Articles Posted in Brain Injuries from Birth

Our Chicago brain injury attorneys have often shared information about many serious brain issues that can affect newborns, such as cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is not a specific condition, but it is instead a catch-all term used to describe a variety of problems caused by brain problems-virtually all areas of functioning is affected by the problem. When an infant suffers this brain damage, their life is unquestionably altered forever. The seriousness of the problem makes it obvious that everything possible should be done to prevent these injury from arising. Failure on the part of medical professionals to prevent a brain injury from developing at birth is generally grounds for a lawsuit. The civil justice provides an avenue by which the victims and their families can have accountability.

Through the years our attorneys have helped many families file Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits after their young children have developed a preventable brain injury because inadequate care was providing by their medical professionals. Demanding accountability has helped these families ensure that their children have the resources they need to get by each day. Yet, all families, if given the choice would certainly have preferred for their young child to never have developed the brain condition in the first place.

Prevention is always preferable. That is why medical researchers are working to develop new ways to protect children from the often degenerative effects of brain injuries. In fact, just today a new story was shared that information development in efforts to help victims of childbirth brain injuries (like cerebral palsy) as well a variety of other brain issues. Medical Express published the story today, explaining how scientists have recently been halted the development of cerebral palsy-like brain damage in a group of test mice. Washington University School of Medicine researchers conducted the study, using a protein to stop the spread of brain deterioration in the test animals with head injuries.

Our Chicago brain injury lawyers are very familiar with the well-known developmental brain disorder known as autism. Over the past several decades awareness about the many variations of this condition has increased steadily. More and more families continue to be affected by the brain condition, leading many researchers scrambling to better understand what causes it and how it can be prevented. According to PubMed Health, autism affects the development of the brain areas that control social and communication skills. As a result, symptoms are usually not seen until social and communication skills are first noticed, when children are one and a half to three years old. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that autism is more commonly found in males than females, with upwards of four times as many boys suffering than girls.

Medical researchers are actively working to nail down the causes but as of yet nothing conclusive has been proven. It is known, however, that abnormal brain biology and brain chemistry functions are involved. Most suspect that a range of other factors combine to create the disorder. For one thing, genetics seem to play some role. Studies examining twins have found that identical twins are far more likely than fraternal twins or siblings to experience autism. Researchers have a variety of studies underway aimed at better understanding the various other causes of autism.

For example, this week the Health Jockey discussed a new study on the topics which was just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research involved the effect of anti-depressants given during brain developmental stages on the resulting offspring. Down the road the results may lead to changes in the medications taken by expecting mothers or mothers trying to have a baby. The research was a joint effort between researchers at the University of Mississippi Centre and University of California. What they found was that rats which were given certain anti-depressants during particular phases of brain development eventually displayed problems like those faced by those suffering from autism. The drugs in question are known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). One of the researchers involved in this latest effort believes that taking these during conception may increase risk of autism development. However, it is too early to yet make any concrete determinations.

Obviously when a local child suffers an Illinois brain injury there will be consequences. The brain is the most complex organ in the body, and it plays a role in so many different, basic human functions. Therefore, when a brain injury occurs the child will likely have certain problems with mobility, sight, hearing, thinking, communicating, and other issues. These lifelong problems will also often come with the need for close and costly medical care. The losses suffered by these victims and the cost of those losses are why brain injury lawsuits can result in significant verdicts for the families involved.

New research has recently been published which adds a new perspective to discussions about the losses suffered by brain injury victims. While perhaps only reflecting what was assumed by most anyway, a new study published yesterday in Pediatrics magazine reported that children who suffered moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries have a considerable reduction in their quality of life. The “quality of life” measurement was quantified based on the functioning level of the child victims. The research was conducted by medical professionals from the University of Washington. Those involved measured the progress of nearly 730 children who had suffered from a traumatic brain injury and nearly 200 children who had suffered an arm injury. They then measured the adaptive skills, participation in social and community activities, and similar measurements along with the actual function progress.

Overall the researchers found that those children who had suffered a brain injury had significantly lower scores on all quality of life measurements when compared with baseline numbers. Some improvement occurred during the first two or three years after they suffered injury, but that improvement leveled off and their quality of life remained lower than that of their counterparts. Doctors involved explained that the communication and self-care challenges were particularly harmful for victims, with many of these issues never being resolved, even years after the injury. The study’s authors wrote that “further efforts to understand the reasons for persistent symptoms and to develop effective treatments might be needed.”

Illinois brain injuries can be caused because by a variety of situations, often from a car accident or a slip and fall. At other times, the brain trouble could arise as a result of a birth injury. One of the more well-known brain injuries that can be developed because of mistakes made at birth is cerebral palsy. Our Chicago brain injury lawyers continue to help many families whose children have developed cerebral palsy because preventable mistakes were made by healthcare workers. Many misconceptions remain about cerebral palsy, and many community members are not sure what the condition actually consists of. Contrary to popular perception, cerebral palsy is not a single problem, but it is a group of disorders affecting the brain and nervous system. Suffers often have sensory problems which affect their ability to hear, see, move, learn, and think. The National Center for Biotechnology explains that victims are most commonly identified by their muscular problems, spanning the spectrum from trouble with fine motor skills to an inability to walk.

