Clarksville Birth Injury and Cerebral Palsy Lawyer
The Aldred Law Firm has helped many families throughout Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, and South Carolina make meaningful financial recoveries for birth injuries occurring because of the negligence of healthcare providers, including the military. Attorney Aldred understands both the legal side of birth injury lawsuits and the medical side and has experience reading fetal heart monitor strips and medical records. He and his experts can establish whether intervention would have resulted in a perfectly healthy baby, instead of a child who will require a lifetime of care. If you suspect your baby suffered a birth injury or brain injury at birth, we are here to help.
What is a Birth Injury?
A birth injury occurs when damage to the infant happens during the process of birth. Lack of oxygen or blood flow during birth can cause brain damage called hypoxic-ischemic injury. To have a valid birth injury claim, medical negligence must have taken place leading directly to the birth injury. Medical negligence is an act or omission (failure to act) by a medical professional that deviates from the accepted medical standard of care. Attorney Aldred has extensive experience handling these lawsuits and can determine whether your child was injured due to medical malpractice.
Was the Umbilical Cord Wrapped Around Your Baby’s Neck?
It is common in childbirth for a baby to have the umbilical cord wrapped around its neck. What is not common is for the delivery team to ignore the baby’s calls for help as seen on the fetal heart rate monitor and not intervene. Decelerations of the fetal heart rate, which is displayed on the top part of the screen, is a call from the baby for help to prevent brain damage. This often goes on quite a while before it is too late to prevent permanent brain damage or even death. They delivery team may say, “There was nothing we could do because the cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck.” THAT IS NOT TRUE! The parents of the children pictured below did not believe them and neither should you.
Fetal Heart Rate of Infant - Call for Help
What are some causes of birth injuries?
There are countless situations that can lead to a birth injury. Some of the most common include:
- Not watching the Fetal Heart Rate (FHR) monitor
- Misuse of Pitocin (PIT)
- Cord prolapse
- Placental abruption
- Preterm labor
- Untreated infection
- Premature rupture of membrane
- Improper use of vacuum extractor
- Failure to give antibiotics during pregnancy
- Poor management of hyper stimulation
- Being sent home after water broke or while in labor
What are Common Signs and Symptoms of a Birth Injury?
There are warning signs that parents and caregivers could look for to detect if an injury may have occurred at birth. About 80% of developmental delays and permanent brain damage are caused by negligent birth injury.
If your baby displays any of the following symptoms, they may have suffered a birth injury:
- Difficulty breathing
- Spells of inconsolable crying
- They were placed in the NICU
- MRI shows signs of brain damage
- Any seizures, even if controlled by medication
- Speech delays or delays in making normal baby sounds
- Not smiling by approximately two months of age
- Delay in sucking more than 24 hours
- Problems eating or keeping food down
- Vomiting or spitting up a lot after most feedings
- Arching back or throwing head back when lying on side
- Unusual motion of arms or legs or "bicycling legs"
- Delay in rolling over, sitting up, or crawling
- Not walking by approximately one year of age
- Creeping on hands and knees and not crawling
Things A Parent Is Told (Not True)
There are several things that should raise a red flag.
If you are told any of the following, your child may have suffered a birth injury:
- Your baby has low APGAR scores
- Your baby's heart rate was low during birth
- Your baby was stuck in the birth canal too long
- The myelination process is abnormal
- There were decelerations in the fetal heart rate (FHR)
- Medical staff told you this is a birth defect or metabolic abnormality
- Things just did not go well
What Is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a condition in which part of the brain is injured due to lack of nutrients, oxygen, or circulation. Many cerebral palsy cases occur during the birth process. If a baby is deprived of oxygen during birth, it can cause cerebral palsy. This is a permanent condition which afflicts the developing child's muscle control and brain development.
Pursuing a cerebral palsy case involves:
- Extensive patient history investigations
- Consultations with medical specialists who give insight to your case
- Investigation into the records pertaining to the birth of your child
- Evaluation of all laws pertaining to your particular case
What Is HIE or Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy?
A hypoxic-ischemic episode occurs when a shortage of oxygen (hypoxia) also causes the fetal heart rate to slow and reduce blood flow (ischemia). If the hypoxic-ischemic episode is severe enough to damage the brain, it causes a brain injury known as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy or HIE. Of all the life-threatening conditions that are caused as a result of a medical error by a healthcare provider, the most serious birth injuries are caused when a lack of oxygen damages the infant’s brain. Infants with severe HIE may go on to develop profound lifelong injuries, including a severe form of cerebral palsy (CP) known as quadriplegic spastic cerebral palsy; baby seizure disorders, including epilepsy; impaired growth of the brain and skull (microcephaly); and global developmental delays.
Possible signs your child has suffered HIE include neonatal seizures, epileptic activity, low muscle tone (hypotonia), irregular heartbeat, irregular breathing, poor feeding ability, and low to very low activity levels. Immediately following delivery, HIE is indicated by very low Apgar scores at 1 and 5 minutes, baby seizures, and/or the need to resuscitate the newborn by using a bag-valve-mask (“bagging” the infant), administering supplemental oxygen, intubating the baby, and performing chest compressions on the baby. Newborns who suffer from HIE will have abnormal test results such as an umbilical cord blood gas test confirming metabolic acidosis, electroencephalogram (EEG) results documenting abnormal electrical activity in the brain, and abnormal brain MRI images documenting brain bleeding, brain lesions and which regions of the brain have been affected by dying brain cells (apoptosis) and damaged brain tissue (necrosis). Infants with HIE require neonatal intensive care and typically spend several weeks in the NICU and may be transferred, via ambulance or life flight, from the hospital where the birth occurred to a higher level NICU if the birth hospital does not have a high-level NICU.
What Is Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)?
Necrotizing Enterocolitis or NEC is a bowel disease developed by premature infants who have been fed cow milk based formula or supplement. The risk of a premature baby developing NEC is greatly multiplied when they are given cow milk (bovine) based formulas, usually while in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). Many baby formulas including Enfamil and Similac are cow milk based. NEC is an infection caused by bacteria in the infant’s bowel that causes inflammation and destroys the walls of the bowel causing stool to leak into the abdominal cavity. This can be fatal or require surgery to repair or remove the affected bowel. It can also cause sepsis (a blood infection). Even if the baby recovers from a severe case of NEC they will likely continue to have bowel problems later in life and possibly removal of part of their bowel. NEC is fatal in 25% to 50% of infants.
Doctors and hospitals know the safest feeding plan for infants is human mother’s milk or donor milk or sometimes non-bovine (non-cow milk) formula. Studies show that “premature babies fed human donor milk are less likely to develop the intestinal condition necrotizing enterocolitis than babies fed a standard premature infant formula derived from cows’ milk.” If your premature infant died or was diagnosed with NEC in the NICU and was fed a cow’s milk-based formula contact our office today.
Take Action Today for Your Child’s Sake
With new laws, your time to file a birth injury claim has been cut extremely short. It is important that you do not hesitate to act if you believe there was damage caused to your baby by medical negligence at birth. At the Aldred Law Firm, we work with you to file a claim and ensure that your child has the necessary funds to provide for their care for the rest of their life. If your child has suffered cerebral palsy, or any other kind of lifetime disability, we are here to help.
Why Chose the Aldred Law Firm?
Attorney William L. Aldred, Jr. is experienced in birth injury cases and understands the medical details that go into investigation of a birth injury. With more than 40 years of experience, he has the knowledge and experience necessary to build a winning case. The Aldred Law Firm will seek compensation for your child's injury to help cover the medical expenses you incurred at the time of the injury and help you cover the future costs of your child's needs when for the rest of their life including therapy, treatment, and rehabilitation.
If you think your child may have sustained a birth injury, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
New laws have cut the time period in which you can legally file your birth injury claim