Brain Injuries During Labor and Delivery

There can be many causes of neonatal brain damage resulting from oxygen deprivation.  During labor (as well as delivery), the umbilcal cord can act as a compression cord cutting off or diminishing oxygen to the baby.  During labor, proper evaluation and response to fetal heart distress is key to minimizing or preventing neonatal brain damage.  Electronic monitoring of the baby's fetal heart gives obstetrical staff real time visual readout of the baby's response to the demands of labor.  The electronic fetal monitor (EFM) produces a strip which shows the baby's heart rate response to labor contradictions.  Obstetrical staff analyze the strip to ascertain if the baby's fetal heart responses or reactive or non reactive, normal or worrisome.  Worrisome pattern may indicate the baby is not receive adequate oxygen to maintain its organs including brain.  If there are ominous signs, quick action is needed.  Staff responses may include adjusting medications, attempts to rotate or move the child while in the womb in response to fetal distress due to its position, address umbilical cord compression by certain maneuvers and/or emergency cesarean section.  Since medications. stresses of labor, position, cord compression can all cause reduced oxygen to the baby, appropriate monitoring is warranted.  If necessary, surgical intervention may be necessary.  

Oxygen deprivation to an infant during labor and delivery can lead to lifelong brain damage and life long medical and educational services for the newborn. In reviewing the claim, Attorney Kolpan's office will conduct an internal review of the mother's and baby's records, especially the fetal heart records and strip, then engage the expert services of an obstetrician gynecologist, neo natologist and/or genecticist to determine whether the health providers failed to comply with the standards of care for labor and delivery, and whether such failure(s) likely caused the child's condition.  Experts are required to analyze the medical history, including the mothers prenatal and regular medical history to understand the nature of the pregnancy, its risks, the mother and fetus' condition throughout the pregancy, labor, delivery and post delivery.  As with other medical malpractice cases, the plaintiff must prove that the health provider was negligent (i.e., deviated from the standard of care of acceptable medical practice and the provider's negligence was the likely (or sometimes referred to as the proximate) cause of the child's injuries.

If there a viable legal claim because the defendant's actions or inactions caused the child injury, Attorney Kolpan's office may also engage a vocational, economist and life care expert to assess the infant's current and future harms and recommend future life care plan including an educational plan and medical treatment plan.  The economist will provide expert testimony of the current (present value) cost of the lifelong life care plan.

Though a child's injuries may become apparent later in their development, it is important to have a potential claim reviewed as early as possible because there are limitations and deadlines when such cases must be filed.  If you do not adhere to the deadlines, a case can be dismissed.

We invite you read more about brain injury litigation here on our website. For further information, you may contact our office online or call us at 617-426-2558.