Your heart probably hurts a little when you see your child struggle. But when you know their difficulties may have come from an error by a Florida doctor or nurse, you may feel additional emotions, like anger and a need for justice. Take a closer look at how you can know whether a doctor was responsible for your child’s brain injury at birth — and what you can do about it.

The Most Common Causes of Brain Injuries at Birth

Brain injuries in infants can have many natural or traumatic causes. Natural causes of brain injuries include the following:

  • Stroke
  • Seizure
  • Infection

In many cases, these kinds of injuries happen without any negligence by medical providers. Instead, they happen because of pre-existing conditions or circumstances outside the healthcare provider’s control.

Occasionally, these injuries, although natural, might have been anticipated and prevented. For example, if a doctor provides substandard care after determining that a fetus is in distress, the baby may suffer brain damage from a preventable stroke.

Trauma can also cause a brain injury at birth. For example, rough handling can cause the brain to shift inside the skull, causing it to bruise and bleed.

Oxygen deprivation is another common cause of brain-related birth injury. Until the baby breathes independently, it depends on the mother’s supply of oxygen-rich blood to sustain the brain.

When the child’s blood supply gets disrupted, they can develop a condition called cerebral hypoxia. Possible causes of cerebral hypoxia include cord compression and medication errors. Even if healthcare providers react promptly by providing the correct treatment, the brain may have already suffered permanent damage.

Signs and Symptoms of Brain Injuries in Infants

You might spot some immediate signs that your child has suffered brain damage. Newborns might cry constantly or rarely. The child might have paralysis in one or more of their limbs or move stiffly. They may also have abnormal nursing or eating behaviors.

Other symptoms might appear later. The child might miss developmental milestones, like rolling over, crawling, or talking when expected. They might also miss growth milestones as they do not gain weight or grow to the expected height.

How Medical Negligence Can Lead to Brain Injuries

Not all neonatal brain injuries result from medical negligence. Many injuries result from medical conditions that happen even when healthcare providers supply reasonable or exemplary medical care.

Medical negligence occurs when a healthcare provider fails to meet the professional standard of care. Negligence can cause brain injuries in a few ways, including:

  • Failing to diagnose a condition that could lead to brain injuries
  • Neglecting to monitor the child or respond if they suffer distress
  • Providing careless treatment that injures the child or mother during delivery
  • Mixing up files or test results that result in incorrect treatment
  • Administering the wrong anesthetic or drug

To prove medical negligence, your Florida birth injury attorney must provide certain evidence.

This evidence will need to show that the medical professional meets these conditions:

  • They established the doctor-patient relationship with you
  • They breached their medical duty by providing incompetent or unskilled care
  • They caused your baby’s injuries that resulted in financial or quality-of-life losses

Proof of these elements can come from witness statements and medical records. It can also come from testimony by a medical expert.

Steps to Take if You Suspect Medical Malpractice

If you suspect your child’s brain injuries resulted from medical malpractice, you should consider taking the following steps:

  • Gather your child’s medical records
  • Document your child’s symptoms
  • Consult a doctor to determine if your child suffered brain damage

Once you have information that supports your suspicions, you should contact a Florida brain injury lawyer. The attorney can review your case and explain your legal options.

Legal Options for Families Impacted by Birth Injuries

Most medical malpractice cases begin with an insurance claim. Your lawyer will prepare a claim and submit it to the medical provider’s malpractice insurer. The insurer then investigates the claim and determines whether to pay or deny it.

Your Florida birth injury attorney battles insurers to overcome claim denials and negotiate for a fair settlement. The lawyer can file a lawsuit if the medical provider’s insurer refuses to settle.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Brain Injuries at Birth

What Causes Brain Injury in Babies?

Brain injuries can result from trauma or medical conditions, including the following:

  • Maternal bleeding
  • Brain hemorrhage
  • Axonal tears from rough handling
  • Cerebral contusions
  • Oxygen deprivation
  • Stroke
  • Seizure
  • Infection

These conditions can cause brain cells to die, resulting in permanent brain damage.

Can a Child Fully Recover From Brain Damage?

Brain damage sustained at birth can remain throughout the child’s life. However, occupational and physical therapy may help the child recover functions performed by damaged brain regions.

What Is the Prognosis for a Newborn Brain Injury?

The prognosis for a newborn brain injury depends on the extent and location of the injury. Some children have permanent physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities. Other children overcome some or all of the symptoms resulting from permanent brain damage.

Which Disability Can Be Caused by a Brain Injury at Birth?

In some cases, the child will suffer physical symptoms. Cerebral palsy, for example, can cause weakness and muscle spasms. A child may also suffer cognitive problems, including learning disabilities and memory problems. Some of the most troubling symptoms are emotional, including depression, irritability, and a lack of empathy.

Learn More From a Compassionate Birth Injury Lawyer in Florida

A birth injury can threaten your finances and your child’s future. As a boutique, focused law firm, Ratzan Weissman & Boldt takes on only a select number of cases to ensure our clients receive exceptional personal attention. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your child’s injury and your options under Florida law today.