Injuries to the newborn brain are traumatic as well as devastating to the baby and parents. Injuries to the newborn brain can be a result of:
- Low birth weight (which often is related to prematurity)
- Oxygen deprivation
The last of these, oxygen deprivation, has often been blamed for the biggest cause of newborn brain injury, but that is only part of the problem. It remains, however, a serious situation, and is one that at times may lend itself to intervention by the delivery team.
Lack of oxygen delivered to the newborn brain has two primary causes:
- Too little oxygen in the blood
- Too little blood being delivered to the brain
When these conditions occur, the result is hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, or brain damage caused by too little oxygen reaching the brain. In the United States and most other advanced nations, the incidence of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is between one and eight cases for every 1,000 babies born.
In less developed countries the numbers are far worse, although exact statics are unavailable. Worldwide however, birth asphyxia, or too little oxygen delivered to the newborn, accounts for 23 percent of all newborn deaths.
Some Causes of Newborn Brain Injury
Maternal issues before conception can lead to brain injury. These include:
- Fertility treatments
- Not having children previously
- Advanced age
Issues preceding delivery that can result in injury include:
- Severe preeclampsia (maternal high blood pressure and significant amounts of protein in the urine)
- Placental abruption (separation of the placenta from the uterine wall before delivery of the baby)
- Multiple births
- IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction — a fetus too small for its age)
Issues during delivery can include:
- Breech or other problem presentation of newborn
- Problems with the umbilical cord
- Misuse of instruments
- Emergency cesarean section
- Induced labor
- Fever in the mother
If not too severe, some of the problems preceding and during delivery can be addressed by the obstetrician, the delivery team, or the neonatologist (doctor specializing in newborns). Many of the problems may be difficult or impossible to resolve, but depending upon the particular problems and the skill of the delivery and neonatal teams, they might be mitigated or solved.
Contact a Birth Injury Lawyer
If you believe your infant's brain problems and resulting injuries could have been resolved by a competent team of doctors and nurses, you should consider bringing a lawsuit against the responsible parties. To speak with a birth injury lawyer about your case, contact us today.