Birth Injury Blog

Understanding "Fetal Stroke" and How Negligence during Labor and Delivery can Cause Strokes

Posted By Beam & Raymond || 27-Sep-2017

What is a stroke? It is a term used to mean that part of the brain has been damaged or destroyed because of a lack of blood flow and oxygen. Many people may not know that babies face the risk of getting a stroke during labor if there is not enough oxygen. “Fetal stroke” is a term sometimes used to describe a brain infarct, which is damage to the brain tissue itself, that can occur during the time of labor and delivery.

Fetal stroke during labor and delivery can cause permanent brain injury, motor impairment and intellectual disabilities. Fetal stroke is also known to be an important risk factor for cerebral palsy. Due to the serious nature of neonatal strokes, it is essential for families considering a birth injury lawsuit to understand its causes and whether it could and should have been prevented in their unique case.

Causes of Fetal Stroke

Fetal strokes are caused by restricted blood flow in the brain, which can result in the death of brain cells and permanent brain damage. Blocked or restricted blood flow in the baby’s brain may result in oxygen deprivation to part or all of the brain. Common causes of fetal stroke include:

• Birth asphyxia or hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)

• Traumatic injuries, including vacuum or forceps injuries and prolonged labor

• Internal bleeding, including placental abruption or rupture

Preventing Fetal Stroke & Birth Injuries

There are a number of steps treating medical practitioners can take to reduce risks during labor and delivery. Appropriate steps may include:

• Monitoring mothers and babies for signs of distress with electronic fetal heart monitors

• Appropriate and timely response to complications and distress, including emergency C-section

• Proper evaluation of pregnant mothers and diagnosis of potential risk factors or complications followed by earlier delivery

• Appropriate management of conditions present in pregnant mothers

In addition to taking reasonable steps in preventing fetal stroke, attending medical professionals must respond to and treat fetal strokes immediately in order to help prevent brain damage and reduce risks of serious conditions such as cerebral palsy. Should they fail to timely treat a mother in labor whose baby in the womb is in distress, they increase the risk of severe brain damage.

Negligence & Birth Injury Lawsuits

When nurses, physicians or health care providers provide substandard care or are otherwise negligent, they may fail in their obligation to identify known risk factors, respond appropriately to those risk factors, or adequately treat a newborn that has experienced a fetal stroke. These failures can increase risks of permanent brain damage, and the development of life-altering conditions that profoundly affect victims and families for years to come.

As a Chicago-based birth injury law firm, Beam & Raymond has handled numerous cases involving medical negligence and substandard medical care. We have seen first-hand how improper monitoring, failures to perform timely C-sections and treatment, and other forms of negligence can result in fetal strokes and other devastating consequences. By leveraging our insight and extensive experience, we can help families better understand whether medical professionals were negligent in treating them and their children, and how they may be entitled to financial compensation for their damages.

To speak personally with a caring and compassionate attorney from our firm, contact us for a FREE consultation.

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