Brain damage during the childbirth process has been associated with many
different serious disorders that can cause lifelong difficulties for the
child in question. Common disorders resulting from
brain injuries at birth include:
It is important for parents to be educated on potential brain injuries
caused at birth not only to try to prevent them, but also to identify
if their child may have suffered a brain injury. The following are common
ways brain injuries can occur at birth.
Physical trauma — Labor and delivery can be inherently stressful on both the child and the
mother. Medical professionals are expected to know how to properly oversee
and guide a birth in order to prevent physical trauma to the infant as
he or she is being born. However, there are many mistakes that doctors
can make that may cause trauma to the child’s head and result in
brain damage. For example, excessive pulling or twisting during labor
can result in physical trauma, as can allowing the baby’s head to
repeatedly knock against the mother’s pelvic bone. Additionally,
mistakes using vacuums, forceps, or other tools to assist in delivery
can result in brain injuries.
Asphyxia (oxygen deprivation) — Like anyone else, babies need oxygen to properly function and even a couple
of minutes with partial or complete oxygen deprivation can lead to permanent
brain damage. Asphyxia can occur in a number of ways, including the following:
- Problems with the umbilical cord
- Separation of the placenta from the uterus at too early a stage
- Issues with the blood pressure of the mother
- Infants getting caught in the birth canal
- Constricted airways
- Anemia in the infant at birth
These problems can be avoided if the medical professional properly identifies
and treats any type of distress in the fetus in a timely fashion.
Conditions of the mother — If a medical professional does not properly identify certain infections
or other conditions in a mother, the infections can result in brain damage
to the child. Such infections may include syphilis, herpes, rubella, preeclampsia,
cystitis, yeast infections, and more. Infections also have the risk of
causing more health issues in infants in addition to brain damage, including
epilepsy or schizophrenia.
Jaundice — Jaundice is a relatively common condition in newborn infants that does
not cause permanent issues if treated in a timely manner. However, if
medical professionals fail to treat jaundice immediately, it could result
in conditions called kernicterus or acute bilirubin encephalopathy, which
are both serious forms of brain damage.
Infant brain damage can have a permanent effect on your child’s life
and can cause severe challenges both for you and the child from the very
start of their lives. If brain damage is caused by the negligence or malpractice
of a medical professional, that professional should be held responsible.
If your infant suffered brain damage at birth,
call the Atlanta office of Goldstein & Hayes to speak with an experienced and dedicated
medical malpractice lawyer today.