Causes of Infant Brain Damage

Causes of Infant Brain DamageWhen your child is diagnosed with a brain injury, you have many painful questions. Why did this happen? Is there anything I could have done? Who can I turn to for help?

No law firm in Virginia or beyond better understands the suffering you and your family are facing than the Brain Injury Law Center. For decades, our attorneys have been there for families like yours.

This isn’t your fault. While we can never take back what happened, we can help you better understand infant brain injuries by educating you about brain damage and its causes.

Our attorneys can also seek justice for your family to get you the compensation you need to give your child proper care. We can help your family live the most normal life possible.

One Common Cause: A Lack of Oxygen

All it takes is a few seconds without oxygen to your infant’s brain to change your child’s life forever. Lack of oxygen is one of the leading infant brain injury causes. It has been estimated that as many as 1 out of 100 newborns will suffer a lack of oxygen. Oxygen deprivation can lead to cerebral palsy.

Newborns can suffer oxygen loss from:

  1. Issues With the Birth Canal

If your delivery is particular difficult, your baby may get lodged in the birth canal. In these cases, doctors must act rapidly. Additionally, a child who becomes stuck in the birth canal is also at risk for birth injuries to his or her limbs, leading to conditions such as Erb’s palsy.

  1. Problems With the Umbilical Cord

When an umbilical cord is twisted or knotted, it can quickly cut off oxygen to and infant’s brain. Doctors also sometimes cut umbilical cords too early, before a baby can breathe safely on his or her own. In some cases, an umbilical cord can become wrapped around a child’s neck. This can lead to a brain injury, as doctors will have just seconds to unwrap the cord.

  1. Blocked Airways

If mucous builds up heavily, it can choke a baby’s airways. Like the other scenarios we’ve addressed, brain damage can be prevented if the doctor acts fast and responsibly to make sure the baby has oxygen.

  1. Placental Eruptions

When the placenta and uterus separate quickly, the infant’s brain can be deprived of oxygen.

Infant Jaundice

Jaundice can affect more than the color of the skin. Jaundice occurs when the skin and whites of your eyes turn yellow from a buildup of bilirubin, a brownish yellow substance found in bile. But infant jaundice is far from a minor condition. Left untreated in babies, jaundice can develop into devastating brain damage.

Kernicterus can be a cause of infant brain damage in severe cases. Bilirubin is normally filtered by the liver. In newborns, however, livers take a few days to start working properly, so it’s not uncommon to see jaundice develop. But when levels of bilirubin are very high, the bilirubin moves from the bloodstream into brain tissue. This is extremely serious, and it can cause brain damage.

There are three stages of kernicterus. In the first stage, infants will appear lethargic and have trouble swallowing and sucking. As the condition progresses, babies begin to have seizures, start screaming in high-pitched wails and develop a protruding fontanel, or “soft spot” on their skulls. In the final stage of kernicterus, babies will suffer hearing loss, rigidity in muscles and loss of intellectual skills. In its most extreme forms, kernicterus can cause death.

If diagnosed properly and early enough, kernicterus is treatable through light therapy and transfusions.

Infections During Pregnancy

When a mother is pregnant, an infection can damage a fetus’ fragile, developing nervous system. Rubella is one of the more common birth infections. Other infections that have been found to be brain injury causes include:

Infections During Pregnancy Lead to Brain Injury

  • Herpes
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Syphilis
  • Varicella
  • Vaginal yeast infections
  • Cystitis
  • Diarrhea
  • Venereal warts

Most infections that can cause brain damage occur during pregnancy or the delivery process. It is a doctor’s job to identify any infections as soon as the symptoms appear and provide you treatment that will save your child from a devastating brain injury. Just because the infection started in the mother’s body does not mean she’s to blame.

Physical Trauma During Labor and Delivery

Because your child’s body is so fragile and underdeveloped, even the slightest bump or twist in the wrong direction is enough to cause serious harm.

If a doctor pulls too hard or in the wrong way, it can be enough to harm your child’s skull and brain. Using a tool, like forceps, incorrectly on the head can trigger severe damage. In long, hard births where pushing and contractions go on for hours, a baby’s head can knock or push against the pelvis. A responsible doctor who is aware of what causes infant brain damage will do his or her best to make sure your delivery is as safe as possible for you and your child, no matter how long or difficult it is.

Low Glucose Levels

In prolonged, difficult labors, an infant’s glucose level can drop. If it is not restored, brain damage can develop. It is the responsibility of your doctor to monitor your glucose levels throughout the birth process, especially in arduous and tiring deliveries.

So much of what causes infant brain injuries is easily preventable if doctors and nurses do their jobs properly. A dedicated attorney who knows all aspects of brain injury law can hold doctors accountable if their actions, or lack of action, harmed your baby.

Speak With an Attorney

If your child has suffered infant brain damage at the hands of a doctor in Virginia, call the Brain Injury Law Center today at (877) 537-43405 or contact us online. It is free to talk with us, and there is no obligation on your behalf. We just want to tell you what we can do to help. 

We sympathize deeply with the pain your family is going through. No one wants to hire an attorney, but doing so may be the best option to help your family move forward. From infants to the elderly, the Brain Injury Law Center knows how to build brain injury cases to help families. Let us help yours.

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