Infant Brain Damage News
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Father Caught In Lies About Shaking His Three-Week-Old Daughter
Infant brain damage can happen at birth but it can also happen due to abuse. Sometimes a parent cannot handle the stresses of new parenthood and snap. We have an example of such a case in the UK today. Devon Live reports.
A father has been told he will go to jail after slamming his three-week-old daughter’s head against a kitchen counter and then lying about it.
Robin Bearman was getting up to feed the child at 6 AM and felt a flash of frustration at the crying. He shook the baby and caused two skull fractures and brain bleeding. Fortunately, the baby was able to get to the ICU in time and has made a good recovery in the two years since the attack.
Initially, Bearman told his wife that he banged the baby’s head while opening a cupboard. But then doctors told his wife that could not be true given the injuries. Then he lied again saying he dropped the baby and she hit her head on his knee. The truth came out after three specialists testified in Family Court that the injuries needed more force than a drop.
The father admitted to the injuries. Since the incident, the mother of the child has divorced the father.
Government Settles Navy Doctor Malpractice Case For $11.5 Million
Armed Services personnel have to go through a lot of hoops to sue the government when something goes wrong. But for one family who was stationed in Guam, everything went right. The Virginia-Pilot has the story
Five years ago, a sailor gave birth to a baby boy who had severe and permanent brain damage. Now the family will receive $11.5 million dollars for the accident.
At the time the water broke, the baby’s heart rate was normal, but it was discovered that fetal stool was present in the water. Twenty hours later, the baby was born “floppy and nonvigorous”, a sign that there was a problem with getting enough oxygen.
The doctor tried to resuscitate the child, but the preferred tool had fallen behind the bed. Rather than get the proper tool, he used a bulb to try to suck out the problem. It took 11 minutes for the doctors to clear the blockage.
A later MRI showed profound brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen. The lawsuit claims that had the baby been properly taken care of, none of the neurological damage would have happened.
The parents will each receive $1 million, the lawyers around 20% of the total, and the rest will go into a trust fund that will be structured so that the child will not run out of money for the remainder of his life.
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Illinois Mother Sues Hospital After Baby Dies From Traumatic Brain Injury
An Illinois mother is suing a hospital under that state’s wrongful death and survival statues. The Madison Record has the story.
The mother filed suit against Anderson Hospital in Maryville and its parent company. The baby in question died nine days after birth due to catastrophic brain injury. The suit claims that the staff negligently and carelessly failed to recognize the signs and symptoms of a uterine rupture and did not notify a physician.
Under the Wrongful Death Act, the mother is eligible for more than $75,000 due to the type of injury that happened to her child. The suit claims that the family is now deprived of the baby’s love and companionship, and that they are facing expenses related to the medical care and funeral care for the baby and mother. They also claim that the baby faced pain and mental anguish during its short life.
The hospital has refused to comment due to the pending litigation.
The news story does not have all of the details regarding the injury. Those will come out during court. The plaintiff will have to prove that the lack of treatment for the uterine tear caused the baby’s injury and that the staff ignored the symptoms. If she can do that, she likely has a good chance of winning this case.
Infant Killed When Angry Parent Punches Him To Death
We have a heartbreaking case of child abuse on a two-month-old that happened in Wisconsin. A man has been arrested and charged with first-degree reckless homicide for the death of the baby.
The man, 21-year-old Kenta Evans, is being blamed. CBS 7 reports that he went to the mother’s house in June to see the baby. He then started to accuse the mother of seeing other men.
He got angry and broke the mother’s cellphone. While they were fighting, she picked up the baby and told the Kenta that he had to leave. That’s when he started to punch the mother with his fists while she was holding the baby.
A family member saw what was happening and stopped the fight, but it was too late. The baby was bleeding from the mouth, had difficulty breathing, and had multiple knots on his head. He was taken to the hospital where he died.
Evans has admitted to the fight and to punching the baby. His bail was set at $200,000.
While most birth injury cases are between a family and a medical professional, there are instances where a family member could be the one sued if they cause life-long trauma to a defenseless infant. No amount of money can bring a child back to life, but we hope that the mother is able to receive justice.
Mother Sentenced To 35 Years For Killing Her Infant
An unborn child depends on the mother’s nutrition to survive. If they decide to consume drugs, they can pass to the unborn baby and cause lasting damage. If illegal drugs are detected in a baby, it can lead to the state taking the child away.
Unfortunately in this case, the child was killed by the mother before the state could get to her in time. NWTimes reports.
A woman has been sentenced to 35 years in prison as part of a plea agreement after she killed her infant daughter in 2019. She pleaded guilty to aggravated battery.
During the autopsy, both old and new bruises were found, as well as brain bleeds and a quarter-sized fracture in the skull. Death was determined to be caused by blunt force trauma.
A few months prior, the state had been authorized to take the newborn child away from the mother because the baby tested positive for cocaine at birth. However, the state was unable to find the mother or baby before the fatal incident.
The mother also has mental health issues, according to the report. These played a factor in the plea agreement. She must serve at least 75% of the sentence. It is unknown what will happen to her other children, but the judge said that it may be better for them given the facts of the matter.
