It is heartbreaking for parents to have their newborn infant diagnosed with brain damage. When faced with this painful reality, it is critical for the future that an experienced brain injury attorney is retained immediately. It is the job of the attorney to determine if the brain damage occurred during the time of birth or perinatal period and whether it could have been avoided. Disturbing fetal heart tracings that were not considered or ignored by heath care providers could be just cause for a medical negligence suit.
Permanent brain injury can result from a condition known as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) caused by the lack of oxygen for a brief period.
Defense lawyers may build their case around the injury occurring during the prenatal period, from some unknown event that occurred during pregnancy. However, a study called the Lancet Report, published in the British Medical Journal in 2003, contradicts this defense. The study indicated that neonatal injuries, seizures or both, with no indication of congenital defects or existing syndromes, were a result of an avoidable perinatal event in 90 percent of occurrences.
An experienced brain injury attorney can determine exactly when the injuries occurred by closely examining the following:
· Fetal Heart Tracings – A sudden drop in heart rate to below 110 beats per minute in a perinatal event is known as bradycardia, which can lead to brain injury. A slow but progressive drop in heart rate may also be an indicator.
· Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy – HIE being evident at birth, or shortly after, is an indication that the injury occurred perinatally.
· Umbilical Blood Gas Testing
· Radiological Imaging
· Seizures – A record of post-natal seizures
After determining if any of the above was a factor in the present brain damage, the brain injury attorney must rule out trauma, genetic disorders, infections, coagulation disorders or any genetic history that predisposed the fetus to HIE. Any possible prenatal illness or injury to the mother must also be ruled out.
When blood gas levels in the umbilical cord have been determined to exceed the Neonatal Encephalopathy and Cerebral Palsy (NEACP) criteria, defending the case will be extremely difficult. There is no substitute for an experienced brain injury attorney in litigating one of these ultra-sensitive cases.
An infant who suffers brain damage during birth will be severely affected for life. The child will be deprived of a normal childhood and will never become an independent adult. The effects on the lives of the parents will be devastating both emotionally and financially. There may be special physical and psychological treatments required for life. The child will require constant lifetime care and supervision. In some cases, the child may need to be placed in a group home or other institution.
An experienced brain injury attorney knows the emotional and financial burden carried now and in the future as well as the diminished quality of life for the child. While other attorneys may be quick to settle to avoid a costly drawn out legal battle, the attorneys at Vititoe Law Group are ready and willing to fight long and hard to gain the maximum compensation that you and your child deserve.
If your child suffers from cerebral palsy or any injury that occurred during childbirth, contact an experienced brain injury and medical malpractice attorney at Vititoe Law Group for a free consultation.