Brain Damage/Head Trauma

Brain damage is a serious condition that affects thousands of newborns in the United States every year. Unfortunately, experiencing head trauma at birth can lead to disastrous long-term physical and neurological side effects.

What Causes Brain Damage/Head Trauma?

Errors in medical intervention during delivery can result in head trauma. Physical trauma during vaginal deliveries is the primary cause of infant brain injuries. Vacuum-assisted deliveries and the use of forceps is strongly linked to higher risk of brain damage.
Naturally, the introduction of tools offers physicians chances to misuse them that can result in brain damage, as per a 2013 study in BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth.
Most brain injuries are the result of hypoxia – a decrease in oxygen. Ischemia, a decrease in blood flow to the brain, is also responsible for many brain injuries in babies.

What Are the Symptoms of Brain Damage?

While it may take some time to detect brain damage in infants, certain symptoms are sometimes noticeable in the first months after birth. Head trauma can lead to many conditions such as:
  • Caput succedaneum: Swelling and bruising of a baby’s scalp that disappears within a few days. Often, it is caused by vacuum extractions.
  • Cephalohematoma: Bleeding under the cranial bone that leads to lumps on the baby’s head. Typically, symptoms will disappear within a couple of months. However, if the bleeding is spread over a large area, the baby might develop jaundice.
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage: Bleeding that occurs between the arachnoid membrane and the pia mater. This is a life-threatening condition that can lead to death or other severe conditions, such as seizures, apnea, and lethargy.
  • Subdural hemorrhage: The rupturing of one or more blood vessels in the subdural area. The infant will have swollen fontanels, seizures, a large head circumference, vomiting, and prickliness.
Newborns that experience brain damage during birth tend to act very fussy. Excessive high-pitch cries coupled with low appetite are common symptoms.
Moreover, an abnormal physical appearance, such as a small skull, deformed face, and large forehead may indicate the presence of brain injuries.
Also, delays in the child’s development will surface following trauma to the brain. Generally, the affected baby will not crawl, smile, or be able to focus his or her eyes. Children who suffer brain injuries at birth will not be attaining the respective developmental milestones for their age.
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How Is Brain Damage/Head Trauma Treated?

Treatment options depend on the severity of the brain trauma. For example, some children may benefit from physical therapy, occupational therapy, or medications. Others will need to undergo surgeries to lower the swelling and intracranial pressure, as well as repair damaged vessels.

What Are the Long-term Effects of Brain Damage/Head Trauma?

The long-term effects of head trauma depend on the area of the brain that was affected and how severe the trauma was. If the trauma caused a subdural hematoma, the chance of survival is low and immediate treatment is required.
However, if the trauma is relatively less severe, psychological, physical and cognitive problems can develop with age. These conditions include autism, attention deficit disorder, emotional outbursts, and physical disabilities. The more severe the brain injury is, the worse the symptoms will be.

Is Brain Damage/Head Trauma Caused by Medical Malpractice?

Physical trauma is the leading cause of brain injuries in babies. It is the responsibility of the doctor to be aware of the dangers surrounding birth and to act quickly and carefully to avoid any misuse or unnecessary use of risky tools during childbirth.
There are 28,000 birth injuries in the United States annually. A 2006 study by researchers at HCUP, estimates more than 157,000 birth injuries were the result of medical malpractice and could have been avoided.
A very crucial part of doctors’ jobs is to anticipate and correct for birth complications. It is the responsibility of the doctor to eradicate any foreseen risk, especially if the baby is large, has a head that is larger than the mother’s pelvis, or if labor is prolonged and a vaginal delivery would need to be replaced by an emergency C-section.
Also, having a very hasty delivery can pose significant risks to the infant, as well as if the doctor uses excessive twisting and pulling during a rough delivery.

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If your child has been diagnosed with brain damage or head trauma, contact our registered nurses and legal team for a free, no-risk consultation. We have won millions to help people like you with the financial burden incurred by medical malpractice.

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