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Infant Brain Injuries During Birth

As we discussed earlier this week the most common Illinois birth injuries are those that involve brain damage and those caused by the application of excessive force during delivery. In many ways brain injuries are perhaps the most severe type of birth injury, because they ultimately limit the mental development of a child indefinitely. Excessive force often causes nerve damage that may result in children not be able to use limbs properly or at all. However, brain injuries often deprive children of their ability to create memories, learn properly, communicate, and otherwise become fully integrated into society. Of course that is not to say that injuries like shoulder dytocia and brachial plexus injuries are not severe or necessary of full redress. They are always incredibly tragic and our Chicago birth injury lawyers have worked with many families whose children have developed these injuries because of the negligence of others. But at the end of the day there are certain physical injuries that are more easily compensated for than mental injuries.

However debating distinctions between brain injuries and other physical birth injuries is often academic, because in many cases children actually suffer both problems. For example, when the baby’s shoulder gets caught behind the mother’s pelvis (shoulder dystocia), if not attended to, the child can suffer oxygen deprivation to the brain. Missteps by the doctor often means that the child both suffers brain damage as well as experiences nerve damage which may results in Erb’s or Klempke’s Palsy. Erb’s and Klumpke Palsy are conditions related to the weakness or paralysis of the arm. When the brachial plexus nerve bundle is damaged then the child may lose feeling or movement in their arm. The nerve bundle is located near the neck and upper arm.

While these physical injuries are tough for families to deal with, the situation is made much worse when combined with a brain injury. Newborn brain injuries often result from too much shifting of the skull while in the birth canal. Excessive movement results in pressure being applied to the sensitive tissues of the child’s brain, causing trauma and potential lifelong injury.

In addition, perhaps the most common infant brain injuries are those caused by oxygen deprivation or disruption of the blood supply to the brain. Oxygen deprivation, known as asphyxia, can cause damage to certain parts of the brain-damage that can never be repaired. Sometime this deprivation is caused by a genetic condition that cannot be guarded against.

However, in many case oxygen deprivation can be traced back to medical malpractice. Sometimes it is caused by the inadequate monitoring of the child’s vital signs. When that occurs doctors often fail to act quickly enough to relieve stress to the child. Their delay in acting fast results in permanent brain damage that otherwise might have been prevented had the medical professionals responded quickly. At other times the doctors fail to take note of the position of the umbilical cord at all parts of the delivery. The cord can cause asphyxia.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Understanding Cerebral Palsy

Birth Injuries Often Have Lifelong Consequences