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Birth Injuries Resulting in Neurological Damage

Chicago birth injury lawyer for nerve damage

Help With Injuries to the Brain, Spine, and Nervous System - Illinois Medical Malpractice Attorney

The process of birth can be traumatic for a child, and an infant may be placed under a great deal of physical strain during labor and delivery. Injuries that may occur during birth can range from mild to severe, but damage to the nervous system can be especially harmful, since it is often irreversible. Doctors and nurses should closely monitor an infant during birth and follow the proper procedures to avoid causing neurological damage.

Types of Neurological Birth Injuries

The nervous system sends signals from the brain through the spinal cord to all parts of a person's body. Damage to the brain, spine, or other nerves can result in paralysis of certain body parts, developmental disorders, and other life-long conditions. Types of neurological damage that can occur during birth include:

  • Brain injuries - Damage to the brain can occur because of asphyxia, infections, physical trauma, or swelling or bleeding that cuts off blood flow. This may lead to conditions such as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), cystic encephalomalacia, or periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), all of which involve permanent and irreparable damage to brain tissue. In many cases, brain injuries result in Cerebral Palsy, intellectual disabilities, and/or impairments to vision, hearing, and speech.
  • Spine injuries - Trauma during birth may result in damage to the spinal cord. This can occur if vertebrae in the spine are fractured, if excessive pressure is placed on the spinal cord, or if the neck or back are twisted in a way that results in nerves in the spinal cord being ruptured or torn. Depending on the level of the spine where the injury occurs, the child may experience paralysis in different parts of the body, and if the spinal cord is damaged in the neck, an infant may be permanently unable to breathe without the assistance of a ventilator.
  • Brachial plexus injuries - If excessive force is applied to an infant's arm or shoulder during delivery, this can cause damage to the bundle of nerves known as the brachial plexus. This can result in conditions such as Erb's Palsy, Klumpke's Palsy, or paralysis in the arm, wrist, hand, and fingers.
  • Cranial nerve injuries - Cranial nerves connect the brain directly with organs in the head, neck, and torso, including the eyes, ears, nose, and vocal cords. If a child's neck is improperly twisted or pulled during delivery (which may occur if forceps or vacuum extractors are not used correctly), these nerves can be damaged. Injuries to facial nerves may result in spasms or paralysis in the facial muscles, eyelids, or the muscles that control eye movement. Damage to the laryngeal nerve can impair a child's ability to swallow or breathe, and it can also result in paralysis of the vocal cords. In serious cases, the nerve controlling the diaphragm may be damaged, leading to respiratory problems.

Assistance For a Child With Neurological Damage

In many cases, injuries to the nervous system are permanent, and they can lead to life-long disabilities. Even relatively mild nerve damage can be very painful, and it may require surgery and extensive physical therapy. The costs of caring for a child who has experienced this type of injury can be very high. While some birth injuries are unavoidable, neurological damage often occurs because of medical negligence. In these cases, parents should be sure to understand their options for taking legal action. At the Birth Injury Law Alliance, we can help you determine the steps you can take, and we will work with you to make sure your child receives the care they deserve. To schedule a free consultation, contact us today by calling 312-945-1300.

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