For parents of a newborn or infant, a child’s seizure can be one of the most terrifying things they can encounter. Some seizures can cause serious long-term injury or even death. Although some seizures may be related to fever or genetic issues, seizures can also result from birth injuries caused by the negligence of medical professionals and/or faulty medical care. Below is some information on how to recognize seizures and when they may be the result of negligent medical care. In the event that you suspect someone else is responsible for your child’s medical condition, contact a local Mississippi personal injury attorney to learn more about how you can receive financial compensation.
What Do Seizures Look Like in Infants?
Seizures can be difficult to spot in infants, as they can look much different than seizures in adults. Some signs that a baby may be having a seizure include:
- Sudden stiffness in the body
- Jerky muscle movements
- Stiff limbs
- Unresponsiveness to stimulus
- Sudden falling
- Staring blankly into space or blinking quickly
- Sweating, paleness, crying, or losing consciousness
If your child is having a seizure, you should take steps to protect them and get the appropriate medical care. Move objects that could cause injury away from your child and roll them onto their side to prevent airway obstruction. If the seizure persists, call 911 immediately. Otherwise, call your pediatrician as soon as possible, describe the event and make an appointment for your doctor’s evaluation.
Negligence During Delivery and Neonatal Care
Birth injuries are a common cause of infant seizures. We expect our doctors, nurses, and other medical providers to give us the proper level of care, especially when it comes to bringing a precious new life into the world. Most doctors and medical providers meet, and even exceed, our expectations. However, like any profession, there are sometimes situations where those we place our greatest trust in are not properly qualified, impaired, or careless. The actions that doctors and other medical professionals do or do not take in the time leading up to birth and shortly thereafter can cause a baby serious harm that impacts the child throughout the course of his or her life. Examples of birth injuries that can cause seizures include the following:
- Skull fractures that happen during delivery
- Cerebral palsy due to a brain injury or lack of oxygen
- Hematomas from brain trauma
- Maternal high blood pressure that cuts off oxygen flow to the baby
- Umbilical cord-related brain injuries such as nuchal cord, umbilical cord prolapse, and cord compression
One of the most common reasons for a birth injury is when the baby’s access to oxygen is cut off during the labor and delivery process. This can sometimes cause a lasting brain injury. In addition, the baby may suffer from hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. This is another way of saying that the baby has had a stroke during the delivery. This also results most often from a cutoff of oxygen to the brain.
Infant seizures could result from a number of different traumas in the delivery process:
- The doctor used forceps when they should not have been used — or improperly used them, causing brain damage.
- There was other trauma in the delivery, such as a vacuum-assisted delivery that caused damage.
- The mother suffered from problems with the uterus, such as placenta previa or a ruptured uterus. Both of these can cut off oxygen flow, and reasonable medical care can reduce the risk of these happening.
- The physician unreasonably delayed a necessary C-section procedure, resulting in unnecessary trauma to the baby from prolonged labor.
While physicians and other labor and delivery health care professionals cannot completely eliminate all possibility of birth injuries, reasonable medical care can greatly lower their risk. The physician must monitor both the baby and the mother. Even mild oxygen deprivation can result in lifelong injuries. All it can take is a few moments, and a baby can be affected for life. Once the oxygen deprivation occurs, it is often too late for emergency measures. Accordingly, proper medical care means that the doctor is aware of the risk factors for birth injuries and is vigilant to spot warnings and signs. When the proper standard of care is not met by the doctor or other medical professionals, the injured baby and their family have a right to file a claim for compensation, including compensation for future, and possibly life-long, medical care and living assistance. Most doctors and medical professionals have malpractice insurance to provide coverage for such claims.
If your child has suffered a birth injury that has resulted in seizures, there may be other severe symptoms that can cause developmental disabilities and the need for lifelong care. An experienced malpractice attorney can work with medical experts to prove breach of the appropriate standard of care, and a right to fair compensation.
Medical Malpractice in the Care of Your Baby
Some infant seizures can be caused by unreasonably substandard medical care from a pediatrician after birth. In some cases, the doctor may fail to diagnose or treat a condition that results in seizures.
One common reason for infant seizure is an infection, and this requires immediate care and attention from a medical professional. A high fever or brain infection can lead to seizures. For example, Group B strep is a common reason for infant seizures, especially when the infection is untreated, and the child does not receive the proper medication.
If seizures are caused because a doctor failed to provide reasonable care in the treatment and care of a baby, the child has a right to receive financial compensation.
Defective Products Encountered by Infants and Toddlers May Cause Traumatic Injuries that Induce Seizures
Even when doctors and other medical professionals have provided reasonable medical care, as most do, factors in a young child’s environment encountered in daily life can cause injuries that result in seizures. Another common cause of seizures is that a product used or encountered by the child causes a traumatic injury. There have been many examples over the years of babies being injured by products, including:
- Numerous makers of infant formula have been investigated and held accountable because their products were allegedly contaminated and caused seizures.
- Homeopathic teething gels and products are alleged to have resulted in ten infant deaths. One of the hazards of these products was seizures.
- Children’s toys can have lead paint or other toxic ingredients. When a baby chews on these toys, they ingest these hazardous substances, which can cause seizures.
- Unsecured playground equipment can turn over and cause traumatic brain injuries, which may lead to seizures.
Those who design, make, and sell defective children’s toys or products can be held legally responsible for injuries and damages in a product liability lawsuit if their acts and omissions fall within conduct outlined in Mississippi’s Product Liability Statute (Miss. Code Ann. § 11-1-63). Usually, these defects happen because there are problems with the manufacturing or design of these products, or because the seller improperly modified the product prior to sale, or failed to provide appropriate product warnings.
Contact a Local MS Personal Injury Lawyer
At Van Cleave Law, we are qualified to handle cases related to infant seizures and birth injuries caused by the negligence of others. We have helped clients with product liability and medical malpractice issues and have a long track record of fighting vigorously for our clients. We know how to work with scientific and medical experts to help show whether the defendant acted unreasonably in providing medical care or making a product that your child used.