Infant Seizure Attorneys & Birth Injury Lawyers Discuss Neonatal Seizures
Infant Seizure Attorneys | Birth Injury Lawyers Helping Children in Michigan, Ohio, Washington, D.C. & All 50 States
Newborn seizures can be an indicator of serious neurological damage from a number of birth-related injuries. If your newborn or child suffers from seizures that began around the time of birth, contact Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers. The award winning birth injury lawyers at Reiter & Walsh have helped dozens of children affected by seizures. Jesse Reiter, president of ABC Law Centers, has been focusing solely on birth injury cases for over 29 years, and most of his cases involve hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and cerebral palsy. Partners Jesse Reiter and Rebecca Walsh are currently recognized as being two of the best medical malpractice lawyers in America by U.S. News and World Report 2015, which also recognized ABC Law Centers as one of the best medical malpractice law firms in the nation. The birth injury lawyers at ABC Law Centers have won numerous awards for their advocacy of children and are members of the Birth Trauma Litigation Group (BTLG) and the Michigan Association for Justice (MAJ).
WHAT ARE NEONATAL SEIZURES?
Seizures occur from abnormal electrical discharges in the brain due to nerve damage or problems with the brain’s chemistry. Seizures can cause involuntary jerking movements lasting from a few seconds to a few minutes and can affect normal brain functioning. They sometimes affect consciousness. Seizures must be immediately diagnosed and properly treated in newborns in order to prevent permanent damage to the baby.
Seizures in newborns are categorized as subtle, clonic, tonic or myoclonic:
- Subtle seizures, as the name implies, are often difficult to see. They occur most frequently in premature infants and are the most frequent type, comprising about 50% of all newborn seizures. There may be some bicycling-type movement, fixation of gaze, or repetitive facial movements.
- Clonic seizures in infants are marked by a slow rhythmic jerk of one part of the body. This type of seizure represents about 25% of all seizures in newborns.
- Myoclonic seizures involve rapid twitching or jerking movements and are the most serious often, indicating severe brain damage. Premature babies are the most afflicted group.
- Tonic seizures account for about 5% of infants with seizures and cause sustained contractions. Sometimes the eyes may roll upward and breathing may stop for a period of time.
CAUSES OF NEONATAL SEIZURES
Seizures can be caused by a number of things, including:
- Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) or birth asphyxia. This is the most common cause of neonatal seizures with an estimated 80% of cases attributed to HIE. HIE is a medical condition where a newborn has been deprived of oxygen at or around the time of birth. Cord compression; problems with the placenta or uterus such as a ruptured uterus or placenta previa (placenta is attached to the uterine wall close to or covering the cervix); fetal distress; and prolonged labor are some of the medical emergencies that could result in HIE and seizures. Medical staff must plan appropriately for these kinds of obstetrical risks. Furthermore, they must effectively handle situations that may arise during delivery in order to minimize the possibility of HIE. Failure by doctors or other health care professionals to do these things could be considered negligence.
- Infection. The most common infections occurring in newborns that can cause seizures are meningitis, Group B Streptococcus, encephalitis, cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex virus. While infants may become infected after delivery, the most common cause of neonatal infection is undetected and untreated infection in the mother that is transmitted to the baby through the birth canal. It is the doctor’s or other healthcare provider’s responsibility to screen for various infections during the pregnancy and appropriately treat them.
- Traumatic brain injury. Traumatic birth injuries can result from a problem with the size or position of a fetus relative to the birth canal. For example, sometimes a baby’s head is too large for the mother’s pelvis (cephalopelvic disproportion) or the baby may just be very large (macrosomic). Again, it is the responsibility of the doctor or other healthcare provider to prenatally check and plan for these types of obstetrical problems. Traumatic brain injuries can also occur from the use of instruments like forceps or vacuum extractors during vaginal deliveries. Forceps resemble tongs. Proper placement requires that the “blades” lie evenly against a baby’s head in a location where they are not likely to cause damage. If the forceps are applied unevenly to the baby’s head, skull and facial fractures as well as intracranial hemorrhages, seizures, and permanent brain damage can occur. Vacuum extractors, as the name implies, use suction to pull a baby from the birth canal during a contraction. Small plastic cups are attached to the infant’s head. If they are not correctly placed, bruising, hemorrhages and blood clots can occur. Doctors and other healthcare providers must use forceps and vacuum extractors correctly and at the right stage of labor in order to avoid irreparable damage.
