In some cases, child brain damage is preventable. When children suffer brain damage in utero or during or after labor and delivery, the damage might be due to medical negligence. The prognosis for children with brain damage depends on multiple factors, including the severity and location of the damage, when it is diagnosed, the treatment that is provided, and more. Fortunately, most infants who suffer brain damage during the birth process have mild damage with a good prognosis. Infants that suffer moderate or severe brain damage might have a poor prognosis. They might live with complications for the rest of their lives. In some cases, severe brain damage in utero or during or after birth can be fatal. The birth injury lawyers at Raynes & Lawn help people whose children suffered brain damage caused by medical malpractice to pursue compensation for their losses.
What Causes Brain Damage in Infants?
The cause of infant brain damage in many cases is oxygen deprivation to the brain during or shortly after birth. Brain oxygen deprivation can result from delivery complications, the mother’s infection or illness, the baby’s untreated conditions following birth, or the use of instruments during the delivery process. When a doctor or other health care provider who is responsible for caring for the infant makes a mistake that results in brain damage, he or she is medically negligent.
Some examples of malpractice that could result in brain damage include the following:
- Failing to screen the mother for complications, illness, or infections
- Failing to perform a Cesarean section when necessary because of delivery complications
- Applying too much force with forceps
- Failing to properly screen and treat a newborn for medical conditions
Prognosis for Mild infant Brain Damage
Most infants who suffer brain damage in utero or during or after birth is that they will only have mild damage. For them, the prognosis will be mostly good. While infants’ brains are vulnerable, they also change. Mild brain damage can potentially heal and reverse as the child grows. How long it might take an infant to recover will depend on the individual. Some babies with mild brain damage might require therapy to help them recover.
Some infants with mild brain damage will face lasting problems. However, these issues might not be recognized until they grow older. The mild brain damage might contribute to behavioral challenges, cognitive impairments, mental health issues, and emotional problems as children grow older. Interventions and therapies might help treat those types of conditions that may or may not be related to mild brain damage during or after birth.
Prognosis for Moderate or Severe Infant Brain Damage
Babies who suffer moderate or severe brain damage will likely have lasting complications and symptoms. The prognosis will differ from child to child, but it can be expected to be worse than for children who suffer mild brain damage.
Brain damage that is very severe might be fatal. For example, infants that are deprived of oxygen for a long time during labor might die as a result. Infants who suffer moderate or severe brain damage due to traumatic physical injuries might require emergency surgery to drain fluid from the brain to relieve pressure and prevent worsened harm. For children who suffer severe traumatic brain injuries, the anoxic brain injury life expectancy is five years for 50% of all people who suffer them.
Some infants who suffer brain damage during the labor and delivery process will be diagnosed with cerebral palsy. This is an incurable, lifelong condition caused by damage to different areas of the brain. Children who suffer from cerebral palsy may have spastic muscle movements, clenched or under-toned muscles, trouble walking, moving, or talking, and potential cognitive or behavioral impairments. Children who are diagnosed with cerebral palsy will likely need some level of care indefinitely. However, the condition might range in severity level, depending on the area or areas of the brain that are damaged.
Some infants who suffer brain damage will develop a seizure disorder. This disorder causes children to have seizures, which can begin immediately following birth and last for different lengths of time. Seizure disorder might be treated with medications or surgery.
Developmental, Physical, and Cognitive Delays
Infants who suffer brain damage might also have complications that could be lifelong or improve over time with treatment. These types of complications include behavioral and cognitive delays, which can be treated with educational interventions and therapy. Some children will also have developmental delays or physical disabilities. These can be permanent but might be helped with physical therapy, psychological therapy, behavior therapy, and rehabilitation.
A relatively new treatment for brain damage during the labor and delivery process is hypothermic therapy. When doctors suspect infant brain damage immediately after birth, they can use hypothermic therapy to reverse or slow the damage. This process involves cooling the infant’s body temperature for three days, which appears to slow damage to the brain after an injury. Hypothermic therapy gives parents hope that their children will experience a full infant brain damage recovery. In some cases, hypothermic therapy can completely reverse damage to the brain, offering a positive prognosis to infants and parents.
Get Help from an Experienced Brain Injury Attorney
Brain damage in babies is devastating for parents and can result in lifelong disabilities for children. The knowledge that your baby might suffer symptoms and complications for the rest of his or her life is terrible. Providing the best care for children with brain damage requires ongoing treatment, care, and therapy.
If your child suffered brain damage because of medical malpractice, you might be entitled to pursue compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit. This type of claim might help you to recover monetary compensation to provide the types of care your child will need. Schedule a free consultation with the knowledgeable and compassionate birth injury lawyers at Raynes & Lawn by calling 1-800-535-1797.
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