Compassionate Alabama Birth Injury Attorneys
Holding negligent doctors accountable for birth and brain injuries
It is every parent’s worst nightmare to find out that your newborn may have experienced a birth injury. A birth injury is physical trauma caused to a baby before, during, or shortly after labor and delivery. Birth injuries can cause conditions like brain damage, perinatal asphyxia, brachial plexus injuries, and broken bones. Sometimes these injuries are preventable, and a doctor’s failure to provide proper maternal care can lead to permanent disability and lifelong complications.
At Mezrano Law Firm, our Alabama medical malpractice attorneys have decades of combined experience helping families affected by birth injuries. We hold negligent doctors and obstetricians responsible when they are careless with your and your baby’s health, and your child is injured as a result. Contact our firm today about your case.
What is neonatal brain injury?
Infants who suffer physical trauma or injury in the womb or during childbirth can experience a lifetime of disability or side effects. Brain injury in particular is a common birth injury, caused by a lack of oxygen to the baby, which in turn causes damage to brain cells. Depending on the duration of oxygen loss, a child’s brain injury can be mild or severe, with some injuries requiring daily medical assistance. As a parent of a newborn with brain injury, you may be wondering what to do next.
The medical term for a brain injury in a newborn is called neonatal encephalopathy (NE), and “the most frequent cause of NE is lack of oxygen to the baby at some point during pregnancy or birth.” An infant with a brain injury has the best chance for the most successful outcome when NE is diagnosed and treated as early as possible. The failure to diagnose a neonatal brain injury can result in birth injuries, brain damage, and associated neurological disorders.
What causes newborn brain injury?
The causes of neonatal and newborn brain injuries can vary greatly. However, it is most commonly caused by direct trauma to a baby’s skull or by a lack of oxygen flow to the baby’s brain during or near the time of birth. A lack of oxygen flow is also called “asphyxia.” Following are some of the most common complications and injuries that lead to neonatal brain injuries:
- Anesthesia mistakes
- Fetal stroke
- Forceps and vacuum extractor injuries
- Oligohydramnios (low levels of amniotic fluid)
- Placenta previa (when the placenta blocks the cervix)
- Placental abruption
- Preeclampsia or eclampsia
- Premature amniotic sac rupture
- Premature birth
- Prolonged labor
- Umbilical cord compression
- Uterine rupture
If any of these conditions are misdiagnosed, undiagnosed, or mismanaged, both mother and baby can suffer serious injury. The birth injury attorneys at Mezrano Law Firm can explain more.
What are the signs and symptoms of neonatal brain injury?
If your child is displaying symptoms of brain or spinal cord dysfunction, it is possible they may have experienced a brain injury. Your doctor or pediatrician can perform non-invasive imaging tests to rule out or confirm a diagnosis. Common signs and symptoms of NE include:
- Feeding difficulties
- Low APGAR scores for more than five minutes
- Respiratory issues
- Weakened reflexes
Often, these symptoms are immediately noticeable after giving birth. However, in other cases, these symptoms may show up weeks or months later, in the form of cognitive or developmental delays. If you notice that your infant is missing certain milestones, like sitting up, crawling, or feeding themselves, you may want to consult with your pediatrician for guidance.
How do you diagnose a brain injury in an infant?
It is crucial your medical professional diagnoses your baby with NE within the first few hours of their life. With oxygen deprivation, every minute counts, and this time is essential for the lifesaving treatment an infant needs to prevent permanent brain damage.
After an infant is stable, doctors can use imaging tests like MRIs to determine the severity of any brain injuries, typically within 24 hours of birth. Then, tests should be performed every few days to continue assessing the injury as the baby’s brain evolves.
Infant brain injuries, cerebral palsy and oxygen deprivation
According to the Merck Manual, head injuries are the most common birth-related injuries, including perinatal asphyxia, which is a “decrease in blood flow to the baby’s tissues or a decrease in oxygen in the baby’s blood before, during, or just after delivery.” This can also lead to brain damage.
Another name for perinatal asphyxia is hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). HIE is also one of the leading causes for cerebral palsy (CP), a type of musculoskeletal disorder. Cerebral palsy is characterized by motor function impairment and reduced strength, flexibility, and coordination. Some children may also have developmental disabilities. CP affects one to two out of every 1,000 infants, but 15 out of every 100. Infants with severe jaundice are also at risk of developing CP.
The Alabama attorneys at Mezrano Law Firm will investigate how and why your child was deprived of oxygen, and hold the right people accountable for your baby’s injuries.
Who is responsible for my child’s birth injury?
When your physician, obstetrician, midwife, or any health care professional fails to avoid a preventable birth complication, you may be able to hold them liable for your or your baby’s injuries. In medical malpractices cases, the key to a successful outcome is showing that a physician failed to act in the manner that a reasonable physician with the same background and education would have acted in the same circumstances.
When we take your case, we fight for the following compensation on behalf of your child:
- Medical expenses, current and future, including surgeries and physical therapy
- Disability accommodations, current and future, including vehicle and home modifications
- Special education needs, for private or special schooling costs for children with disabilities
- Pain and suffering, for the physical and emotional pain associated with an injury
A birth injury can completely change the trajectory of your and your child’s life. If your doctor or medical professional failed you, there is help.
Birth injury attorneys serving Alabama
The medical malpractice lawyers at the Mezrano Law Firm are dedicated to protecting the rights of parents and children injured before and during childbirth. If your child has been diagnosed with a brain injury due to a negligent doctor, our attorneys want to help. Call us at 205-206-6300 or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Mobile, Montgomery, Florence, and Gadsden.