What Happens When You Have a Birth Injury?

woman lying in hospital bed after giving birth

Nova Scotia Birth Injuries

Welcoming a new baby is an exciting time for parents. They spend nine months building up hopes and dreams. Eating properly and doing whatever they can to ensure the health of their child. Most soon to be parents visit doctors and clinics regularly. These health care providers are responsible for giving both mother and infant medical care for at least nine months up until and including the day of delivery.

Sometimes, however, things don’t go according to plan.

Many babies born in the Maritime provinces experience problems that their parents hadn’t planned on. Sometimes it’s because the baby is born with an undiagnosed birth defect, other times the baby may be a victim of a birth injury that occurs during labor and delivery.

Doctors and nurses are human and can sometimes make mistakes. This doesn’t change their ultimate responsibilities though. When it comes to the health of a new baby, mistakes can have tragic and sometimes life-altering consequences. Medical professionals are legally responsible for ensuring that a baby is delivered into the world as healthy as possible and without injuries caused by medical malpractice.

What are typical symptoms of infant brain damage?

The most common injury suffered by infants at birth is also one of the most tragic – infant brain damage.

Infant brain damage symptoms vary according to how the damage occurred and the severity of the damage. Sometimes parents and doctors are able to notice these symptoms immediately. However, sometimes the symptoms do not present until the child is older and starts to show signs of developmental delays.

Some of the more common symptoms of infant brain damage include:

  • Large forehead
  • Unusually small heads (more prominent in smaller infants)
  • Seizures
  • Neck stiffness
  • Difficulties in focusing the eyes
  • Abnormal temperament
  • Developmental delays (i.e. babies may not crawl or smile for their age)

What are some infant brain damage treatment options?

As medicine continues to evolve, medical treatment for brain damage has become more effective, minimizing the possible impacts of infant brain injuries. Treatment will depend upon the seriousness of the injury. A child who experiences mild brain damage may not benefit from surgery, but physical therapy, occupational therapy, and medication may help to alleviate symptoms. However, babies with traumatic brain injuries may need surgery to decrease swelling and pressure on the brain and to repair damaged blood vessels.

There is a relatively new treatment option for infant brain damage that is giving the medical community lots of hope. It’s called hypothermia therapy and is showing positive results when administered immediately after birth. Hypothermia therapy works by cooling the infant’s body temperature for at least three days immediately after birth. According to the National Institutes of Health, the hypothermia treatment decreases the chances of long-term, permanent brain damage and physical impairment.

We are Nova Scotia birth injury lawyers with a track record of helping families faced with the life-long challenges of dealing with infant brain injury. If you think we can be of help or if you have a question, we’d be happy to chat with you free of charge.

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