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Report: Diagnosing infant brain injuries requires proactive staff

While there is typically an expectation that things in the delivery room will go well, there are a number of opportunities for things to go wrong. Parents and doctors in San Diego can do everything correctly and still have an infant born with a brain injury or other medical issue. Thanks to medical advances, there may be ways to better prevent and treat such conditions.

According to a pediatrician at Tulane University in New Orleans, only one-third of hospitals and birth centers in the United States have neonatal intensive care units. In those facilities that lack such units, medical personnel are responsible for either treating infants with an issue like a birth injury or referring families to another institution. A task force of physicians recently emphasized the need for pediatricians to be more active in diagnosing brain injuries in newborns.

The task force released updated guidelines regarding neonatal brain disorders and injuries, also known as encephalopathy. The guidelines suggest that physicians review any factors that could contribute to an injury, which could include issues with the placenta, the mother’s medical history or problems during labor and delivery. A maternal-fetal medicine specialist noted that while many causes of encephalopathy are known, such as a lack of oxygen, it is unknown how many cases of the condition are preventable. The report from the task force notes that identifying causes could help develop prevention methods.

A newborn with a brain injury or disorder may now benefit from advances in treatment, such as neonatal hypothermia to cool body temperature and minimize long-term damage. A family with a little one who has suffered such a condition as a result of a doctor error should immediately contact an attorney to pursue a medical malpractice claim.

Source: Medical Xpress, “Spotting cause of newborn brain injury could aid prevention, report says,” April 3, 2104

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