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Birth injury prevention takes front seat

Learning that a child has sustained a brain injury can be frightening for parents, especially when the child is a newborn baby. Tragically, however, incidents of medical malpractice relating to neonatal brain injuries are not entirely uncommon because such medical conditions can be overlooked and/or misdiagnosed by physicians, leading to significant delays in treatment. It's for that reason that two medical organizations are promoting efforts to raise awareness of neonatal brain injuries in hopes of improving prevention techniques and treatments.

Pediatricians and obstetricians are better equipped to accurately diagnose and treat neonatal brain injuries than ever before. Not only can physicians correctly identify the age and severity of a newborn baby's injury by using more advanced brain imaging technology but they can treat such conditions and more effectively prevent long-term brain damage with therapies like neonatal hypothermia. The effectiveness of such treatments depends heavily, however, on how and when they are administered.

In order to encourage pediatricians and obstetricians to be in more proactive about diagnosing and treating birth injury cases early, two leading medical organizations are placing more emphasis on identifying factors that contribute to brain injuries in neonatal patients. The two groups collaborated to establish new guidelines for physicians around the country, shifting the focus from issues like oxygen deprivation and birthing conditions to other possible variables.

Recognizing that some brain injuries are sustained prior to birth, the groups suggest that physicians take other factors into consideration like possible infections, the mother’s health and family history. Ultimately, it is hoped that accurately identifying the cause of a brain-related birth injury can help to develop more effective prevention guidelines in the future.

Source: medicalexpress.com, “Spotting cause of newborn brain injury could aid prevention, report says,” April 3, 2014

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