Brain Injuries from Birth in New Jersey
NJ Infant Brain Damage Attorneys Representing Clients Statewide
Statistics regarding infant brain injury at birth can be shocking. Hundreds of thousands of infant birth injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, occur annually in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), traumatic brain injuries are a leading cause of death and permanent disabilities in infants. While the numbers are staggering, the permanent physical and neurological consequences that can result from infant brain damage present a much harsher reality. As a parent of a child who suffered a brain injury at birth, it is imperative to understand how these injuries can occur. Many of these injuries occur before, during, or immediately after birth. Among cases involving newborn brain injuries, far too many could have been prevented or worse, are directly caused, by medical mistakes made by treating healthcare providers. If your baby has a brain injury, the experienced New Jersey birth injury attorneys at Fronzuto Law Group can help. Contact us today at 973-435-4551 for a free evaluation of your case and learn more about the legal options that may be available to you.
Brain Injury at Birth: The Basics
Traumatic brain injuries during or after birth can be distinguished among two categories. The first type of infant brain injury occurs when there is a permanent alteration in the brain’s function brought about by application of an external force. Infant brain injuries may result from external physical forces such as violent shaking, striking an object, or the application of outside pressure that causes damage to an infant’s head. For example, a doctor applying too much pressure to an infant’s head during a difficult delivery can cause permanent brain damage. This may occur due to the improper use of forceps or failing to appropriately address an abnormal birth position or presentation, resulting in the infant’s head getting stuck in the birth canal.
The other type of birth-related brain injury may be referred to as an acquired brain injury, which results from an internal problem inside the brain or skull. This may sound like the problem was existing, but in fact, it may be “acquired” due to medical negligence during labor and delivery. For instance, acquired birth brain injuries include asphyxiation, or a lack of oxygen reaching the infant’s brain, along with certain types of internal bleeding. If a doctor fails to recognize or respond to fetal distress or order an emergency C-section, even a few short minutes without adequate oxygen to the baby’s brain can lead to irreversible brain damage.
Causes of Infant Brain Damage
Complicated deliveries and inadequate medical care can increase the likelihood that an infant will suffer from a traumatic brain injury at birth. For example, the use of forceps or vacuum extraction technology during a difficult or prolonged birth can result in the application of too much external pressure to an infant’s head, potentially causing brain injury. Additionally, if an infant is not positioned head-first during delivery, that infant has an increased chance of sustaining head trauma from blunt force or from increased pressure to the newborn’s head. If a medical team is not prepared to deal with a baby’s abnormal positioning, if they handle a child too roughly during delivery, or if they otherwise react inappropriately to a complicated birth, they may not take all steps necessary to prevent a traumatic brain injury. Some of the most common causes of brain damage in infants include:
- Improper use of forceps in assisted delivery
- Improper use of vacuum extractors during assisted delivery
- Twisting or pulling too hard on the baby’s head or neck
- Failure to respond to fetal distress
- Delayed C-section
- Failure to diagnose or treat maternal infection
- Failure to treat infant jaundice
- Failing to address umbilical cord issues (such as wrapping around the baby’s neck)
- Placental abruption
- Errors with infant resuscitation
If during delivery your medical team fails to follow a reasonable standard of medical care applicable in their field, and your child suffers a traumatic brain injury as a result, you may have a legal claim against the treating physician, the broader medical team, and the hospital. To establish such a medical malpractice claim, you will likely have to call expert witnesses to show that your medical providers did not provide you and your infant with the right advice, medication, or other treatment during labor, did not follow accepted medical practices, and caused injury to your infant as a result. Our experienced birth injury attorneys can examine all of the medical records and associated evidence in your case, consult with expert witnesses, and assemble the most compelling claim on your behalf.
Results of Brain Injuries during Birth
Literature from the Department of Pediatrics at UCSF states that brain injuries at birth are the foremost cause of intellectual disabilities and cerebral palsy in the United States. Cerebral palsy is a movement disorder associated with abnormal muscle tone, posture, reflexes, walking ability, or a combination of all the above. Intellectual disabilities resulting from traumatic brain injury can include mood disorders, slowed developmental milestones like walking and grasping objects, inability to eat without assistance, difficulty concentrating in school, continual headaches, and many other problems.
Take Action for Your Child’s Birth Brain Injury in NJ
If your infant suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of improper medical care in New Jersey, the skilled team of attorneys at Fronzuto Law Group is here to assist you. Call 973-435-4551 to consult with a knowledgeable New Jersey birth malpractice lawyer today.