Understanding How Brain Injuries Can Affect Your Newborn

July 17, 2015 | Crandall & Pera Law
Understanding How Brain Injuries Can Affect Your Newborn

Birth injuries can be the result of many different complications during the process of prenatal care, labor and delivery, and in post-partum care for your newborn. Oxygen deprivation to the infant’s brain can cause the most severe birth injuries. When the doctor fails to monitor the baby, perform a Cesarean section in time or commits any other preventable error, this can contribute to severe brain injuries in the infant.

Birth injuries by the numbers

In the U.S. approximately six to eight of every 1,000 infants are born with a birth injury, which means that 28,000 infants are born each year with a birth injury according to HCUP data. The National Healthcare Quality Report lists the ten most common birth injuries in the U.S. as:

  • Brachial plexus palsy

  • Bone fractures

  • Cephalo-hematoma

  • Perinatal asphyxia

  • Intracranial hemorrage

  • Subconjuctival hemorrhage

  • Facial paralysis

  • Spinal cord injuries

  • Cerebral palsy

As many as half of the birth injuries that occur in the U.S. are due to preventable medical errors.

Hypoxic brain injuries

Anoxia occurs when decreased oxygen gets to the brain; hypoxia occurs when anoxia goes on too long which then leads to irreversible brain cell death, also known as ischemia. Usually, these conditions are the result of decreased blood flow. Some of the more common causes of hypoxia include:

  • Placental insufficiency

  • Placental abruption

  • Umbilical cord injuries or prolapse

  • Congenital heart defect

  • Too much medication used to cause contractions during labor

  • Infections

  • Shoulder dystocia

A hypoxic-ischemic injury can cause permanent damage leading to cerebral palsy and can even result in death. It is a rare birth injury that occurs in approximately three of 1,000 births.

Of the infants born with hypoxic-ischemic injuries, between 15 and 20% of them will die closely following their birth. Those who survive face a life of neurological problems such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, learning disabilities and mental retardation.

Discovering that your much anticipated new baby has been born with a life-altering birth injury can be devastating and heart breaking. If they live, these injuries will have a lasting impact on your child’s life and their future. If your baby suffered a brain injury at birth, at Crandall & Pera Law we want to help you get justice. Please contact Crandall & Pera Law to make an appointment at our Ohio or Kentucky offices.