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Infant brain damage among the most serious birth injuries


Even in this day of modern medicine, delivering a baby still presents risks. This is why obstetricians, anesthesiologists and nurses do everything they can to avoid serious complications during delivery. Parents trust these health-care professionals to make critical decisions to ensure that both mother and baby are safe. A single error, however, can lead to a birth injury that can change an infant's life forever. If a newborn has been injured by a negligent doctor, then the amount of compensation may depend on the type of birth injury and how much care the baby will require.

Brain damage is one type of birth injury. Babies who have experienced physical trauma during labor and delivery, were exposed to infections while inside the mother's body or contract infant jaundice are likely to suffer brain damage. When infants are born, they normally begin to breathe by themselves within a few seconds. If an infant does not breathe on his or her own, doctors must do something to prevent oxygen deprivation, which can have among the worst lasting effects such as impaired vision and cerebral palsy.

Physicians who fail to make diligent efforts to prevent oxygen deprivation can be held accountable through a medical malpractice claim. The parents of the baby can file a claim and cite errors committed by health-care professionals who oversaw labor and delivery. The claim must prove, however, that a doctor's negligence led to the birth injury. If negligence is proven, a court typically awards some level of compensation to the plaintiffs.

Medical malpractice claims are legally complex and require expert testimony. Parents who plan to file such claims should first learn about their legal rights. They can consult with those who have dealt with such cases and speak with knowledgeable legal professionals who are well versed in the legal system.

Source: Birthinjuryguide.org, "Infant brain damage," accessed on Jan. 14, 2015

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