According to studies from the Brain Foundation, a neurological research organization, untreated hydrocephalus can lead to severe disabilities, possibly even causing death in the sufferer. These disabilities can impact numerous aspects of a child’s life, including their learning capacity, their ability to grow normally, issues with physical capabilities, and more.
These serious complications are especially prevalent in newborns afflicted with hydrocephalus, as their bodies are unable to cope with the associated trauma. Ultimately, the longer the condition is allowed to continue unabated, the more serious these side effects may become.
When asking what happens if hydrocephalus is left untreated it is important to understand that there are countless other side effects associated with untreated hydrocephalus that may not be life-threatening. For example, one area of the body commonly impacted by the condition is the eyes. This is due to the pressure the cerebrospinal fluid places on the optic nerves.
Impacts on a newborn’s eyes can include:
- Nystagmus: Detailing a rapid and erratic movement in the sufferer’s eyes
- Gaze Palsies: Sufferers of this condition may have difficulty moving their eyes upward, causing them to droop towards the floor
- Strabismus: This encompasses a cross-eyed effect in the patient, with the eyes failing to aim forward normally
As detailed by Cleveland Clinic, other potential side effects of untreated hydrocephalus can include, but may not be limited to:
- An abnormal swelling of the child’s head
- Balance problems
- Changes in cognition or personality
- Developmental delays with the child’s physique, including their muscles and overall strength
- Irritable behaviors
- Chronic fatigue
- Bulging areas of the head
- And more
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Risk Factors That are Associated with Hydrocephalus
The root causes of hydrocephalus relate to complications like obstructions in the ventricles, traumatic brain injuries, the brain’s inability to properly absorb fluids, and an innate overproduction of cerebrospinal fluids – as documented in research from the Mayo Clinic.
Further, factors that may heighten a newborn’s risk of contracting hydrocephalus include:
- Bleeding in the ventricles, or in other areas of the brain, which is often caused by head trauma or premature birth.
- Issues with the central nervous system that can alter the distribution of cerebrospinal fluids, potentially causing their buildup in the brain.
- Infections in the mother during pregnancy, specifically those involving the uterus.
- Tumors in the newborn’s spine or brain.
- And more.
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Pursuing Legal Liability for Hydrocephalus Birth Injuries
While hydrocephalus injuries can occur completely independent of any outside wrongdoing, many cases are either directly or indirectly caused by the negligence of medical staff.
- If a physician performs a checkup on an infant and they do not bother addressing their swollen head, they may be held liable for the victim’s pain and suffering because they failed to use their training to help their patient. By failing to act accordingly, the liable party allowed hydrocephalus to go untreated, potentially causing untold damage in the process.
Then there is the issue of medical professionals physically causing hydrocephalus injuries in newborns. These head injuries can occur from rough handling practices, including using forceps and other potentially dangerous delivery tools during birth.
Additionally, the instigating trauma may be inflicted during an ill-advised delivery, such as a birth involving a newborn who is positioned at an awkward angle in the birth canal, thereby resulting in head injuries. These negligent deliveries can also result from a doctor’s failure to call for a caesarian section, despite the baby being too large for a safe birth.
At the end of the day, it is the innate responsibility of medical staff to prevent these complications from occurring to the best of their abilities. When a victim’s trust is broken and they are subjected to injuries during the birthing process, they may be eligible to receive damages for their pain and suffering.
Hydrocephalus Injury Lawyers Fighting for Victims and Their Families
Our attorneys offer legal representation to victims of medical malpractice. If you are forced to ask what happens if hydrocephalus is left untreated, you may already be the victim of severe injustice. Our team of lawyers will work to help protect your right to compensation in these birth injury cases so you may be able to heal after such a needless and traumatic event affects your family.
As potentially recoverable damages in medical malpractice claims may vary depending on your state’s unique laws, a member of our legal team may be able to give you a deeper insight into the road ahead and how we may be able to help.
For your free case review and consultation, contact a team member at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group for help today at (800) 222-9529.