Few birth injuries can lead to more lifelong harm than those that affect an infant’s brain. It is not hard to understand why. The brain is the body’s main control center. Virtually every aspect of one’s life-from movement and mental function to personality-is affected or controlled in one way or another by a child’s brain. Lack of oxygen to the brain during birth is by far the most common way that a child suffers a brain injury during their delivery that affects the rest of their lives. For example, our Illinois cerebral palsy lawyers have worked with many families whose infants have developed cerebral palsy because their medical providers did not act in a timely fashion to signs that the infant’s brain was being deprived of oxygen.
Considering the long-term consequences of these injuries, all steps which can lessen the impact of oxygen deprivation have the potential to spare much suffering. Fortunately, advances are being made on that front. A story in The Standard Examiner this week explored the ways that medical experts are working to prevent harm to infants whose brains were starved of oxygen during their birth. For example, the story of one girl born last summer was shared. The child was born in the morning on a mid-July day in 2011. At first nothing seemed wrong, and the first eight hours were joy-filled ones for the family as they bonded with their new addition.
Eventually, however, something went wrong. Without notice the child stopped breathing. The girl’s mother was holding her at the time. As she laid the child against her chest she had an intuition that something wasn’t right. The child wasn’t responding. When she pulled her body away from her chest she realized immediately that the child’s body was limp and turning blue. The family called for help. Two nurses rushed into the room, took the child, and ran her down the hallway.
Of course the family was left in a state of shock-not knowing how long the child had been without oxygen or whether she was going to pull through. Down the hall, the medical professionals worked heroically to save the baby. They were able to revive the child and she was put on a ventilator. Shortly afterward the baby was taken to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. It was there that the doctors put a “cooling cap” on the child. The cap seeks to induce hypothermia. The cooling of the brain often prevents brain damage from spreading (or occurring at all). As a result of the cooling cap, the child in the case was spared harm. Now 6-months old, the baby is on track developmentally-crawling, sitting up on her own, and very alert and responsive.
Our Chicago birth injury attorneys applaud the great workers on the doctors in this and similar situations who engage in quick-thinking and top-notch care to save the lives of young infants. Birth injuries are terrifically frightening for all the families involved. When proper care is provided, as in this case, the suffering that is prevented is tremendous. All families deserve to have this reasonable standards of treatment met when their own children suffer medical problems during or shortly after birth.
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