For many parents, the birth of a child is among the most remarkable moments in their lives. They may envision a child who grows up with few medical concerns and leads a long life. However, complications that occur during the birthing process can change everything. Your child may suffer a birth injury that causes brain damage, putting your family on a path to an uncertain future.
Some birth injuries can be diagnosed immediately, while others don’t appear until later in life. In this post, we’ll focus on the symptoms of infant brain damage that may appear in the wake of a traumatic birth. We’ll also discuss potential legal remedies to take when you identify the liable party for your child’s injury.
What Causes Infant Brain Damage?
First, we should take some time to explain the causes of infant brain damage. Sometimes, it is congenital, meaning it results from genetic or other factors prior to birth. At other times, however, it can come from a traumatic brain injury during the birthing process.
When a baby experiences a traumatic brain injury, it is usually due to damage to the head or from oxygen deprivation during the birthing process. For example, if a doctor must use tools such as forceps or a medical vacuum during an emergency delivery, the physician could apply too much force and cause physical harm to the child’s skull or nerves.
Oxygen deprivation, or asphyxiation, causes nearly half of all brain damage. If the baby is stuck in the birth canal for too long, they may experience pressure on their skull and brain. They could also not receive enough oxygen if the umbilical cord is compressed. Common conditions such as cerebral palsy occur due to oxygen deprivation during delivery and can lead to decreased physical and cognitive abilities for the child.
When Medical Malpractice Causes Your Baby’s Brain Damage
While some birth injuries are beyond anyone’s control, a large majority occur due to the negligent action or inaction of a healthcare provider. Medical malpractice (sometimes called medical negligence) can happen for reasons such as lack of training, failure to diagnose significant issues, or failure to act quickly enough.
If you suspect medical malpractice may have exacerbated your child’s trauma, do not hesitate to get in touch with a lawyer.
Early Symptoms of Infant Brain Damage
Following a traumatic birth, parents should monitor their children for symptoms of infant brain damage. Some of these may occur very early on in your child’s life, such as in their first six months. Your child’s pediatrician may spot these concerns during regular visits, but it’s critical that you, as a parent, monitor your baby at home after a traumatic birth.
When your child is born, you may notice some unusual physiological features. These might include distorted facial features, an enlarged forehead, or a twisted spine. Typically, these would indicate brain damage caused by congenital factors rather than medical malpractice.
If your infant’s brain damage resulted from a difficult birth, the symptoms are more likely to be behavioral rather than physiological. Be on the look-out for any of the following:
- Frequent crying with an arched back
- Inability to move neck and eyes
- Difficulties with feeding
Infant brain damage can result in a wide variety of behavioral irregularities when your child is under six months of age. If their behavior strikes you as out of the ordinary, contact a specialist as soon as you can.
Symptoms That Appear Later in Your Child’s Life
Other symptoms of infant brain damage may not become apparent until your child has gotten older or even started school. Most later-occurring symptoms will manifest in how your child moves and develops physically. However, you may also notice indications your baby has experienced cognitive and intellectual damage.
Later Physical Symptoms of Brain Damage
Parents are eager to track their child’s development against typical milestones, such as lifting their head by six months and rolling over by nine months. When your child fails to meet these milestones, they may be a late bloomer, but if they experienced a traumatic birth, you must be more cautious. Their delays could be the result of infant brain damage.
In addition to not sitting up, rolling over, or crawling at the expected times, your child may exhibit involuntary movement of their limbs, known as spasms. They could also experience muscle weakness, making it difficult to control their fine motor movements, such as picking up toys, blocks, or eating utensils.
As the child gets older, you may notice other behaviors associated with infant brain damage. Your offspring may struggle with getting dressed, learning to tie their shoes, and learning to use pencils or markers.
Later Developmental and Cognitive Symptoms of Infant Brain Damage
Your child may also demonstrate emotional, mental, and behavioral conditions or delays after suffering a traumatic brain injury. They could be sensitive to loud sounds and bright lights or be unable to bear certain types of touch. They might have a higher pain tolerance, meaning they cannot recognize when they are hurt or bleeding.
Your child could have issues with spatial orientation, meaning they struggle to walk or move without difficulty because they cannot accurately determine where they are in relation to other objects. They may have delays with their memory, concentration, and language skills or find it hard to focus on tasks.
Behavioral concerns may become an issue as your child enters school and needs to control their impulses. Many people call this “acting out,” but these behaviors can stem from trauma to the pre-frontal or frontal cortex. Your child may switch quickly between anger and happiness or lash out physically in an effort to express their frustration.
Legal Options for Compensation After Infant Brain Damage
Although some birth issues occur naturally with no one to blame, so many things can go wrong during labor and delivery that a frequent cause of infant brain damage is medical malpractice. If you believe your child sustained a brain injury due to the negligence of a medical professional, we want you to know that you are not alone.
If you are recovering from the birth, you likely do not have time, training, or skill to pursue financial relief from the ones who harmed your baby. You need someone who can listen to your story and put their experience to work while you focus on your family. Our birth injury attorneys will investigate your situation and identify all liable parties. We can then file a medical malpractice claim to seek compensation on your behalf.
Medical malpractice claims can be challenging to prove, but we will use every resource we have to work on your case. We negotiate with insurance companies for you, fighting for the settlement you deserve. If they do not meet our demands, we take them to court to obtain the justice your family is owed.
Speak With a Birth Injury Attorney From the Snyder Law Group Today
Infant brain damage can mean your child needs a lifetime of special care and treatment, with a price tag to match. Facing an unpredictable future could mean you must leave work to care for your child, risking a financial crisis. If a healthcare practitioner is to blame, you must hold them accountable so you can receive the restitution your child needs for a comfortable life.
At the Snyder Law Group, we have decades of experience representing clients just like you. If you are curious about what we can do for you and your child, contact us today for a free case evaluation.
The Snyder Law Group, LLC, proudly represents clients throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C. Our accomplished lawyers understand the frustration that comes when an at-fault party refuses to accept liability for negligent or reckless behavior. We have secured hundreds of millions in verdicts and settlements. Please visit our website, ww.410thefirm.com, for more information and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.