- Prolonged second stage of labor. The second stage of labor occurs from the time the mother is fully dilated until the baby is delivered. When this time lasts more than four hours it is considered to be a prolonged second stage. A prolonged second stage is most often associated with cephalopelvic disproportion. A C-section should be done to minimize the risks of traumatic brain injury, Erb’s Palsy, and HIE. Failure to perform a timely C-section may be considered negligence.
DIAGNOSING A NEONATAL SEIZURE
The primary diagnostic test for verifying seizure activity and determining the location of the brain affected is an EEG. In an EEG, electrodes are temporarily attached to the baby’s head. The electrodes read the electrical activity of the brain and shows the changes that occur over time. The results appear on-screen as well as on printed strips.
BIRTH INJURY LAWYERS & INFANT SEIZURE ATTORNEYS HELPING CHILDREN WHO HAVE SEIZURES, HYPOXIC ISCHEMIC ENCEPHALOPATHY (HIE) & CEREBRAL PALSY
Newborns that experience seizures due to brain injuries often have additional problems such as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities and other neurological problems. If your child has a seizure disorder – with or without other neurological problems – a review of medical records by a experienced birth injury lawyers can determine whether negligence played a role in causing your child’s seizures.
If you are seeking the help of an infant seizure attorney, it is very important to choose a lawyer and firm that focus solely on birth injury cases. Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers is a national birth injury law firm that has been helping children with birth injuries for almost 3 decades. Birth injury lawyer Jesse Reiter, president of ABC Law Centers, has been focusing solely on birth injury cases for over 29 years, and most of his cases involve hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and cerebral palsy. Partners Jesse Reiter and Rebecca Walsh are currently recognized as being two of the best medical malpractice lawyers in America by U.S. News and World Report 2015, which also recognized ABC Law Centers as one of the best medical malpractice law firms in the nation. The birth injury lawyers at ABC Law Centers have won numerous awards for their advocacy of children and are members of the Birth Trauma Litigation Group (BTLG) and the Michigan Association for Justice (MAJ).
If your child was diagnosed with a birth injury, such as cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), the award winning birth injury lawyers at ABC Law Centers can help. We have helped children throughout the country obtain compensation for lifelong treatment, therapy and a secure future, and we give personal attention to each child and family we represent. Our nationally recognized firm has numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements that attest to our success and no fees are ever paid to our firm until we win your case. Email or call Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers at (888) 419-BABY for a free case evaluation. Our firm’s birth injury lawyers are available 24 / 7 to speak with you.
VIDEO: INFANT SEIZURE ATTORNEYS DISCUSS BIRTH ASPHYXIA
Watch birth injury and infant seizure attorneys Jesse Reiter and Rebecca Walsh discuss the causes of birth asphyxia. Birth asphyxia is a common cause of seizures in a newborn.
Pisani F, Cerminara C, Fusco C, Sisti L. Neonatal status epilepticus vs recurrent neonatal seizures: clinical findings and outcome. Neurology 2007; 69:2177.
Watanabe K, Miura K, Natsume J, et al. Epilepsies of neonatal onset: seizure type and evolution. Dev Med Child Neurol 1999; 41:318.
Thibeault-Eybalin MP, Lortie A, Carmant L. Neonatal seizures: do they damage the brain? Pediatr Neurol 2009; 40:175.
Chapman KE, Mizrahi EM, Clancy, RR. Neonatal seizures. In: Wyllie’s Treatment of Epilepsy: Principles and Practice, 5th, Lippincott, Williams & Wilkens, Philadelphia.
Related Articles and Blogs from Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers
- “Seizures in newborns may indicate neurological birth injury.”
- “Delayed treatment of infant seizures can cause permanent brain damage.”
- “Revolutionary technology may be able to instantly detect seizures in babies and prevent brain damage.”
- “Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)/birth asphyxia and seizures.”