This week, Passen & Powell’s Chicago personal injury lawyers have been discussing hypoxic-anoxic injury (HAI), a serious form of acquired brain injury. Our lawyers understand how devastating hypoxia and anoxia-related brain injuries can be for those who sustain such injuries, as well as their families. As with all permanent brain injuries, HAI carries immensely challenging long-term emotional and financial implications.
Nowhere is this more true than in HAI brain injuries involving infants and children. Today, our Chicago brain injury lawyers conclude their week long examination of nontraumatic (acquired) brain injuries by exploring HAI associated with pregnancy, childbirth and children.
Several types of negligent conduct or malpractice can cause anoxia or hypoxia brain injury during child birth. These can include failure to recognize fetal distress, unreasonable delay in performing a C-section, delay in delivering a large baby, failure to properly or timely resuscitate the baby, maternal or fetal bleeding complications, excessive administration of Pitocin, improper use of forceps or vacuum extractor during delivery, and placenta previa (placental growth over the cervix). There are also natural causes of HAI at birth, which are not the result of medical malpractice, including a difficult labor, gestational diabetes of the mother, or some other genetic condition.
Parents who suspect something may have gone wrong during child birth, and who suspect their child is not developing normally, should seek medical treatment immediately for their child to ensure his or her health. If they continue to suspect that obstetrical medical malpractice may have caused a permanent brain injury during birth, it is critical to contact a top Chicago birth injury lawyer as soon as possible to investigate your child’s injury.
Discerning the symptoms of hypoxia in newborns and young children can be especially challenging. In newborns, common symptoms of hypoxia-induced brain injury include lack of muscle tone or hypotonia, which results in floppiness or weak/limited limb movements, increased heart rate, increased respiratory rate, fever associated with difficulty breathing, cold temperature, inability to feed, lethargy, limited response to external stimuli and lack of crying.
In children who have suffered birth-related HAI, the most common symptom is hypertonia in which the muscles are taut and/or lack fine coordination or movements. This often results in the spasticity associated with Cerebal Palsy, where there is a defect in control of muscle coordination, problems with muscle strength and muscle movement. These children commonly fail to achieve developmental milestones, such as the ability turn over, sit up, follow eye movements and respond to sounds, or walk at 12-18 months. These children may also experience regression in previously acquired abilities, particularly if their condition goes undiagnosed or untreated.
At times, a birth injury from HAI may be unavoidable, particularly where genetic conditions, pregnancies involving drug or alcohol abuse, or similar situations are involved. But even in complicated situations a doctor is required to act in accordance with established medical standards. Because of the complicated factors associated with HAI, including identifying the cause of the injury, assessing the extent of damage involved, determining the permanent physical impaired caused, determining the cost and necessity for future medical treatment and other care needs, and proving the overall loss suffered by the child and family, it is critical that you retain the services of dedicated, experienced and compassionate professionals.
If you suspect that your child has suffered HAI or some other type of brain injury as a result of medical malpractice or negligence at birth, call the Passen & Powell today at (312) 527-4500 for a Free Consultation with a top rated Chicago brain injury lawyer.