The birth of a child should be a joyous occasion. Sometimes, however, the celebration is marred when the infant sustains a serious birth injury. In one recent case, a mother filed a lawsuit in Cook County against a doctor and medical practice alleging neglect led to her son’s birth injury. According to the lawsuit, the doctor failed to provide proper care during labor and delivery which resulted in a brain injury. The woman is requesting a jury trial and damages of more than $50,000.
Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy
Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, HIE, is a severe brain injury that can occur to newborns during labor or delivery. HIE limits the flow of oxygen to the brain resulting in a reduction of brain function and permanent disability. The extent of the damage depends on the length of time the infant was without oxygen. Almost one fourth of neonatal deaths are attributed to HIE.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Immediate diagnosis and fast treatment may help improve the damage done to the baby due to lack of oxygen. Initially, the baby may be irritable, may not eat properly, and may be lethargic. In severe instances, the baby may experience seizures. There are many other symptoms and tests that should be conducted if oxygen deprivation has occurred. One of the most successful treatments is the use of infant cooling. This reduction in temperature is thought to allow the brain to heal immediately following the injury.
Risk for HIE
Some infants may be at a higher risk for HIE than others. Large babies and any labor complications that can delay the birth process could create a chance that the baby will experience distress. Those with a high risk must be properly monitored during labor and delivery to ensure that the infant is getting adequate oxygen. If there are any problems, immediate action is necessary to prevent damage from occurring. In some cases, a c-section is needed to prevent HIE or other injuries.
Failure to Treat HIE
The mother in this case states that the doctor did not properly monitor the baby’s condition during labor and delivery. The doctor therefore did not quickly diagnose or treat the infant’s HIE. Improperly treating the condition will often times cause it to worsen. Children with a mild form of HIE may fully recover. Those who do not receive prompt medical treatment may be permanently disabled.
Medical Negligence Led to Serious Injury
The child in this case suffered a brain injury that is disabling. The extent of his injury may have been worsened by the failure of the doctor to properly diagnose and treat HIE. The doctor is held liable for injuries due to his negligence. Doctors are required to provide a high standard of care. When this standard is not met, the physician may be neglectful. In this instance the mother is seeking compensation from the doctor and the medical facility to cover the expenses that have been and will be incurred. If your newborn was seriously harmed because of medical negligence, contact the attorneys at Levin & Perconti to schedule a consultation.
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