicterus will probably maintain a high fever, keep their back oddly bent, shriek instead of cry, and have long periods of lethargy.
- Mishandling during labor: Infant brain damage caused by actual physical harm or misshaping of the baby’s head during labor is indicative of medical malpractice. A doctor that forces a baby out during delivery through tugging, or uses labor-assisting tools like forceps incorrectly, could be entirely accountable for causing that baby to be born with cerebral palsy or another form of lifelong brain injury. In some cases, an infant who was mishandled by a doctor in labor will not show symptoms until much later. Parents should watch for delayed cognitive development, unpredictable mood swings, and unusual facial appearance as the child ages.
- Obstetrician failures: In some cases, the mother has some form of infection or illness during pregnancy that ends up causing harm to the baby in development. An obstetrician working with the pregnant mother should be able to identify when such issues are causing harm or could likely injure the child, and take appropriate action. Failing to make such crucial diagnoses can put liability on the obstetrician’s office.
Seeking Help & Justice After Your Child Suffers a Brain Injury
If your child has been born with a brain injury, please do not lose hope in the situation. There are ways that some brain injuries can be treated and permanent damage can be avoided. However, such treatments must be done as soon as possible and can be quite expensive. What can be done to help pay for those costs?
Scarlett Law Group and our San Francisco birth injury attorneys would like to hear from you if you believe your child was hurt during birth due to someone else’s negligence. With our assistance backed by 25+ years of legal experience, you may be able to file a claim against the liable party and seek maximized compensation. We have won millions of dollars for our clients in past traumatic brain injury cases and would be honored to be able to discuss your case options in detail during an initial consultation to see what we can do for you.
Contact us today to learn more about how you can file a claim after your child’s birth injury.