Infant Brain Damage
Even with state-of-the-art medical care, complications at birth are not uncommon. Deliveries don’t always go as they are intended, and in attempting to manage them, even the most proficient doctors and midwives commit errors that can affect a baby for the rest of his or her life.
The brain is the most complicated organ in the human body. It’s delicate, and it’s easily injured. Since a baby’s brain continues to develop, it’s extremely sensitive to injury during pregnancy or at the time of birth. These injuries often carry permanent consequences, and they can result in profound disabilities. Here are some of the conditions that might cause a baby’s brain to become damaged if not handled properly:
- Forceps Delivery: Forceps look like a pair of tongs that you might use when frying chicken. They’re placed on each side of a baby’s head during a vaginal delivery to help pull the baby out. Improper placement or the use of excessive force can damage the baby’s skull and spinal cord. They can also cause brain bleeding and related complications.
- Vacuum Extraction: The extractor is a small suction cup that is placed on the baby’s head to help in guiding the baby out of the birth canal. Pressure from the cup can cause a blood vessel to bleed between the skin and the skull. That bleeding can cause oxygen deprivation. Other types of bleeding can also be caused by vacuum extraction.
- Infections: Because the mother and the baby share the same blood, an infection can result in injury to the baby’s brain and increase the risk of the brain bleeding. Dangerous infections include strep, staph and E coli. The baby’s brain and central nervous system can be infected with these.
- Umbilical Cord Issues: The cord might become wrapped around the baby’s neck, become knotted, or it might be even too short. Any one of these conditions can cause a brain injury by diminishing or completely cutting off the blood supply to the baby’s brain.
- Placental Abruption: If the placenta tears away from the womb, placental abruption occurs. Blood from the placenta travels to umbilical cord. From the umbilical cord, it travels to the baby’s circulatory system. A partial placental abruption can limit the amount of blood that the baby is receiving. A complete abruption might result in the baby not receiving any blood from the mother.
- Ruptured Uterus: If there is a complete tear through the layers of the womb, severe bleeding can result. The blood flow to the baby is likely to be diminished. If the tear is large enough, the baby might even migrate into the mother’s abdomen.
- Premature Birth: This occurs when a mother’s “water breaks” before she goes into labor. The risk of the baby being deprived of blood and oxygen increases dramatically. The risk of infection and resulting brain damage also rise accordingly.
- Placenta Previa: The placenta can grow too close to or even block the opening to the mother’s birth canal. Both mother and baby are at high risk for severe bleeding with a vaginal delivery. A C-section delivery will be required.
- Abnormal Positioning: If a baby isn’t positioned normally at the time of delivery, it’s at a higher risk for head trauma, bleeding and umbilical cord issues.
The above list is hardly exhaustive, but we want to be of help to you in understanding what some common causes of a child’s birth injury might be.
Louisville Infant Injury Lawyer
If a child does suffer a birth injury that was perfectly preventable, his or her family shouldn’t become financially distressed. If you believe that your child’s birth injury was related to a negligent act or failure to act by a doctor, midwife or hospital in or around Louisville, you can either phone us or use our easy contact form to arrange for a free consultation. We are a compassionate, family oriented law firm with highly skilled attorneys who work with birth injuries everywhere in Kentucky.