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Birth is a physically demanding and traumatic experience for both the mother and infant. Medical techniques used to assist the birthing process have come a long way. However, even the most cutting edge practices are not foolproof.
One of the most common injuries sustained by infants during birth is brain bleeding, also known as brain hemorrhaging. Though its effect may range in severity, brain hemorrhaging during birth is often preventable. Ultimately, if your newborn has suffered a brain hemorrhage due to trauma or injury during birth, you may have a viable medical malpractice claim and should consult with a medical malpractice lawyer.
Our personal injury lawyers are here to help. Our nationwide birth injury lawyers can evaluate your case and help you strategize a path toward maximum compensation. If your newborn has suffered a brain injury during birth, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
newborn BRAIN BLEEDING statistics
According to a 2015 study published in Current Medicinal Chemistry, newborn brain hemorrhaging is the most common neurological disorder of newborns, occurring approximately 3.5 times per 1,000 live births. Notwithstanding the simultaneous increase of preterm birthrates and survival rates, the incidence rate of newborn brain hemorrhaging has remained steady over the past two decades.
According to the same study, perhaps the most important predictor of brain hemorrhage in infants is their gestational age (the newborn’s age measured from the initiation of the pregnancy) at the time of birth. The more premature the birth, the greater the risk that the infant will suffer brain hemorrhaging; in fact, a brain hemorrhage occurs in nearly 15% of premature births, defined as births taking place less than 36 weeks after conception. Premature newborns are more susceptible to hemorrhaging than those born at a later gestational age largely because their blood vessels are more fragile and not fully developed.
Gestational age, and therefore the incidence of brain hemorrhage, is also strongly correlated with the weight of the newborn at the time of birth. Premature infants with weights less than 1500 g—considered a “very low” birth weight—have a 10% incidence rate of brain hemorrhage. Those weighing less than 1000 g—an “extremely low” birth weight—have an incidence rate of 20%. Finally, nearly half (45%) of infants weighing between 500–750 g at birth suffer brain hemorrhage.
Read more: Current Medicinal Chemistry, Neonatal Brain Hemorrhage (NBH) of Prematurity
What are the different kinds of newborn hemorrhages?
Newborn brain hemorrhage is categorized into four grades—I, II, III, and IV—based on the severity of bleeding. Intracranial bleeding—that is, bleeding within the cavity of the skull as opposed to outside—comes in many forms. Each is defined according to the specific region where the bleeding occurs. The following are some examples of intracranial bleeding that might occur during birth.
- Subdural hemorrhages.This form of hemorrhaging occurs when blood vessels rupture between the protective layer of membranes (collectively known as the meninges) lining the outside of the brain. The released blood collects between the outmost layer (known as the dura mater) and the second layer. Because the bleeding occurs beneath the dura mater, this form is known as “subdural.”
- Subarachnoid hemorrhages.This form of hemorrhaging occurs when vessels rupture between the brain and the bony skull. This space between the brain and skull is normally filled with cerebral spinal fluid. In the event of a hemorrhage, blood will mix with this fluid and increase pressure within the skull.
- Intraventricular hemorrhages. This form of hemorrhaging refers to bleeding in or around the ventricles of the brain, a network of cavities within the brain that contain and produce cerebrospinal fluid.
If your newborn has suffered any of these kinds of hemorrhages during birth, you should have your case evaluated by a lawyer who has experience with handling newborn brain bleeding cases as soon as possible. Our nationwide birth injury lawyers are here to help.
What are the causes of newborn brain hemorrhages?
The three stages of labor are: (1) cervical dilation, (2) delivery of the infant, and (3) passage of the placenta; brain hemorrhaging in newborns is generally caused by physical trauma during the second phase. For example, if a fetus is very premature, their fragile blood vessels are more susceptible to damage as the infant is pushed through the birth canal; conversely, when the fetus is larger than average for its gestational age (a condition known as fetal macrosomia), their larger size may cause difficulty when passing through the birth canal. Notwithstanding the greater development of the fetus associated with their gestational age, their larger size may also cause damage to their blood vessels if a vaginal birth is attempted.
The physical trauma of birth may, in general, lead to a number of complications ultimately resulting in brain hemorrhaging. This is largely circumstantial and depends on the conditions of the mother and fetus and on the circumstances of the birth in question. It is the responsibility of the supervising doctor to monitor the conditions and anticipate potential risks. Failure to do so may rise to the level of medical malpractice requiring the attention of a medical malpractice lawyer.
However, rather than a failure to take action, implementation of certain delivery techniques could also result in trauma leading to newborn brain hemorrhaging. For example, simply pulling or twisting of the newborn’s neck or head excessively during delivery can lead to damage. In particular, two tools used in delivery are often associated with brain hemorrhaging: forceps and vacuum extractors.
