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Birth Injuries that Lead to Brain Injuries

birth injury

A brain injury can be a devastating, lifelong injury. Brain injuries caused by a birth injuries may be due to one of many complications, and can result in numerous injuries and disabilities. When a personal injury is caused by the mistake or negligence of a medical professional, medical negligence may have occurred. If your infant sustained a birth injury resulting in a brain injury at birth, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney right away; don’t miss the statute of limitations.

Common types of brain injury from birth injuries

The most common forms of birth injuries that lead to brain injury include brachial plexus injuries (Erb’s palsy), fractures, hematoma, subdural and intracranial hemorrhage, spinal cord injuries, paralysis and oxygen deprivation.

Mild brain injuries include fracture, subdural hematoma / subdural hemorrhage – bleeding between the covering of the brain (dura) and the surface of the brain.

Moderate injuries include oxygen deprivation, more serious fractures, bleeding or subdural hemorrhage / subdural hematoma.

Severe subdural hemorrhages involve a sizeable collection of blood that can put pressure on the brain, resulting in seizures or high bilirubin levels. When a subdural hematoma occurs as a result of a trauma, it is called an “acute” subdural hematoma and is one of the deadliest types of head injuries. The bleeding fills the area around the brain very rapidly and compresses brain tissue; this often causes brain injury or even death.

Severe intraventricular hemorrhages affect brain tissue as blood enters the ventricles of the brain; it can result in an underdeveloped brain. Intraventricular hemorrhages are particularly dangerous to infants as we are born with weak blood vessels next to the ventricles.

Intraventricular hemorrhage is a significant risk factor for cerebral palsy, although it is most common in premature babies who have experienced respiratory distress syndrome, collapsed lung or high blood pressure. An infant’s risk of developing an intraventricular hemorrhage decreases after the first 48 hours post birth.

Hydrocephalus is a medical condition in which there is an unusual buildup of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain’s cavities called ventricles. Hydrocephalus is sometimes a congenital condition, but it can also occur as a result of head trauma before or during birth. The severity of the condition depends on several factors. When the size of the skull increases, for example, CSF may continue to flow normally along the ventricles because the still-growing skull is elastic and prevents narrowing of the cranial passages. The most obvious symptoms of hydrocephalus in babies are an abnormally large head or an unexpected growth in the head’s circumference. Hydrocephalus may also cause headaches, irritability, vomiting, seizures and sleepiness or even comas.

Birth injury facts and statistics

The number of birth injuries reported in the United States has decreased in recent decades, but the risk is still very real to those who are affected:

  • One in 9,714 U.S. births is affected by a birth injury.
  • Approximately 28,000 birth injuries are reported in the U.S. each year.
  • The National Healthcare Quality Report estimates that 5.08/1000 birth injuries presented in female infants, while 6.68/1000 birth injuries occurred to male infants.
  • Rural births are 33-times more likely to result in birth injury than urban births.

In 2006 alone, 157,000 birth injuries might have been avoidable. With so many preventable birth injuries occurring, we know that there is much room for improving standards of care observed by doctors and hospitals. Even a great healthcare provider can make a mistake or become negligent in a specific circumstance; they should be held accountable for their error.

The Seattle personal injury attorneys at Morrow Kidman Tinker Macey-Cushman, PLLC have years of experience representing families harmed by medical malpractice, birth injuries and other personal injuries. We seek justice for patients who have been harmed by preventable medical errors including wrongful death, catastrophic injuries and traumatic brain injuries in Seattle and across Washington State. There are no fees or expenses to file a personal injury case as we only receive payment if we recover damages on your behalf. Do not delay; personal injury claims come with a statute of limitations, which means they must be filed within a certain time frame of the injury.

Call us now at 206-842-1000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our compassionate, experienced Seattle injury lawyers. We are ready to fight for you.