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Chicago Infant Brain Damage Attorneys

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits for Infant Brain Damage

Infant Brain DamageA constant concern for expectant mothers and fathers is fear that their newborn will suffer from a birth defect. Although a myriad of prenatal diagnostic tests exist today - including amniocentesis, embryoscopy, fetoscopy and maternal serum screening - no combination of medical diagnostic tests exists that can rule out every possible injury, disease, or condition. But there have been definite circumstances when certain tests should have been performed by an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) and were not. Other times, a baby's doctor may have misread or failed to properly diagnose a prenatal condition which could have been treated, but was not.

In the case of infant brain damage, another frightening possibility is that the injury was not even present during pregnancy to detect: In other words, there are occasions when the birth injury is a result of the delivery itself. The medical care provided by the doctor, nurse, or hospital may have been below the appropriate standard of care. The negligent uses of forceps, or a failure to perform a timely C-section, are just a few such examples. In these circumstances, medical malpractice may have occurred as well.

Hypoxic and Anoxic Infant Brain Injury Lawsuits

Medical malpractice can occur when, due to the doctor’s actions (or inaction), oxygen supply to the baby stops, even for a short time. In order to function and survive, the brain requires a constant supply of oxygen. When this supply of oxygen is interrupted, irreversible damage will quickly follow, especially in infants. When there is a complete interruption of oxygen being supplied to the brain, this is called cerebral anoxia. If the supply is not completely cut off, but is insufficient to maintain brain functions at a normal level, this is called cerebral hypoxia. Symptoms of hypoxia and anoxia include:

  • Short-term loss of memory
  • Lack of coordination
  • Impulsiveness
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty processing information
  • Weakness in all limbs
  • Confusion

Cerebral Palsy Lawsuits Due to Birth Injury

Cerebral palsy is a disorder that affects motor coordination and the brain. There are three types of cerebral palsy:

  • Athetoid cerebral palsy: Involuntary and uncontrolled movements;
  • Spastic cerebral palsy: Stiffness and problems with limb movement;
  • Ataxic cerebral palsy: Affected balance, walking, and depth perception.

There is no consensus on what causes cerebral palsy among doctors and surgeons. Although some believe that an infection from the mother is the cause, others link brain injuries sustained during delivery or after birth to the condition. Some of the symptoms of cerebral palsy include:

  • Poor reflexes
  • Impaired speech
  • Seizures
  • Poor muscle control
  • Difficulty with eating and swallowing
  • Learning disabilities
  • Poor posture
  • Difficulty with balance

Cerebral palsy may be the result of a birth injury that disrupts brain development. A free examination of medical records can be undertaken to determine whether this appears to be the case. In such a circumstance, a medical malpractice lawsuit can be filed to help the child and family recover financial compensation to help deal with the extraordinary expenses that always seem to accompany such a medical condition.

Immediate Symptoms of Infant Brain Damage

After delivery, the OB/GYN or midwife will perform a series of tests and examine the baby to determine if any birth injuries are present. An Apgar score will be determined, and the doctor or midwife will examine the infant for color, activity, behavior and posture. In addition, measurements will be taken of the baby, including the circumference of the head.

At this point, the medical staff may have an indication that brain damage is present. But sometimes, symptoms of brain injury may not arise until days, months, or even years after delivery. Some immediate symptoms that may indicate the existence of infant brain injury include:

  • Unusually large forehead
  • Abnormally small forehead
  • Excessive crying
  • Stiffness of neck
  • Extreme fussiness without apparent cause
  • Difficulties when feeding
  • Seizures
  • Abnormally shaped spine
  • Difficulties when sleeping
  • Difficulties focusing eyes
  • Distorted facial features

If a baby exhibits some of these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that infant brain damage is present. These warning signs should be interpreted by a medical specialist to make a clear determination.

Developmental Symptoms of Infant Brain Damage

The symptoms indicated above are often apparent right after birth and the physician may make a preliminary diagnosis based upon his or her findings. In other cases, the baby's failure to meet certain developmental milestones may lead to a diagnosis that infant brain damage may have occurred. Some of these milestones include:

  • Crawling
  • First words
  • Remembering names of objects
  • Walking
  • Forming sentences
  • Running
  • Remembering places and names
  • Getting dressed
  • Tying shoelaces
  • Feeding himself/herself
  • Firmly grasping objects
  • Pulling himself/herself up
  • Smiling
  • Drinking from a cup

Of course, history is full of children who were late to develop and grew up to be brilliant and talented adults. So again, these warnings signs are only a guide, as a medical specialist should be consulted to make any diagnosis regarding infant brain damage.

Discuss a Possible Claim with a Chicago Birth Injury Attorney

If your child has developmental delays, mental retardation, or birth injuries including cerebral palsy, and you would like to learn if your doctor or hospital caused or contributed to this condition, contact us today. Our medical malpractice attorneys can examine your medical records free of charge to determine if medical malpractice might have occurred. Millions have been collected for our clients and their families to help ease their financial burden. You can call Chicago birth injury lawyers at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC at (800) 996-4824 any. Call now.

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