Recognizing Brain Injuries in a Newborn

The birth of a baby is one of life’s most significant and beautiful events. Some families have to wait years and spend thousands of dollars to experience parenthood. When mothers and fathers anticipate the arrival of a child, they imagine a successful delivery and a healthy delivery. Unfortunately, reality does not always meet these expectations.

Every year, thousands of babies are born with various birth injuries. While all of these conditions are serious, brain injuries can prove particularly debilitating or even fatal. Further complicating the issue is the fact these injuries often escape diagnosis at the time of birth. It is vitally important for parents to recognize symptoms of brain injury in a baby. Early detection is key to adequate treatment, as well as a determination about the cause of injury. Brain injuries in newborns are often avoidable and with the help of a capable attorney, affected families can secure compensation for their loss.

Brain Injury Explanation

A report in the Merck Manual explains why brain injuries are common among newborns. In a normal delivery, the head is the first part of the baby’s body to travel through the birth canal, which means that experiences the majority of pressure. This buildup of pressure may result in the rupturing of a blood vessel and bleeding within the spaces surrounding the brain. Though many healthcare professionals routinely conduct an MRI or brain scan following a particularly difficult delivery, some physicians fail to take this precaution, leaving brain injuries undiagnosed. In these cases, the signs of injury may not present themselves for weeks or months.

Parents should pay attention to the development of their newborn and quickly report any suspected problems to the pediatrician. Some signs of brain injury in young babies include:

*Delayed speech development
*Delayed movement and walking *Excessive fussiness
*Difficulty controlling body movements
*Irregular growth of the head

Types of Bleeding

Several areas of the infant brain can experience bleeding. When it occurs below the innermost coverings of the brain, it is called a subarachnoid hemorrhage and it can lead to seizures within the initial weeks of life. Generally, the symptoms reportedly subside and the baby fares well.

A much less common occurrence is bleeding between the outer and inner coverings. This subdural hemorrhage places a substantial amount of pressure on the brain and may also cause seizures. Intraventricular hemorrhaging occurs when blood enters the areas of the brain that are normally filled with fluid and a intraparenchymal hemorrhage means that blood is entering the brain tissue.

Parents are baby’s biggest advocates. By educating yourself about the potential dangers and symptoms of brain injury in your newborn, you can better ensure that your baby receives necessary treatment. In addition, timely review of the treating physician’s actions is vital to determining whether proper actions were taken and whether the doctor or hospital staff is responsible for the injuries.

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