Brain damage during birth is a serious medical condition that affects countless newborns annually. According to the Brain Injury Association of America and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are a leading cause of permanent disability and death for infants and children. As one of the most serious birth injuries, this type of trauma can affect a child throughout his or her entire life and it may negatively affect the ability to grow and develop normally.
A brain injury can occur for a number of reasons. The baby may have been deprived of oxygen during a prolonged delivery, had the brain compressed in the birth canal, or suffered a blunt force trauma during a delivery that required a forceps extraction. It is important that you recognize the signs of a brain injury — even though some symptoms may not appear for years after the traumatic event.
Early Signs of a Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury
The particular symptoms and their severity will vary with each child. Some symptoms of a TBI may appear shortly after birth and can be detected by observing your child’s behavior and appearance. These signs may include:
- Abnormal temperament and excessive crying
- Problems eating
- Difficulty sleeping lying down
- Unusual facial features; a large forehead and an abnormally small head
- Difficulty focusing the eyes
- Other signs include a deformed spine, seizures, and neck stiffness
As your child grows older, he or she may experience developmental delays. Some babies do not begin to smile, crawl, or walk during the typical development time period. Because many babies do not achieve certain developmental milestones at the same time, it is important that you have a physician determine if the delays could be caused by a TBI.
Cognitive delays could include difficulties with attention, concentration, and controlling impulses. Your child may also experience problems with language development as well as the ability to process memories and information. These symptoms may not be readily apparent until the child enters school. The brain injury may manifest as attention deficit disorder, Asperger’s syndrome or autism. The problems can also be perceptual and physical.
- Perceptual symptoms are difficult to diagnose, but they may include spatial disorientation, changes in hearing or vision and a heightened sensitivity to pain.
- Physical symptoms may become more apparent as the child grows older. These include headaches, extreme fatigue and sleeping disorders as well as light sensitivity, tremors and paralysis.
Know Your Rights
Brain trauma is a rare event. When it does occur, it is often caused by medical negligence. As a parent, you have a right to know what happened and whether the accident could have been prevented. If your child’s trauma was the result of medical negligence, you may be eligible for a settlement that covers your child’s medical expenses.
If you suspect that your child has a TBI that may have been caused during delivery, it is important that you consult with a birth injury lawyer to fully understand your rights. Birth injury lawsuits are complex and often require a specific expertise. Our experienced legal team may determine the best course of action to help you receive the just compensation that your family deserves.
Contact Needle & Ellenberg, P.A. today for a free consultation at 786-460-7030 or use our contact form here.