Infant Brain Damage

Infant brain damage may be caused by medical malpractice or negligence. In some cases, brain damage at birth is immediately noticeable, while it may take longer to notice an issue in other children. If your baby is showing any signs of brain damage, birth injury attorneys with Sokolove Law may be able to help you pursue compensation for your child’s injuries.

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Diagnosing Brain Damage in Newborns

There are many types of neonatal brain damage, each of which may cause a wide range of symptoms or lead to long-term disabilities like cerebral palsy. Getting an accurate diagnosis can help you get your child the right treatment.

Doctors and other medical professionals may not always recognize brain damage in babies right after delivery or during routine checkups. If you notice any of the signs of traumatic brain injury in your newborn, tell your doctor what’s going on.

And even if you haven’t been able to get an official diagnosis but are seeing signs that something may be wrong, reach out to us. We have registered nurses on staff who can listen to what happened during delivery and may be able to help you understand what’s going on with your child.

If it turns out that your baby’s brain damage was a result of medical malpractice, you may be able to pursue legal compensation to help pay for treatments and other costs.

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You may be eligible for compensation. We may be able to help.

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How to Recognize Brain Damage in Babies

While brain damage in infants can be difficult to recognize, there are some specific symptoms and signs that can indicate infant brain damage has occurred. These range from physical symptoms to missed developmental milestones.

Brain Damage at Birth Symptoms

Some signs of brain damage at birth may include:

  • A head that appears smaller than it should be or a forehead that appears too large
  • Facial features that seem to be distorted
  • Neck stiffness
  • Irregular eye movements
  • Seizures within 48 hours of birth
  • Spinal cord deformities

Newborns who are brain damaged often display behavioral symptoms as well, which may include:

  • Continual crying that can’t be controlled
  • Fatigue
  • Unusually high levels of irritability

Signs of Brain Damage in Infants

Some symptoms of brain damage may not be clear until weeks or months after the baby is born. Symptoms of brain damage in infants are often tied to developmental delays, which involve missing certain physical milestones like sitting up, crawling, or walking.

For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a 6-month-old infant should be able to do the following:

  • Support their weight on their legs when standing up
  • Sit without needing support
  • Roll over in a back-to-front or front-to-back manner without help

Signs of a brain injury in a baby can also include issues like light sensitivity, trouble sleeping, and more. If your child has any of these or other symptoms, they may have been caused by a medical error.

Get a free case review today if your child has missed developmental milestones. One of our registered nurses can listen to your story to help you understand what may have happened and let you know if you may be able to pursue financial compensation for your child’s injury.

Infant Brain Damage Causes

One of the main causes of infant brain damage is asphyxia, which is when a baby’s brain doesn’t get the oxygen it needs to function properly. This can be caused by a doctor or nurse’s failure to notice the umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s throat. In these cases, the medical professional may be at fault for not addressing the situation in a timely manner.

Other common causes of infant brain damage include a doctor, health care provider, or medical professional:

  • Failing to spot certain health issues or complications that can affect the mother or baby before delivery
  • Making a mistake with a medical instrument like forceps or vacuum extractors and inflicting a head injury
  • Not ordering a cesarean section (C-section) and attempting to forcefully remove the baby from the birth canal

If you think your child could have suffered brain damage due to medical negligence or malpractice, we may be able to help. You don’t have to have an official diagnosis to contact us. Our caring and knowledgeable registered nurses are standing by to help answer your questions.

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Types of Brain Damage at Birth

There are three main types or ways to classify brain damage at birth:

  • Mild – These infant brain injuries include fractures that will heal or bleeding on the brain that will eventually stop without the need for treatment.
  • Moderate – This includes extensive bleeding as well as oxygen deprivation to the brain. Substantial fractures and subdural hemorrhages (a buildup of blood that can lead to pressure on the brain) also fall into this category.
  • Severe – Intraventricular hemorrhaging (bleeding near the ventricles or areas of the brain that hold cerebral spinal fluid) is an example of an injury that can lead to severe brain damage. It can put so much pressure on the brain that it causes nerve problems and other issues.

Get Help for Your Child’s Brain Injury

If your baby is showing any signs of possible brain damage, contact Sokolove Law as soon as you can. Medical malpractice or negligence by the health care professionals who delivered your baby could be to blame.

Over the last 40 years, we’ve helped families like yours recover more than $717 Million in compensation for medical mistakes that caused injuries at birth. Financial compensation can help pay for treatment, therapy, travel, and more.

We have registered nurses on staff who can help you understand more about what may be going on with your child. Get in touch with us for a free case review or no-obligation conversation now — our caring registered nurses are standing by to help.

Infant Brain Damage FAQs

How do I know if my baby has brain damage?

