Yes, there are several treatments for hydrocephalus in newborns, but they most commonly involve invasive surgeries. Research from Mayo Clinic details that the most common surgical methods used to treat hydrocephalus involve using the “shunt” method and performing an endoscopic third ventriculostomy.
The following is a quick breakdown of these treatments:
The “Shunt” Method: This procedure involves inserting a long tube into the newborn’s brain, which will redirect the buildup of fluids to an area of the body where they can be absorbed. Once the fluids reach a more appropriate region like the stomach or the heart, the body naturally disperses them
Endoscopic Third Ventriculostomy: This treatment method is a little more delicate, as the surgeon is going to make a small hole around the ventricles in the affected region of the brain. By creating a tiny perforation, the fluid will be free to drain out, potentially alleviating the child’s symptoms
With this information in mind, when people ask, “Can hydrocephalus be treated?”, they may want to ask themselves, “At what cost does the treatment come?”
Invasive surgeries like these can lead to serious risk factors, further compounded by the newborn’s already weakened state. Ultimately, the best treatment for hydrocephalus is early prevention, early diagnosis, and early education for both the attending medical staff and the child’s parents.
After all, doctors should be educated enough to identify the risk factors of hydrocephalus, which could potentially stop the condition before it even becomes an issue. In theory, this training should also stop physicians from injuring the baby during birth, but that is not always the case.
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Warning Signs of Hydrocephalus in Newborns
The Mayo Clinic documents many symptoms of infant hydrocephalus, including an enlarged head and abnormal lethargy in the child.
Other warning signs can include, but may not be limited to:
- Difficulty feeding
- The child’s eyes droop downward
- Changes in temperament
- The child’s head grows very quickly, possibly becoming larger all around, or potentially only bulging in specific areas
- A lack of recognition when touched
- Physical developmental delays, including stunted growth, poor muscle development, and weakness in the extremities
- The child being born with spina bifida, which has been known to cause hydrocephalus due to misplaced spinal fluid – according to research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- And more
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Complications of Hydrocephalus
Yes, the condition can cause traumatic complications, especially in newborns. In fact, hydrocephalus can even lead to death in serious cases.
Due to the formative nature of an infant’s brain, the complications brought on by hydrocephalus can cause extensive delays, including defects involving:
- Cognitive function
- Intellectual abilities
- Physical capabilities
- Developmental milestones, such as not attaining a normal growth level or verbal function for their age group
- And more
When physicians fail to protect their patients and the newborn is injured in the process, resulting in hydrocephalus, the victims may be entitled to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against them.
Factors That Can Affect the Severity of Hydrocephalus
As detailed by Mayo Clinic, the severity of hydrocephalus complications can vary depending on several mitigating factors, including:
- The intensity of the symptoms when they first appear. In cases where symptoms are severe from the onslaught of the condition, the child may face more life-altering complications.
- How quickly medical treatment is rendered for the condition, including the ability of doctors to make a proper diagnosis and create a treatment plan in a timely manner.
- The presence of underlying medical issues in the newborn, potentially exacerbating the hydrocephalus symptoms or making them more dangerous.
- And more.
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Birth Injury Lawyers Fighting for Victims of Hydrocephalus
Our birth injury attorneys have worked with countless victims of medical malpractice over the years. Yet, seeing the pain you have had to endure does not get any easier for us.
The way we see it, there is no excuse for medical professionals failing to do their job, especially when something as simple as having the forethought to diagnose a condition could have prevented a victim from facing a lifetime of hardships. Most glaringly, many cases of hydrocephalus are the direct result of rough handling practices by the attending medical staff during birth, including recklessly using forceps and vacuum extraction tools.
While the answer to, “Can hydrocephalus be treated?” is yes, many instances of this condition should have never occurred in the first place. That is why our birth injury attorneys continue to fight for victims of these negligent acts by medical staff, and that is why we will fight for you and your family.
To learn more about how our attorneys can fight to help protect your right to compensation in hydrocephalus injury cases, contact a representative at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today for your free consultation at (800) 222-9529.