While cerebral palsy often develops at birth, it can actually arise while the child is still in the womb or after they are already born. Brain infections, bleeding on the brain, severe head trauma, severe jaundice and other problems can lead to cerebral palsy in the early stages of infancy. The birth injury cause of the condition often arises when a baby is born in the breech position. In this situation, the child may experiences umbilical cord prolapse-a compression of the umbilical cord that cuts off blood flow and oxygen to the brain.

Professionals in the area often explain that there are three main types of cerebral palsy. First, ataxis cerebral palsy is a version that causes the afflicted to have muscle tone problems; this results is unstable or shaky movements. The choreoathetoid version of the condition is characterized by spontaneous movements of the trunk, limb, and face muscles. The third type is known as spastic cerebral palsy. It is by far the most common form, constituting over 70% of cerebral palsy sufferers. Spastic cerebral palsy victims have severe mobility problems caused by stiffness in the muscles. These three versions of the condition are often used for ease of understanding but other, rare versions also exist.

Many families have had their lives turned upside down when their young children suffer a childbirth brain injury. Those in our area have not been spared, as our Illinois brain injury attorneys have met many families over the years working through the complications caused by these problems. Understandably many families are lest devastated in the aftermath of these accidents, particularly when they results the death of a loved one. Fortunately, some families are able to work through these tragedies and try to create something positive out of the situation.

An article last month in the Lower Hudson News shared the story of a set of parents that did just that after they lost their young son to a brain injury. This particular family found their lives turned upside down eleven years ago when their son was born with severe brain damage. The child’s mothers explained that the injury was caused by problems during the birth of the child. The infant had oxygen deprived form his brain because of the birth problems, and that deprivation led to the brain damage. This is one of the most common ways that children are afflicted with brain injuries. The damage to this child was of such a severity that his life was in jeopardy essentially from the moment he was born. Unfortunately, the boy was ultimately not able to survive the brain damage; he died eight months after his birth. The family was understandably devastated by the loss.

The boy’s parents decided not to let the loss of their son become dominated by sadness. Instead, they created a foundation to help others in their son’s name. Since its creation the foundation has attracted a variety of supporters who have donated time and money to the cause. As a result, they have been able to provide more than $500,000 to local charities that help young children. Many families whose young children suffer brain injuries are faced with tremendous medical and caregiving costs. When close care must be provided through the life of one of these victims it is not uncommon for the costs to actually reach into the millions. To help ease the burden for some, the foundation has provided assistance such as buying a therapeutic gym for infants with brain damage and providing special equipment for those who have trouble communicating and with mobility issues. In addition, the foundation has an educational component that seeks to spread information about the causes of some brain injuries, particularly those that arise because of complications during childbirth.
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Illinois brain injuries can affect individuals of all ages. However, permanent brain trauma disproportionately affects newborn babies, often caused by problems during the birth of the infant. Chicago newborn brain injuries are particularly harmful, because they often result in problems for the children that are permanent. When a young child suffers brain trauma their lives are often affected forever, requiring additional medical and physical assistance indefinitely. It remains vital for every step possible to be undertaken to limit and prevent these accidents affecting our youngest. Part of that task includes learning as much as possible about these accidents so that they can be expected, prevented, and treated properly if necessary.

A new story from the Digital Journal highlighted the efforts of medical researchers to examine the causes and best prevention methods for newborn brain injuries. The new data led by a doctor out of Denver is being touted as the first of its kind to focus specifically on these forms of head injury. The research is long overdue, considering that the trauma connected to childbirth significantly increases the risk of these children suffering a brain injury which might affect their long-term physical and mental development. As it now stands, roughly six in a thousand infants are affected by a brain injury. The new research was targeted at lowering that number by examining information about changes in the mother’s blood before and after birth.

The researcher believes that potential causes of these injuries are blood abnormalities or inflammation. To target this possibility, the doctors involved are taking their blood samples and looking at blood cord and placenta data. Depending on what is ultimately uncovered, the research may have expansive long-term consequences. For example, if the data shows that some delivery methods or birthing procedures influence these blood abnormalities and ultimately the risk presented to the new children, then it may be necessary for those long-standing practices to change. There is no reason why popular notions about the delivery process are guaranteed to be the best to ensure the health and well-being of the children and the mother.

Part of the obligation of medical professionals is keeping abreast of new information and developments in the field about the best way to do their job. Of course it remains inadequate for doctors to stop learning following medical school-patients deserve to receive care up to the current standards and understandings. Therefore, it remains important for all those who help in the delivery process to be aware of this and all information that might prevent young children from developing brain injuries. Unfortunately, some medical professionals make mistakes that have permanent impacts on the young children that they delivery.
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Our Chicago brain injury attorneys recently learned of a lawsuit that was filed against a company that makes a certain type of alcohol prep pads that were used on a baby that likely left the baby with severe brain damage. According to About Lawsuits, the brain injury lawsuit alleges that one of the family’s twin boys developed cerebral palsy as a result of bacteria that was on the alcohol prep pads that were used when the baby was born and placed in the neonatal unit after birth. The baby developed a severe brain injury and he is not able to eat, walk or talk. The family was not originally aware of what had caused the brain injury that led to cerebral palsy, and because of this they filed the lawsuit against the hospital for malpractice leading to the baby developing cerebral palsy and the lawsuit did not originally name the company that produced the prep pads as a defendant.

