What does it mean when the doctor says my baby has a brain injury?

When a newborn is diagnosed with a brain injury, parents are left with dozens of questions about treatments, long-term outcomes, care needs, causes, and more. Learning that your child has brain damage can mean different things for your family and loved one depending on the type of brain injury, the severity of the damage, and treatment options. Common early diagnoses given to babies with brain damage include hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), neonatal encephalopathy, cerebral palsy (CP), and periventricular leukomalacia (PVL). HIE is the most common cause of newborn seizures, and many babies with HIE develop PVL, cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities, developmental delays and motor disorders. Often, brain damage in a newborn is caused by a birth injury.

What Should Parents Do if Their Child Has a Brain Injury?

Some babies are diagnosed with birth injuries, such as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, shortly after birth. Other times, a baby’s birth injury may not be noticed until the child is 5 or 6 years old and certain developmental milestones are missed. If your baby is missing developmental milestones or you have been told she has a speech delay or low muscle tone, it is crucial that you make sure she has been examined by a neurologist and that a brain scan such as an MRI has been performed to determine if she has a brain injury. Brain injury is an evolving process; the injury can continue for days and weeks after the initial insult to the brain.

More on Infant Brain Injury

Infant Brain Injuries - Reiter & Walsh, PC Birth Injury Attorneys

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Legal Help for Neonatal Brain Injuries

If your loved one was diagnosed with an infant brain injury or experienced brain damage at birth as the result of medical negligence, you may be eligible for compensation. We encourage you to contact Reiter & Walsh, P.C. for a free legal consultation. Our Detroit, Michigan birth injury attorneys will provide you with a free case review, determine the cause of your loved one’s brain injury, and inform you of your legal options.

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  • Lee AC, Kozuki N, Blencowe H, et al. Intrapartum-related neonatal encephalopathy incidence and impairment at regional and global levels for 2010 with trends from 1990. Pediatr Res 2013; 74 Suppl 1:50.
  • Ferriero DM. Neonatal brain injury. N Engl J Med 2004; 351:1985.