Brain damage during the labor and delivery process can be fatal or result in serious and permanent mental and physical impairment for the newborn. A child who is severely brain damaged during birth may need costly care for the rest of his or her life and may never become the person he or she would have been if the brain damage had never happened.
When lives are irrevocably altered as a result of brain injury during birth, doctors, hospitals or other health care providers may be held accountable if their negligence was to blame. An experienced birth injury lawyer at Joye Law Firm can help you take the legal action necessary to recover full and fair compensation for your child’s brain damage birth injuries.
We understand the stress and heartbreak you are enduring, and we can work to secure the compensation you need to make sure your child gets the support he or she needs to cope with brain damage caused by a birth injury.
Call Joye Law Firm at (888) 324-3100 or fill out our online contact form for a free claim evaluation. Our law firm has offices in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Clinton, and Columbia, and we assist injured people from around South Carolina.
Causes of Brain Damage During Birth
There are three primary causes of brain damage during labor and delivery:
- Reduced oxygen (hypoxia)
- Reduced glucose levels (hypoglycemia).
It is essential that a mother and child’s medical records are reviewed carefully by a medical expert if a baby suffered a brain injury as a result of birth complications. An experienced birth injury attorney can help parents to obtain the necessary records and find the right medical experts.
Reduced Oxygen (Hypoxia)
If the brain does not receive a steady supply of oxygen, brain cells can start to die within five minutes. This can cause long-term brain damage that can result in death or permanent impairment.
Several problems may interrupt the supply of oxygen to a baby’s brain prior to or during delivery. When the baby is in the uterus, the placenta serves the function that the baby’s lungs will serve after birth. Oxygen from the mother’s blood flows across the placenta and into the umbilical cord. The oxygen reaches the baby through the umbilical cord, and carbon dioxide and other waste products are removed through a different artery.
Before delivery, a baby may be deprived of oxygen to the brain as a result of complications such as:
- Placental abruption
- Severe preeclampsia
- Intrauterine growth restriction
- A mother’s hypertension (high blood pressure) or hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Maternal infection
During the labor and delivery process, a baby may be deprived of oxygen as a result of:
- A drop in maternal blood pressure due to an epidural
- Inappropriate or excessive use of Pitocin, a labor-inducing drug that may prevent the placenta from delivering sufficient oxygen by causing excessive contractions
- A compressed umbilical cord
- A tear or rupture in the uterus, which is most common in a vaginal birth after the mother has already had a Caesarean section in a prior delivery
- A breech birth
- A mother’s fever
- Prolonged labor
Brain trauma can occur in the labor process, especially in a prolonged labor. Trauma can also result from an outside force that the brain experiences when the doctor is attempting to deliver the child. For example, the excessive use of forceps and vacuum extractors can cause external trauma to the brain.
When the brain sustains trauma during labor and delivery, damage can occur as a result of:
- Cerebral contusions
- Brain bleeding
- Tearing of blood vessels
- Damage to brain tissue
- Skull fractures
- Compression of the brain causing changes in blood flow
A child may also suffer a stroke as a result of excessive force used during labor and delivery.
Drop in Glucose Levels
A drop in glucose levels is not uncommon during a prolonged or difficult labor. Unless the baby’s glucose levels are corrected as soon as possible after birth, a permanent brain injury may result.
Types of Brain Injuries During Birth
Some of the most common consequences of brain damage include:
- Cerebral palsy
- Delayed development
- Cognitive impairment
Brain damage generally cannot be reversed, and a child whose brain cells die as a result of problems during labor and delivery may be impaired for the rest of his or her life. The extent of the impairment and the specific symptoms that a child may suffer will depend upon the severity of the brain damage. In some cases, victims may never be able to live on their own or function without adaptive medical devices.
Holding Doctors and Medical Providers Accountable
Doctors, hospitals and other health care providers are supposed to provide a safe environment for a mother and baby during labor and delivery. While some tragedies happen no matter how careful medical professionals are, some birth injuries result from medical negligence or medical malpractice.
If you can prove the doctor, hospital or other care provider was negligent during labor and delivery, and that negligence led to your child’s brain injury, you may be able to recover compensation.
An experienced birth injury lawyer at Joye Law Firm can help you protect your child’s rights after a birth injury involving brain damage. Call Joye Law Firm. We are ready to provide a free and confidential initial consultation about the legal options available to you. Call (888) 324-3100 or use our online case evaluation form today.