While it was clear that the baby developed cerebral palsy from some sort of infection, the family, the hospital, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention could not figure out where the newborn was exposed to the bacteria. It was not until the prep pad company recalled the pads very recently that everyone involved realized that it was likely that is where the baby developed the infection. While there is no direct evidence that the contaminated pads were used on the baby, the hospital was using the same pads that were recently recalled by the company at the time the baby developed the infection. However, while both babies were in the neonatal unit at the same time, only one of the twins developed the brain infection while in the hospital. It is unknown if the same pads were used on both of the newborns.

The bacteria caused the portions of the newborn baby’s brain to be seriously damaged, which led him to develop cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a broad term that encompasses many types of brain injuries to the motor control centers of the brain, which can lead to very severe and permanent developmental disabilities. While cerebral palsy brain injuries can occur without negligence on the part of anyone, it is also terrible when it develops as a result of someone’s or of a company’s negligence. In this case, the company seems to have acted negligently in some part of the manufacturing process, as a large number of their alcohol prep pads were contaminated with this dangerous bacteria. While all companies need to be cautious and thorough in their testing, it is especially important that companies producing medical supplies make sure that they use extreme caution when they test their products so they do not end up exposing the people using their products to further injury.

As we have often discussed on this blog, each day children are born with the often debilitating muscle disorder known as cerebral palsy. Sadly, many of those infants could have avoided acquiring the birth injury if only the medical professionals involved in their delivery would have acted consistent with recognized medical standards.

Cerebral palsy is a muscle disorder-affecting muscle tone, posture, and movement. Signs of the problem appear very early on in an infant’s life. There remain varieties of possible causes, but several of those causes original during childbirth itself. Far too often medical practitioners use inadequate procedures, causing a child to develop cerebral palsy.

That appears to be the case in a new brain injury lawsuit that was recently reported on in the St. Petersburg Times. A family is suing the Bayfront Medical Center after their infant was born blind and with cerebral palsy. According to the suit, the doctors used a device known as a vacuum extractor to essentially pull the young child out of the mother’s womb. The use of the device caused the young boy hemorrhage-leading to the brain injury and resulting medical disabilities. The family is claiming that the child should have instead been born through a Cesarean section, which would have prevented the injury.

The vacuum extractor is a device first used in the 1950s. Its use has decreased over the years, as many feel it presents unnecessary risk of complications. Its use is particularly dangerous to use the device on pre-term infants (as was the case in this suit). The nurses at the hospital were aware of this extra risk, but they failed to do anything to stop the vacuum being used.
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The Illinois parents of a minor with cerebral palsy recently filed a lawsuit in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Protestant Memorial Medical Center in Belleville, Illinois and the doctor who delivered the newborn. The parents allege that their newborn suffered a hypoxic brain injury lawsuit the defendant doctor and hospital negligently ruptured membranes before her birth, failed to utilize inutero resuscitation maneuvers, and failed to prepare for an immediate C-section in a scenario of prolonged deceleration.
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Levin and Perconti recently announced in a press release on November 24, 2010 that its Chicago brain attorneys reached a $6.5 million settlement for a young girl who suffers from cerebral palsy following a brain injury sustained during birth.

The settlement was with Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, IL and a physician who failed to timely perform a Cesarean section. Chicago attorneys John J. Perconti and Patricia L. Gifford of Levin & Perconti represented the injured child and her family.

During the mother’s pregnancy, doctors failed to diagnose cephalopelvic disproportion. Cephalopelvic disproportion occurs when a baby’s head or body is too large to fit through the mother’s pelvis. Abnormal fetal positions often cause cephalopelivic disproportion, which is what occurred in this case. According to the American College of Nurse Midwives, cephalopelvic disproportion occurs in 1 out of 250 pregnancies.

Physicians further failed to order an emergency Cesarean section after noticing erratic decelerations on the fetal monitoring strips. These decelerations are typically a warning sign for fetal hypoxia. Hypoxia occurs when the fetus is deprived of adequate oxygen.

During the emergency Cesarean section, the mother was not properly anesthetized and the staff had to hold the mother down during the procedure.

Although the newborn and mother survived the complicated birth, the newborn suffered hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, which means that inadequate oxygen caused damage to cells in the central nervous system, specifically the brain and spinal cord. This damage can cause cerebral palsy.

The injured child is now 10 years old but has cerebral palsy and mental retardation from the complications of her birth. She suffers from motor delays and moderate cognitive deficiencies and will need to use a wheeled assistive device as she gets older. She will also need constant assistance with dressing, bathing, and using the bathroom. The settlement will allow the child’s family to provide her with the ongoing care and medical treatment throughout her lifetime.
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