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Medical Malpractice - Your Child's Been Diagnosed With Brain Damage and Cerebral Palsy
You're in labor. Your due date is tomorrow. Your contractions are not that strong and you feel the baby moving. The doctor gives you medicine to increase your contractions, usually known as pitocin. The contractions help ripen the cervix, and also places stress on the baby to 'prepare' the baby for birth. Assuming no complications, the medicine to increase your contractions will be increased over time.
A problem can when a doctor or nurse fails to recognize that your baby is in distress and not responding well to the normal stresses that a baby experiences during labor. Maybe a fetal heart monitor isn't being watched carefully. Maybe there were other deliveries going on at the same time that required your doctor's attention.
In some cases a baby's heartrate may change dramatically and drop to dangerously low levels for an extended period of time. This is known as 'bradycardia'. In other cases a baby's heartrate might race for a period of time. This is known as 'tachycardia'. In either case, the conditions require intervention if they continue for a period of time. Failure to intervene can have devastating consequences for the baby.
A baby whose heartrate is very low for a long period of time may develop 'hypoxia', a lack of oxygen to the baby's brain and other vital organs. Other times, there may be a complete blockage of blood flow causing anoxia, or an absence of oxygen.
Oxygen is crucial for life. Diminished oxygen or lack of oxygen starves the baby's brain and vital organs. Baby's that have experienced decreased oxygen during the birth process tend to have significant developmental delays as well as other significant medical problems.
A parent will learn of a baby's brain injury after birth, either in the newborn nursery or in the early years during a visit to the pediatrician. "Your baby isn't progressing as they should." "The seizures your baby is having are not going away." "Your baby isn't talking or walking yet, and they should have been walking two years ago." "Your baby can't grasp items and doesn't track sound or hear well." "Your child has cerebral palsy, and will need long-term care."
These comments are sure to trigger questions of "Why not?" and "How did this happen?"
Questions to think about include:
Can my child hold her head up? Can she hear me? See me? Does she grasp? Can she eat on her own? Can she dress herself? Does she have seizure-like movements? Does she have unusual facial features? Is the size of her head unusually large or small? Can she crawl? Can she walk? Can she talk? Does she take to the bottle or breast? When you speak to her does she look toward you? Can she write? Can she use a utensil?
Learning the answers to these questions may not be easy. If you believe your baby's development is significantly delayed or that your baby suffered brain damage as a result of the birth, you should speak to an experienced New York medical malpractice lawyer immediately.
From NY Medical Malpractice posted 2007-11-26.