New Research May Lead To Treatment For Brain Injury In Premature Babies
Babies born before 37 weeks have a high likelihood of brain injuries. New research has found a possible reason why this happens. Babygaga has the story.
It turns out that part of the immune system can attack a baby’s brain if those cells become inflamed. The cells are called microglia. This inflammation can be caused by infections before or after delivery, including chorioamnionitis.
When these cells become inflammed they attack the white matter of the brain. The researchers have discovered the signaling pathway that makes this change happen. It is a gene called Wnt that is responsible for the switch. When the cells are inflamed, this gene does not activate as much as it should.
The scientists have found this switch in several animals through testing and through observation in premature babies. Now that they know the pathway, researchers will start looking for possible treatments. They believe that a treatment for this may be developed in 5-7 years.
We are encouraged by these results. Premature babies are prone to a host of birth injuries. Anything that can be done to improve the outcomes of a premature birth will improve the quality of life for the baby. We look forward to hearing more about this research.
New Study Shows That Even Mild Oxygen Deficits Can Damage Newborns
A new study from University College Cork in Ireland says that even mild oxygen deprivation at birth can cause neurological damage. EchoLive.ie reported on the study.
The study looked at a condition called hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy (HIE), a type of brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen. This can cause permanent brain damage and cerebral palsy.
The study looked at infants born in Cork and Stockholm with HIE. 417 children in all were studied. They found that a significant number of children with mild HIE have impaired cognition that can cause learning or behavioral difficulties.
The treatment for severe HIE is therapeutic hypothermia, sometimes known as cooling therapy. It can improve outcomes if it is used within six hours of birth. The study recommends that this treatment should be used for mild cases as well.
Currently, therapeutic hypothermia is the only known treatment for HIE, but there have been no studies done on using this therapy for mild HIE. The researchers say that a large study is now needed to see which therapies, including cooling therapy, can best help children born with mild HIE.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. We hope that the researchers can secure funding to run the study so doctors will have better guidance for treating mild HIE.
New Study To Test Non-invasive Way For Checking Fetal Oxygen
A new research project may provide doctors better information about birth oxygen levels and prevent unnecessary C-sections that can cause damage. MedicalXpress reports.
One of the reasons doctors perform emergency C-sections is when a baby’s heart rate becomes abnormal. However, in as many as 60% of cases, those abnormalities weren’t serious. They were just responses to the stress of labor.
The real danger of an abnormal heartbeat is that it can be a sign that there isn’t enough oxygen. This can cause brain damage. There are two other techniques that can prove whether or not a baby is oxygenated. The current gold standard is to take a little blood from the scalp of the fetus and check the pH. However, despite its status, it takes time to get results and there are questions about validity and reliability.
Another test, called fetal scalp stimulation, is faster, less invasive, and can be used in emergency situations. However, it hasn’t been tested whether or not this technique works as well or better than blood sampling.
This is what the researchers hope to find out. They will perform a multi-hospital randomized controlled trial to see how the two techniques stack up. If FSS proves itself, it can help save lives and prevent unnecessary surgeries.
Oregon Father Pleads Guilty For Abusing His Infant Son
Birth injury lawsuits aren’t just pursued against hospitals and doctors. Sometimes it’s family members who cause the injuries. You can sue them in court as well, even if they are facing criminal charges like in this case.
A Coos County man pled guilty to manslaughter, assault, and criminal mistreatment after he injured his four-month-old son in 2015. KCBY reported on the story. When the baby was taken to the ER, doctors said he had extensive and severe brain injuries. There were also old and new brain bleeding, eye bleeding, and a rib fracture that was healing.
The baby was not able to recover and fell into a vegetative state. Due to the baby’s circumstances, he was placed into foster care. The baby was adopted by the foster family in 2017 and died a few months later.
Despite knowing abuse had happened, charges were not pursued back in 2015 when the incident happened. At the time of the abuse they could only charge the father for assault. Given the baby’s condition, they knew he had a high probability of death in the near future due to the abuse. Thus, they waited for the baby’s passing so they could charge the father with manslaughter.
The mother was also indicted for criminal mischief for failing to give the child proper medial care.
Six Signs Of Infant Brain Damage
You might have a feeling that something is wrong with your child, but it can be frustrating to get doctors to take you seriously. What are the signs that they look for that mean something is serious so you can look out for them? Healio describes six symptoms that could be danger signs of infant brain damage.
The post focuses on problems related to the eyes and sensory development. Parents are much more likely to notice problems with the eyes since they see their children’s eyes more often. The signs to look for include:
- Abnormal pupils or pupil response
- Does not or cannot maintain eye contact for at least a few seconds
- Does not show effort in touching or reaching for interesting things
- Does not direct their eyes toward something stimulating, like your voice or a toy
- Only reacts when something is presented on one side.
- Can’t track a stimulus with their eyes.
Doctors recommend that babies get eye exams sometime between 6-12 months old to check for these issues, but if you notice them earlier then bring them to the attention of a doctor. Be careful not to confuse signs of sleepiness or hunger with these symptoms. Test your baby when they are happy and full. The sooner you can catch a possible issue, the better.