The signs of newborn brain damage can be hard to spot. Sometimes they’re obvious, such as distorted facial features, seizures, or unusual irritability. But, other times, brain damage in infants may not be apparent at birth. Signs might not even become obvious until the baby is a year old or older.

If you think something isn’t quite right with your child and suspect brain damage may have occurred, even if you don’t have a specific diagnosis, contact Sokolove Law. We have registered nurses on staff who can listen to your story and help you figure out next steps.

What causes brain damage at birth?

In many cases, medical malpractice or negligence at birth can lead to brain damage in infants. A medical error can occur immediately before, during, or after the delivery of a baby.

There are many causes of brain damage at birth that can be attributed to medical mistakes, including:

  • Misusing forceps or vacuum extractors
  • Failing to properly monitor any stress that could be affecting the mother or the fetus
  • Neglecting to perform a C-section

If you feel this may be the case with your child, fill out the form on this page to get in touch with one of Sokolove Law’s registered nurses. They have extensive labor and delivery experience and might be able to help determine what happened to your child.

What are symptoms of infant brain damage? 

Some symptoms of infant brain damage may be obvious from the start. The baby’s head may be smaller or larger than normal, or the child could suffer from seizures within 48 hours of birth. In other birth injury cases, infants may show behavioral signs like constant crying or irritability as well.

What are signs of a brain injury in babies?

Signs of baby brain damage may not be obvious at first but start to show themselves as the child gets older. Signs of brain injury in a baby may include not being able to sit or stand up without being supported.

Can you tell if a newborn has brain damage?

Signs of newborn brain damage can be hard to spot, especially from the time of birth to when the baby is about two months old. But sometimes parents are able to tell if something doesn’t quite seem right. If you think your child may be suffering from brain damage, contact Sokolove Law. We have registered nurses on staff who can listen to your story and help you figure out next steps.

What should I do if my infant has motor impairment resulting from brain damage at birth?

When an infant has motor impairment resulting from brain damage at birth, they may not be able to roll over on their own or experience problems crawling. If you see any of these kinds of issues in your child, contact Sokolove Law to speak with one of our registered nurses on staff who can answer your questions and help you understand your options.

If your child does have brain damage, medical negligence or malpractice may be to blame. Sokolove Law has recovered more than $717 Million for families whose children suffered harm at birth from medical mistakes — and we may be able to help you pursue compensation for your child’s injuries as well.

Can a baby have infant brain damage from lack of oxygen? 

Yes. In fact, infant brain damage from lack of oxygen is far too common. This lack of oxygen, known as asphyxia, makes it hard for the baby’s brain to function. Birth asphyxia can lead to complications that can affect a child for the rest of their life.

Medical negligence or malpractice can often be the cause of birth asphyxia. A medical professional may have failed to see that the umbilical cord was cutting off oxygen, or a doctor may not have ordered a C-section when they noticed the baby’s head was stuck in the birth canal.

Can the vacuum used in birth cause brain damage?

A doctor will sometimes use an instrument known as a vacuum extractor to try and remove an infant from the mother’s birth canal. This may be because the mother is too exhausted to push, or she or the infant has a heart issue. The vacuum extractor is designed to help speed delivery and reduce stress.

There are, however, instances when a doctor will improperly use a vacuum extractor. They may apply too much pressure to the baby’s head or use the instrument for too long, which can result in infant brain damage.

If you have any reason to believe your baby suffered harm due to the improper use of a vacuum extractor, get a free case review to learn more about your legal options.

Is infant brain damage recovery possible? 

Baby brain damage at birth is, in many instances, mild. There is a chance that some brain damage in babies can be reversed with therapy and other types of care.

When brain damage in a baby is severe, the child may have permanent symptoms. If you think your child may be suffering from brain damage, legal compensation may be able to help pay for treatments. Get a free case review today to learn more.

Can an ultrasound detect brain damage in a baby?

Mid-pregnancy ultrasound scans that are given between 18 and 21 weeks of pregnancy may be able to detect major physical abnormalities in utero, including heart and brain abnormalities. If a brain abnormality is detected in an ultrasound, an MRI can then be given to increase the accuracy of the diagnosis.

After the baby has been born, doctors will sometimes recommend an ultrasound test to see if infant brain damage has occurred. This painless test produces images of the brain through sound waves, which show blood vessels, cavities, and other internal structures.

Ultrasounds may also be able to show issues like bleeding in the brain or tissue injuries that could indicate the baby has suffered some sort of brain damage. Premature babies will typically have ultrasounds on a regular basis.

Author:Sokolove Law Team
Sokolove Law Team

Contributing Authors

The Sokolove Law Content Team is made up of writers, editors, and journalists. We work with case managers and attorneys to keep site information up to date and accurate. Our site has a wealth of resources available for victims of wrongdoing and their families.

Last modified: September 9, 2021

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