- This tool is essentially a set of birthing “tongs.” It is used as an auxiliary to the mother’s own contractions pushing the infant through the birth canal. As the contractions push the baby through, the forceps can be used to help guide and orient the newborn through the birth canal; however, improper use can ultimately lead to injuries ranging from cuts and bruises to intracranial hemorrhage.
- Vacuum Extractors. This tool is often used as a more modern alternative to forceps. Where forceps are used to guide the baby through the birth canal using their tong-like clasps, vacuum extractors perform the same task by applying suction to the infant’s head as the mother pushes through each contraction; however, vacuum extraction comes with risks similar to those associated with forceps. In particular, because of the risk of intraventricular hemorrhage, vacuum extraction is not recommended for fetuses weighing less than 2500 g.
Misuse of forceps and vacuum extractors can rise to the level of medical malpractice requiring the attention of a medical malpractice lawyer. Ultimately, a cesarean section (C-section) may be more appropriate than using either of these tools; a doctor’s failure to recognize this may also rise to the level of malpractice. If your newborn has suffered brain damage due to misapplied delivery techniques, do not hesitate to contact our nationwide birth injury lawyers today.
Read more: Vacuum-Assisted Vaginal Delivery
What do I do if my child was injured during birth?
Regardless of the circumstance, medical malpractice cases present unique and significant obstacles to plaintiffs seeking compensation. Accordingly, if your newborn suffered brain hemorrhaging during birth, you may have a viable medical malpractice case and are highly encouraged to reach out to Zinda Law Group lawyers about your newborn’s brain bleeding as soon as possible. Our nationwide birth injury lawyers can evaluate your case and help you prove either medical negligence or malpractice occurred and forge a path to compensation.
Some high points in this area of law are as follows.
Medical negligence is the most common cause of action brought in medical malpractice cases. It requires proving four elements. They are as follows:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff.
- The defendant breached that duty of care.
- The plaintiff sustained injuries.
- The defendant’s breach was the cause of the injury.
Proving the first element—duty of care—in the medical malpractice context requires showing that the medical provider did not operate according to the normal “standard of care” in their area of expertise. Needless to say, medicine is a very complex area of specialization, and showing that your medical provider violated the standard of care generally requires expert testimony from other doctors.
Procuring and evaluating this expert advice can become complicated very quickly. It can also become prohibitively expensive. The lawyers experienced with newborn brain bleed cases at Zinda Law Group are prepared to evaluate and organize your facts, navigate the law, and help you argue the merits of your case.
Damages simply refers to the kinds of compensation you may receive in your case. There are two standard kinds of damages: economic and non-economic; economic damages refer to those that can be reduced to a monetary value (for example, your medical bills); non-economic damages refer to those that cannot be reduced to a monetary value (for example, pain and suffering). In the case of a birth injury, it may be particularly difficult to evaluate the pain and suffering of a newborn, but the Zinda Law Group lawyers knowledgeable about newborn brain bleeding are prepared to seek full compensation on behalf of your newborn.
There also exists a third and less common form of damages: punitive. Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, are meant not to compensate the victim but to punish the wrongful actor. Courts are generally reluctant to award this form of damages, but our medical malpractice lawyers are prepared to argue on this front as well.
Many states place a limit on how much courts may award to plaintiffs. Often, these caps and their associated exceptions are quite specific to each form of damage. Our nationwide birth injury lawyers can help you work with the limits and exceptions operating in your state.
Statute of Limitations
Finally, among the most consequential elements in any personal injury case is the governing statute of limitations. Each state sets a time limit after the date of the incident leading to an injury after which a plaintiff may no longer bring their case. The time limit is normally between 2–3 years, but this can vary and is often accompanied by exceptions; however, once the time limit has elapsed and any exceptions are exhausted, the governing statute of limitations acts as a near-virtual bar on your case.
If your child was injured during birth, you are highly advised to seek out a lawyer; newborn brain bleeding is a circumstance with which Zinda Law Group is familiar, and we are prepared to thoroughly evaluate your case. Our personal injury attorneys know how to help.
OUR medical malpractice lawyers CAN HELP
If your newborn has suffered brain hemorrhaging during birth, you may have a viable medical malpractice claim and should have your case evaluated by an attorney. Medical malpractice cases are often factually and legally complex, so plaintiffs seeking compensation in this area of law must face a number of specialized barriers. You do not have to overcome these alone.
Furthermore, at Zinda Law Group, we believe no victim of medical malpractice—regardless of the circumstances—should lack excellent legal representation. We pride ourselves in offering that representation. Tell our medical malpractice lawyers about your case, and we will tell you how we can help.
If your newborn has suffered a birth injury, do not hesitate to have your case evaluated by a legal specialist, a newborn brain bleeding lawyer today. Call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation with our nationwide birth injury lawyers. You pay nothing unless we win your case; that is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
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