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Examining brain injuries sustained during delivery

Most in New York City may view the delivery process as a routine procedure given the many advances made in obstetrical medicine in recent years. Yet delivering a baby is still a delicate procedure during which any delays can pose life-threatening problems. Of the complications that can result from delays during delivery, one of the most traumatic may be a brain injury to the baby.

Significant drops or spikes in a mother's blood pressure or a lack of blood flow during contractions can lead to deprivation of oxygen to a baby's brain. According to the Brain Injury Association of America, this can result in one of two types of injuries. An anoxic brain injury occurs when oxygen flow to the brain is completely cut off. A hypoxic brain injury describes a scenario were that flow is only partially restricted, yet still to the point of being dangerous. With either injury, the chance of sustaining severe brain damage may be extremely high.

The most tragic aspect of newborn brain injuries is that many of them may be preventable. A study shared by MedicineNet.com showed human error was the most common cause of brain damage and death due to limited oxygen flow to the brain during delivery. The error rates observed in the study were broken down as follows:

  •          14 percent due to a lack of clinical knowledge
  •          11 percent due to failures to adhere to clinical guidelines
  •          10 percent due to failures to seek assistance from senior medical staff
  •          4 percent due to drug administration errors

The treatment and support costs that result from brain injuries sustained during delivery may be massive. Couple that with the emotional toll that such injuries may exact on families, and it may be easier to see why some seek legal action in these situations. 

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