August 13, 2011

Cooling Caps May Help Brain Injuries at Birth

by Levin & Perconti

Unfortunately birth injuries are far more frequent than one might realize and often times occur because of negligence on the part of the doctor or the hospital and could be avoided if the proper care was taken. Our birth injury attorneys realize that many of the birth injuries that they see are a result not of the baby having complications during pregnancy but rather there being a problem during delivery. According to Todays THV, two out of every three babies that are born at full-term experience some degree of oxygen loss related to the umbilical cord cutting off their air supply or by another type of problem during the birthing process. If this happens and the problem that is causing the lack of oxygen is taken care of immediately, or if the doctor realizes that the baby in distress as they are delivering the baby and act accordingly, the doctor can hopefully fix the problem before any serious or permanent damage to the newborn baby occurs.

Birth injuries caused by a lack of oxygen to the baby during birth can end up causing serious damage if the baby is without oxygen for a long enough period of time. The lack of oxygen can cause severe brain damage and can seriously impair the baby’s developmental abilities and can even lead to death. Cerebral palsy is condition that babies sometimes develop at birth when they suffer from a lack of oxygen, and this condition often involves a great deal of developmental problems or delays that can last throughout the baby’s lifetime. However, while oxygen deprivation at birth may unfortunately be rather common, a serious injury can often be avoided if the birth doctor realizes the problem and acts immediately to restore oxygen to the baby.

One interesting way in which a birth injury due to a lack of oxygen can be helped is through the use of a “cooling cap” which can be used for babies that suffer from a temporary deprivation of oxygen to the entire brain at birth (as opposed to a lack of oxygen to a portion of the brain). This method requires that either the baby’s entire body or head is kept cool for at least 72 hours and then the baby is taken off of the ventilator and re-warmed. This process may help with damage caused from the temporary lack of oxygen to the entire brain and has been found to work on a number of babies that have suffered from this type of birth injury.

While there are certain things that can be done to try to reduce or protect against severe brain injury after birth, all of the methods require that the doctor is immediately aware that there is a problem and act quickly to try to limit the damage to the baby. If during the birthing process or immediately after the birthing process you feel that the doctor that delivered your baby did not act using the utmost care or in some way acted negligently, please contact our Illinois personal injury attorneys to discuss what options may be available for you and your family.