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What to Do if You Suspect Your Infant Suffered a Brain Injury During Labor and Delivery

Brain injuries caused to infants suffered during labor and delivery can lead to some of the most severe and debilitating impairments, and lead to lifelong disabilities and the need for future medical care.  Brain injuries during labor and delivery can be caused by a multitude of issues, one of them being a deprivation of oxygen to the fetus as a result of prolonged fetal distress.  Because neurological injuries to a newborn may not manifest themselves until the infant fails to meet their developmental milestones, accurate diagnosis following a birth-related trauma can prove difficult.

When to be concerned regarding brain injuries in infants? 

Unless you are a medical professional who is specialized in newborns, you might not know at first whether there is something wrong with your child. But as a parent or a caregiver you should go with your instincts, and if you notice unusual behavior or suspicious physical development, you should take action by contacting your local pediatrician or pediatric neurologist and making an appointment where all of your concerns and symptoms should be voiced to the doctor.  As parents, you need to be your child’s best advocate, and do your best to monitor your child’s cognitive and physical growth carefully, especially if you notice something that seems out of the ordinary.

What are the steps to be taken in cases of a brain injury of an infant caused during labor and delivery? 

If you are a parent or a caregiver, request your child’s records as soon as you suspect something went wrong.  Hospitals are required to maintain and provide both the mother’s and newborn’s complete medical chart regarding pre-natal, labor and delivery, and post-partum records.  Most importantly, if you suspect something went wrong during the labor and delivery, request your baby’s fetal heart tracings.  The reason behind collecting the heart tracing is that it records every contraction in correspondence with the baby’s heartbeat and can provide important information as to the course of your labor and whether your child was in distress.  If you and your child were the victims of medical malpractice, the heart tracing may be the first evidence that can show that the physicians staff at the hospital failed to properly monitor the fetus, and take appropriate action to prevent injury.   If you suspect malpractice make sure to provide all of these records to your attorney, including the fetal heart tracings and any available imaging studies performed of your child, so that the records can be reviewed.

 Conclusion:

Every parent’s goal is to have a healthy baby. Unfortunately, there are things that can go wrong during labor and delivery, some of which are preventable with good and accepted medical care.  Brain injuries caused to infants suffered during labor and delivery can lead to profound injuries, pain and suffering, and medical expenses so talk to an experienced medical malpractice attorney if you suspect something went wrong.

Thanks for reading.

  • Kyle Newman, Esq.