Avoidable Birth Injuries and Brain Damage in Children

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Medical science has made incredible advances in obstetrics over the last 20 years. When a pregnant woman is hooked up to available equipment, just about every variable of her health and the health of her unborn child is measured and quantified. Unfortunately, machines cannot do all of the work. It still takes skilled medical professionals to ensure that the delivery goes according to plan and the child is born healthy. All too frequently, though, those professionals don’t adhere to the standard of care they should provide and the child is born with an avoidable brain injury. If you find yourself in this situation, what are your options?

Avoidable Brain Injuries

Many brain injuries caused in birth are avoidable. The two most common diagnoses that have certain avoidable causes are cerebral palsy and hypoxia/anoxia. Each will be discussed in detail below.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a condition that affects movement. It often demonstrates itself through abnormal muscle tone, dysfunctional gait, spasms, balance issues and involuntary movements. The condition can range from mild difficulty of movement to an almost lack of coordinated motor function that renders the child effectively immobile. It is typically diagnosed at between 6 and 10 months of age.

There are many causes of cerebral palsy. Many are natural in origin, including an infection of the mother during pregnancy and intrauterine dysfunction during development. However, many cases are caused during the birth process. Birth trauma is often blamed as a cause, as is birth asphyxia. It is here, in the birth process, where poor medical care can become implicated. Medical professionals sometimes do not give the care due to the patient, ignore vital warning signs and fail to intervene when they should. For example, if a baby’s heart decelerates on a fetal heart monitor, it is a possible indication that there are complications. If medical professionals fail to react in a timely fashion, cerebral palsy can be a result. Further, improper technique can lead to injury to the brain via equipment or manual force. Many have heard the horror stories where doctors have damaged children severely with birthing tongs and other pieces of equipment. The doctor is trained in the proper use of equipment as well as the standard of care that is to be used in situations like this, but, ultimately, they do not always do everything they can to ensure a safe birth.

Hypoxia and Anoxia

Hypoxia and anoxia are two sides of the same coin. Hypoxia is the deprivation of oxygen for a relatively short amount of time, up to a minute or so. Anoxia is the deprivation of oxygen for a longer amount of time, up to about 5 minutes. Both have the potential to cause brain damage. While there are many organic causes for both of these conditions, they can also be caused by the failure of medical professionals to act appropriately and in a timely fashion. During birth, if the medical team fails to react to a compromised umbilical cord, hypoxia and anoxia may occur. Further, if these problems do occur and a doctor doesn’t immediately take steps to ameliorate the condition by getting the child to a hyperbaric chamber, for example, the condition can be exacerbated.

We trust our health to well-trained doctors and their staffs. As with anything involving humans, mistakes can happen. Unfortunately, mistakes during the birthing process can have disastrous and tragic consequences. If you live in the Tallahassee area and your child has been diagnosed with a birth injury like this, you need zealous representation to get accountability for those who caused the condition. The skilled and experienced professionals at Fasig & Brooks have been holding medical professionals accountable for decades. Call us at (850) 222-3232 today to set up your free consultation. We will do everything possible to ensure that you get the results you deserve.