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Brain injuries may be caused before labor begins

Traditionally, many North Carolina parents who have children born with brain injuries assumed that a loss of oxygen during the birth was the cause. However, a report that was released on May 7 indicated that this may not always be the case. Experts in associated fields determined that there are other conditions that can occur even before pregnancy that may cause a child to suffer brain injuries.

In the United States, approximately 3 in 1,000 babies are born with brain injuries. However, the report showed that less than one-half of these children suffered from an inadequate amount of oxygen during the birth. Additionally, only approximately 10 percent of children born with cerebral palsy showed these signs.

Experts who were involved with the report stated that there are other causes of brain injuries in unborn babies. For example, the development of placental lesions during a pregnancy may result in brain injuries to the unborn child. While there is no cure, there have been advances in treatment that potentially reduces the extent of the injury, including the use of hypothermia, which minimizes brain damage, and MRIs.

This report revealed that brain damage to newborns may not have been caused by the doctor. However, mistakes during the birth can still be made. If there is evidence that the doctor caused the injury by either not following the proper procedure or did not take the proper measures to ensure a healthy birth, the parents of the child may be eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor and the hospital. This lawsuit allows the parents to seek compensation for any past medical bills and future treatment and living costs for their child depending upon the severity of the injury.

Source: Worcester Telegram, "Personal Health: Hurt before the birth", May 07, 2014

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