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Brain Injuries to Children
A birth injury is defined as the structural destruction or functional deterioration of an infant’s body due to a traumatic event at birth. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Some of these injuries are avoidable when appropriate care is available, and others are part of the delivery process that can occur even when clinicians practice extreme caution.” And most of the time, birth injuries are typically indicative of a medical mistake that was likely the cause of a traumatic experience to the fetus or newborn. Here is a deeper look and explanation of the top ten most common birth injuries in the U.S.

  1. Cerebral Palsy: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows the average prevalence of cerebral palsy is 3.3 children per 1,000 live births. It is the most common motor and movement disability of childhood and could cause serious, long-term injuries.
  2. Facial Paralysis: Facial nerve palsy is the loss of voluntary muscle control of the face. While it can be serious, the condition often goes away over time. The injury is caused by the pressure put on the baby’s seventh cranial nerve during birth.

congenital syphilis and birth injuries

What is Congenital Syphilis?

Syphilis is a chronic bacterial infection spread through sexual contact and sexual intercourse, making it a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Congenital syphilis (CS) is a disease that occurs when a mother with syphilis passes the infection on to her baby during pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CS can affect a child’s health, depending on when a mother was adequately diagnosed and received treatment for the infection. Without a diagnosis or the proper treatment, a baby can be lost through miscarriage or stillbirth, but also be born premature, with a low birth rate and have a small chance for survival after birth due to infection.

The CDC says for babies born with CS, many will have health conditions and severe serious health problems such as:

lawsuits involving obstetricians

Obstetric violence has become yet another vexing problem added to the traumatic experiences that too many pregnant women in America face during both the prenatal and postnatal phases. Much of the maternal distress reported is centered on the prevention of delivery complications and disrespect for decisions through childbirth, but violence and harassment to pregnant moms can also occur.

Examples of obstetric violence can include:

  • the denial of treatment or continuum of care

New Hope for Brain Damage Recovery After Oxygen Deprivation at Birth
Around 450,000 babies are born preterm in the U.S. every year, according to the Children’s National Research Institute. Premature babies are often deprived of oxygen caused by immature lungs or irreversible birth injuries. Inadequate oxygen levels can decrease a newborn’s blood pressure, heart rate, and limiting the blood flow to vital organs and tissue. When this happens, irreversible neurological or cellular damage can occur and lead to permanent deficits and disabilities such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and vision and hearing loss.

Premature babies and those with brain injuries caused by birth have typically been treated with minimal handling, avoidance from stressful stimuli, including receiving care and treatments in new, quiet private family rooms. A new study led by researchers at Children’s National Hospital, published online on February 19, 2020, in “Nature Communications,” could lead to new treatments for children affected by brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation at birth. The recent study suggests that when oxygen-deprived infants are faced with opportunities for optimal brain development through an “enriched” environment, it may result in a more positive growth and healing of the brain.

What Makes for an “Enriched” Environment?

mom's rights and birth injury prevention

New Illinois Law Says Every Woman Has Safe Pregnancy and Childbirth Rights

New data published on January 30, 2020, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Vital Statistics System, shows that the U.S. maternal mortality rate was 17.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 live birth in 2018. And an average of 19 women will die within 12 months of pregnancy in the Chicago-area, according to a 2019 report by the Chicago Department of Public Health.

On January 1, 2020, an Illinois law took effect which amends the Medical Patient Rights Act to delineate 21 rights of women during pregnancy and childbirth through Pregnancy and Childbirth Rights (HB 2).

Fort Campbell Hospital Birth Injury Ends With $15.1M Settlement birth injury at military base

On January 10, 2005, Kelly D. Wilson gave birth to her son at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Fast forward to January 31, 2020, and the federal government agrees to award the Wilson and her family $15.1 million in damages to settle a lawsuit over the events that happened that day, fifteen years ago.

According to the lawsuit, when the Army veteran gave birth to her son in 2005, he “suffered a hypoxic-ischemic brain injury prior to delivery, resulting in cerebral palsy and lifelong neurological deficits.” And as a result of the brain injury, is now “wheelchair-bound, non-verbal and has involuntary movements and a seizure disorder.”

wrongful death c-section

Mom Dies After Routine Caesarean Section, and Dad Sues Cedars-Sinai

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles is facing national backlash after a woman internally bled to death after giving birth to her baby boy. The woman’s husband is now suing the hospital and pushing for policy changes and raising awareness of the U.S. maternal mortality crisis and birth-related injuries to mom and baby. The U.S. has remained the only developed country with a rising death rate for pregnant or new mothers for more than a decade.

The woman’s husband, Charles Johnson, says doctors told them the birth would be a routine Caesarean section, but soon after, he started noticing worrisome issues. According to a February 18, 2020 news interview between Johnson and CNN:

Cerebral Palsy Remains a Leading Cause of Childhood Disabilities

types of c-palsy

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows the average prevalence of cerebral palsy is 3.3 children per 1,000 live births and is the most common motor and movement disability of childhood. It is defined by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) as a medical condition caused by brain damage. Cerebral palsy can cause a range of disabilities, from mild to severe, and will require a proper diagnosis so that the correct treatments and therapies are provided.

Some of the potential issues a child with cerebral palsy may face include:

baby born feet first

Understanding Infant Injuries Related to Dangerous Breech Deliveries

A breech birth occurs when an infant enters the birth canal in a manner other than head first, causing the baby’s buttocks or feet to be positioned to be delivered first. The majority of infants born breach are healthy, without a mother or her child suffering a birth injury. The American Pregnancy Association discusses these three types of breech positions as:

  1. Footling Breech: This occurs when one or both of the child’s feet enter the birth canal and are positioned to be delivered first.

When Mothers Are Mistreated Because of Race, Babies Are at Risk of Preterm Birth and Harmful Injuries

ethnic mothers struggle against hospital system
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 700 women die from pregnancy-related complications every year. Furthermore, the same research shows when a mother is at harm during the pre and post-natal stages, the fetus or newborn is as well. Just as troublesome, however, is that pregnancy and childbirth are much more dangerous for women and babies who are not white – and not always because of the mother’s socioeconomic status.

Researchers at the Blavatnik Family Women’s Health Research Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York have found that, “Data does not suggest that any differences in treatment patterns were reflected in worse outcomes for Medicaid-covered and commercially insured mothers within the same hospital. These results indicate that pathways other than insurance are responsible for the higher risks of severe maternal morbidity among black and Latina compared with white women that were observed in our study.”

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