Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Medical groups call for better investigating after birth injuries

Undoubtedly, birth injuries are some of the most tragic instances of medical practice that occur in Pennsylvania and the rest of the country. There are few things as heart-wrenching as an otherwise healthy baby suffering permanent disabilities because of negligence on behalf of a doctor or nurse.

However, it isn’t always easy to determine the cause of neonatal encephalopathy, or newborn brain disorder or injury. That’s why birth injury lawsuits often involve a lengthy investigation to determine exactly what went wrong and if it could have been prevented.

The good news is that advancements in technology are beginning to take out some of the guesswork. For example, advancements in imaging can now help determine how severe a newborn's brain injury is and when it likely occurred.

This makes it easier to hold negligent parties responsible for brain injuries while also identifying issues that can help prevent future cases of neonatal encephalopathy.

In a recently-released report, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics advised that all instances of neonatal encephalopathy should be carefully studied in order to better understand how they occur and ways they can be prevented.

In the past, the primary focus was on a lack of oxygen during the birth process, but the groups said that other factors should also be considered as well, such as the mother’s medical history, problems with the placenta, and other issues that arose during the pregnancy, labor or delivery.

Hopefully, by understanding how birth injuries occur and holding the right parties accountable, fewer of these tragic cases will occur in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

Source: HealthDay, "Spotting cause of newborn brain injury could aid prevention, report says," April 3, 2014

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