Causes Of Infant Brain Damage
There are several delivery complications that can cause infant brain damage.
Oxygen deprivation, or birth asphyxia, has been proven to cause a variety of health defects and cognitive impairments. Minor cases may cause relatively minor disorders, such as ADHD. More severe cases may lead to serious neurological diseases, mental retardation, and seizures. Birth asphyxia is one of the leading causes of Cerebral Palsy.
Physical Trauma During Birth
Childbirth is a delicate procedure and requires extreme caution by all of those involved. Some births may be more physically difficult and require extra assistance. If a vacuum or forceps are necessary, the physician must be extremely careful. Improper use of these tools (such as placement on the head) can have devastating consequences. A doctor being too physically rough while attempting a particularly difficult birth could also cause brain damage.
The health of a developing fetus is largely dependent on the health of the mother. Untreated infections are a common cause of infant brain damage. It's extremely important for physicians to monitor the mother's health so that such infections can be identified and treated in a timely manner. A failure to do so endangers the life of the child before he or she is even born. Those medical professionals who neglect to notice or treat an infection in the mother which results in brain damage may be held liable in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Jaundice is a common condition in newborns which involves a yellowing of the skin and eyes. If left untreated, jaundice can degenerate into a type of brain damage called kernicterus. New parents should keep an eye out for yellow skin or eyes, and contact a physician immediately if these symptoms are observed. Responsible physicians will look for these signs long before you leave the hospital.
Some brain damage cases are more obvious than others. In some instances, hospital staff will immediately recognize warning signs shortly after the birth. Other symptoms may not surface until weeks, months, or even years after the child has been born when developmental delays become obvious.
All newborn babies are expected to frequently cry. Those with brain damage often cry much more often, for longer durations, and at a higher pitch. If you regularly have difficulty getting your baby to stop crying by feeding, changing, or consoling him or her, you should consult with your doctor immediately.
Not all brain damaged infants show physical symptoms, but many do. If you notice one or more of the following traits in your child, you should speak with a medical doctor ASAP:
- Abnormally small skull
- Large forehead
- Deformed facial features
- Abnormal spinal cord
- Trouble focusing eyes
It's better to be safe than sorry with these symptoms. If you think there is even a small chance that something is wrong with your child, get to a doctor's office as soon as you can.