Childbirth is a joyous occasion when new parents leave the hospital with a healthy baby. However, when parents must stay at their sick baby’s side in the hospital because of a birth injury, that often leaves the family devastated rather than overjoyed. Hospitals report more than 28,000 birth injuries each year, which include thousands of newborn brain injuries. Even worse than having a newborn with a birth injury is learning that the injury was preventable.
Types of Brain Injuries at Birth
Some brain injuries heal quickly and won’t cause long term consequences for a newborn, but others can potentially lead to lifelong struggles, including permanent cognitive and physical disability. Some of the more common brain injuries that might occur during birth include:
- Oxygen deprivation. When a fetus doesn’t get enough oxygen during birth, brain damage is likely. Between 85 and 90 percent of newborns who are diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP) have congenital CP, which is related to brain damage suffered before or during birth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), causes of congenital CP vary widely, and some causes can be attributed to medical malpractice. When a doctor cuts the umbilical cord too soon or doesn’t properly and swiftly
handle birth complications, it can deprive a fetus of oxygen and result in
congenital CP. Oxygen deprivation can also cause autism, ADHD, and
- Jaundice. Newborns with jaundice, which involves an excessive amount of
bilirubin in blood cells, is not an uncommon occurrence. When treated
quickly, the yellowish color fades and the newborn is fine. However, if left
untreated, bilirubin levels increase in the blood and cause kernicterus, also called bilirubin encephalopathy, which involves brain damage that causes lethargy, screaming, fever, an abnormal arch in the back, and can even lead to death in extreme cases.
- Blunt force trauma. If an object comes in contact with a newborn’s head
during birth, it can cause a head trauma leading to a brain injury. These
types of injuries are often accredited to actions that may constitute medical malpractice, such as misusing forceps and vacuums. Doctors may also pull and twist a fetus too much during delivery, hitting its head against the mother’s pelvic bone and causing injury.
Contact a Skilled Birth Injury Lawyer in Tampa Today
Fortunately, most birth injuries are mild and will heal with time, but that doesn’t mean your family hasn’t suffered damage because of the injury. If your newborn sustained more serious birth injuries, you and your child may face years of medical treatment and permanent disabilities.
If your newborn sustained a brain injury during birth, Florida law entitles you to seek damages in civil court. Medical malpractice suits are complex and sophisticated personal injury cases that have special procedural requirements under Florida law. Concentrate on helping your baby heal and let an experienced attorney who has dealt with birth injuries handle your case. If you live in the Tampa area, call the Florida Law Group at (813) 463-8880, or contact us online, to schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys.