Birth injuries and the damages they bring are compelling, yet perfectly preventable. As it turns out, they’re also curable—provided the doctors know where to look.
Unfortunately, the medical staff which tended to a Pennsylvania-based mother and her baby haven’t been knowledgeable enough. The mother was presented to the nearest medical facility for contractions, which were later found to be excessive—a condition known as tachystole. Despite her situation, the staff administered her with Pitocin, a drug used to induce contractions.
Continued augmentation of Pitocin was apparent even though the mother is already experiencing much more contractions than normal. Hours passed and the baby’s heartrate slowed, and there was also hypoxia (oxygen deprivation). These situations required a C-section delivery done promptly, but the staff failed to do so. In the end, the baby suffered permanent brain damage due to severe hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), which results from a lack of oxygen in the brain.
Among the number of cases a typical Bronx birth injury attorney handles, permanent brain damage by way of HIE is pretty common. While it is not unfamiliar, it would’ve been prevented (and even cured) by administering a universally accepted procedure called brain cooling.
Brain cooling has long been hailed effective, and rightfully so. Its usefulness was confirmed when researchers identified a protective mechanism which activates when the body is cooled—one that prevents the loss of brain cells and their connections. Cooling also slows the production of harmful substances in the brain stemming from oxygen deprivation.
These special properties of cooling can be attributed to various proteins in the brain, which are known as ‘cold-shock’ proteins. One protein, named, RBM3 has been linked to preventing brain cell death. When it comes to effectiveness, cooling has numbers that back it up: Children who were cooled as babies have minimal risks of having neurological disabilities, and were more likely to have IQ scores over 85.
The point here, though, is that cooling should be administered as soon as it is needed, since HIE and its effects could happen during or immediately after birth. Given its effectiveness, brain cooling can prevent and even reverse permanent brain damage, subsequently letting the child live a healthy, normal life. If such treatment wasn’t administered appropriately, then something went wrong with the way the medical staff worked.
For patients in New York, this is where the services of experienced birth injury lawyers from Bronx firms like the Law Offices of Joseph Lichtenstein come in. Since cooling is a standard procedure for combating HIE and preventing brain damage, failing to administer it as needed is enough ground for a negligence lawsuit. A child’s normal life rests in the hands that perform it, after all.
(Source: Birth Injury Lawsuit Claims Negligence Led To Lifelong Disabilities, Injury Lawyer News, April 3, 2015)