What is the Prognosis for Infants with Brain Damage?
Infant birth injuries are surprisingly common, affecting roughly 28,000 infants in the United States each year. Slightly more birth injuries affect male infants each year than female infants. Types of birth injuries, including infant brain damage, can vary significantly in type in severity. The prognosis for a baby who suffered brain damage at birth is similarly variable, depending on the severity of the initial trauma and its resulting impact on the brain. Some infants may experience significant gains in functional abilities through the recovery process, while for others, the prognosis is less encouraging. In the worst cases of infant brain damage, a child’s current condition can be expected for the rest of their lives. For instance, for a child who experiences paralysis in certain limbs or full quadriplegia, this prognosis is typically permanent.
If your child sustained permanent brain damage at birth, you can get more information about taking legal action against a negligent medical professional by calling 866-708-8617. An attorney is available immediately to assist you free of charge.
Newborn Brain Damage Outcomes
It is difficult to generalize regarding the exact long-term outcome that will result from different types of infant brain damage. However, there are some general assumptions and guidelines that have become universally accepted among the medical community. Most importantly, mild infant brain damage tends to result in milder symptoms than more severe injuries. Mild brain damage may slow a child’s development, result in some level of cognitive impairment, and reduce a child’s ability to read social cues and communicate with others. Some mild cases of brain injury will resolve without medical treatment, as long as the child is closely monitored for any worsening symptoms. Other mild to moderate brain damage cases result in only a lower number of symptoms, some of which can be managed with proper treatment.
On the other hand, moderate to severe brain damage in newborns tends to result in more pronounced, permanent symptoms and irreversible conditions like Cerebral Palsy. An infant cannot be expected to fully recover from severe brain damage. A severe infant brain injury may result in symptoms including seizures, extreme cognitive and/or developmental disabilities, and inflammation in the skull. In some situations, a newborn will require emergency surgery, such as a decompressive craniectomy, to prevent further damage. For other symptoms caused by severe brain damage, doctors may prescribe anti-seizure medications, diuretics to reduce fluid build-up in the brain, or assistive devices that help with movement or functional activities. Although these can aid in improving a child’s life as they age, a severe case of infant brain damage is likely to have a less positive long-term outcome than a more mild case.
How do they Determine a Child’s Prognosis?
The best way to determine if your child is suffering from infant brain damage and to further determine your child’s prognosis is to discuss their specific brain damage and associated symptoms with a knowledgeable medical provider. Often, a neurologist will run a battery of tests and determine whether the symptoms associated with brain damage will likely resolve over time, whether your infant may suffer some permanent level of disability, or whether the site of brain damage is likely to affect certain challenges with treatment options. Even some conditions arising from irreversible infant brain damage can be effectively managed through therapy, medications, surgery or some combination of the like. For example, behavioral medications are often prescribed to control resulting symptoms like hyperactivity, attention deficit disorders, or aggression.
Why Cause of Infant Brain Damage Impacts Prognosis
The severity and type of brain injury plays an important role in determining the long-term outcome for the child. Some infant brain injuries can occur during labor or birth. One of the most common causes of infant brain injury during delivery is a lack of oxygen, which has a number of potential sources, from problems with the umbilical cord, to the child’s position in the birth canal. Additionally, improper use of delivery assistance tools like forceps can sometimes cause head trauma that results in infant brain damage.
Infant brain injury can also result from non-traumatic causes like meningitis, a specific type of inflammation caused by viral or bacterial infection or stroke. If a mother has an infection like meningitis during pregnancy and it goes undiagnosed, the fetus may contract the disease from her and experience permanent consequences. Each of these causes can result in brain damage of differing severities. By pinpointing the cause of the injury, your child’s doctor can provide a more effective treatment plan and prognosis.
Can I Sue if my Baby has Permanent Brain Damage in New Jersey?
Proper medical treatment is essential to reducing the negative effects of brain injuries on a child. If a doctor or medical team fails to follow reasonably accepted practices or standards of care in their field when caring for you or your child during pregnancy, labor and delivery, or thereafter, you may have a legal cause of action. A successful lawsuit can provide significant compensation to pay for continuing care, past medical bills, necessary accommodations in the home or elsewhere, and the undue suffering that you and your family were forced to bear.
Our experienced team can evaluate your child’s case and provide further information regarding whether your child might have suffered from medical malpractice before, during, or immediately after birth. If mistakes or inadequacies in healthcare delivery were responsible for your child’s brain damage, we dedicate all of our knowledge and resources to obtain maximum damages on your child’s behalf. Contact us now at 866-708-8617 or fill out our online form for a free consultation.