Estimates suggest that about one out of every 200 children born in England suffer brain injuries soon after birth, which can result in severe development problems, health risks and disabilities such as cerebral palsy.
U.K. researchers published a study in the medical journal The BMJ’s ADC Fetal & Neonatal last month, analyzing the rate of birth brain injuries among newborns, in hopes of developing better methods of preventing such problems.
The study involved a retrospective review of data from the National Neonatal Research Database in England, Wales, and Scotland, from 2010 and 2011. Researchers looked for brain injuries that occurred soon after birth, detecting those injuries by looking for reports of infant seizures, hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy, stroke, intracranial hemorrhage, central nervous system infections and other symptoms of head trauma.
According to the findings, the rate of brain injuries at birth was about five for every 1,000 children, with a large difference when the researchers accounted for preterm verse term births. At that point, the researchers estimate that in 2015 there were about 3.47 brain injuries among every 1,000 term births, and 25.88 per 1,000 for preterm births. That resulted in an average of 5.14 per every 1,000 births overall in England.
Brain injuries specifically, and birth injuries overall, can occur due to a variety of reasons, from botched deliveries due to the use of vacuum extraction and forceps, to oxygen deprivation, which can be caused by a variety of factors.
They can result in developmental problems, facial nerve damage, life-long disabilities and death. One of the most widely known infant brain injury side effects is cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that is usually attributed to brain damage suffered before, during or shortly after birth. A lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain may result in the irreversible damage that leaves them with a life-time disability, including limitations on motor function and other developmental problems.
In many cases, cerebral palsy is caused by a medical mistake, where the child’s brain was deprived of oxygen at, during or before birth.
While cerebral palsy may occur without an error, when the exercise of the proper standards of medical care could have prevented the child’s brain from being deprived of oxygen, parents may be able to investigate potential cerebral palsy negligence lawsuits earlier, to determine whether financial compensation may be available for the child.