Study Shows Why Seizures In Babies Can have Lifelong Effects
One of the symptoms of infant brain damage is seizures. A lack of oxygen and blood flow can lead to seizures and deaths in newborns. One trouble with this symptom is that a child with minor seizures may seem normal after they get treatment but then later have behavioral and learning problems once they get to school. EurekAlert reported on new research that brings new insights into this problem.
A UVA researcher, Jennifer Burnsed, MD, has done research into this problem and suggests that it is the brain’s learning and memory centers that are the most affected by a seizure in a baby. She mapped the brains of mice to see which areas are affected most by seizures. They plan to run learning and memory tests on these mice to see if they have trouble with these compared to mice who did not grow up with seizures.
The hope is that through better mapping and imaging of the brains and confirming a link, doctors will be able to come up with new treatments for infant brain damage that will reduce or prevent these challenges in older children. The research done so far has been published in the journal Annals of Neurology
The Moro Reflex May Be Scary, But It’s A Sign Of Health
There is a particular reflex that babies have called the Moro reflex. If you lay a baby on their back they will throw their hands out to the side, draw them in, and start crying. The reflex usually goes away at around five months of age. An article on Fatherly talks about the reflex and why it’s important for health.
It is thought to be a response against abandonment so parents don’t forget them. Even babies with very damaged brains will still have this reflex. Doctors love to test for it as a sign of a healthy brain. If a baby doesn’t do the reflex or only does it on one side, that’s a problem.
A lack of the Moro reflex can be a sign of an injury to the brachial plexus or a sign of infant brain damage, hemorrhage, birth asphyxia, and cerebral palsy. It is also a problem if the reflex lasts past six months of age. That can be a sign of drug withdrawal from maternal drug use during pregnancy.
If your baby has it too often, you can try swaddling your child. It helps babies feel they’re held right and helps them stay asleep. However, be sure to follow correct swaddling practices. If you’re uncomfortable with swaddling, lay your baby’s head down extra gently when you put them to sleep.
The Right Environment Can Heal A Child’s Brain
A study on mice may point the way to new recommendations on how much stimulus to give to premature babies who were born without enough oxygen for their development. Eureka Alert reported on the study.
It is known that too much stimulation for a premature baby will cause them too much stress. The current recommendation is to provide a quiet environment. However, there have been studies about this practice that show that treatment in private family rooms created lower language and motor scores.
That led the researchers to wonder just how much stimulation is needed to help a baby’s brain heal without overwhelming it. Using an experimental model with mice, they raised some in different environments then tested their ability to climb a narrow beam. Those raised with social stimulation, different objects, and a running wheel did much better than those just provided with food, water, and nesting material.
Further experiments showed that all three components needed to be present for improved development. The mice needed exercise, socialization, and cognitive stimulation. These also needed to be present for long enough and early enough to have the effect.
More research is needed, but this points to a promising way to help children born with brain damage due to a lack of oxygen to help them minimize the amount of lasting damage.
Toddler Still Suffering After Foul Ball Hit Her Head
Taking a child to their first major sporting event is exciting, but it can also lead to tragedies if they are in the wrong place at the wrong time or there isn’t enough protection. A story published by Yahoo! talks about this.
In May, a toddler was struck in the head with a foul ball during a game between the Houston Astros and the Chicago Cubs. That child is still being treated for the brain injury and skull fracture she received.
Thanks to the injury, she has to take anti-seizure medication. The injury is likely to be permanent and has been described as stroke-like. So far, no legal action has been taken against the team or the stadium.
During the incident, the child was sitting in her grandfather’s lap near the edge of the third-base netting. The ball went over the safety netting and hit the child.
This incident, along with other foul ball injuries, has pushed several MLB teams to extend the netting. The commissioner has stated that all teams will have extended nets for the 2020 season.
Since 2012, 800 people have been injured by foul balls and there has been at least one death. Players are glad about the safety changes. We hope that they are effective and prevent future accidents.
Craniosynostosis is a rare birth defect that can cause brain damage and misshapen heads and faces in babies. But it can be corrected if caught in time. Fox 29 reported on a story of a 23-month-old who underwent successful surgery for this condition.
The boy’s mother posted a video showing her son taking steps with the help of a nurse at a hospital in Burlington. She wanted to raise awareness of her son’s condition.
Craniosynostosis happens in about 1 in 2000 births. When babies are born, the skull plates are not fused together yet. This gives the head and brain room to expand before they close. In babies with the condition, the plates are already fused.
Untreated craniosynostosis can cause pressure to build up inside of the skull and cause brain damage. It can also cause the bones of the head and face to deform. If it is caught in time, it is fairly easy to correct with surgery due to the softness of the bones. However, because it is so rare pediatricians may not check for the condition.
In this case, the baby had to undergo a full cranial vault surgery to restructure the head. Fortunately, recovery was quick and the child was back home in just four days.
For more information on this condition, please see this webpage from Columbia University.