San Diego Brain Injury Attorneys
Brain Injuries Caused by Forceps and Vacuum Extractors
According to a reputable medical study, each year, one in 1,900 infants delivered vaginally sustains a brain injury, as does one in 2,750 delivered via cesarean section. That risk is doubled—and sometimes tripled—for babies who experience difficult deliveries that involve the use of delivery tools: roughly one in 664 infants delivered using medical forceps suffers a brain injury, as does one in 860 infants delivered using vacuum extraction.
If you believe your child sustained a brain injury during delivery, please contact the brain injury lawyers of Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates.
What are the dangers associated with forceps and vacuum extractors?
Forceps and vacuum extractors are considered safe when appropriately used, but all too often, physicians act negligently—harming infants who up to that point were considered healthy. Forceps, which are large tweezers used to turn the baby into the appropriate direction for birth, may be used on the wrong side of the baby’s head or at the wrong stage of labor, causing severe cranial damage, bruising, indentations, blood loss, and cephalohematoma.
Cephalohematoma—bleeding between a bone and its covering—typically surfaces on infants’ heads and can cause jaundice if particularly large. Vacuum extractors, which attach a soft plastic cap to the baby’s head, essentially suction the baby out when the mother has a contraction. Vacuum extractors can cause a myriad of problems as well, including lacerations, blood clots, surface bruising, bruising under the scalp or skull, and Caput Succedaneum, which is severe swelling of the scalp. All of these injuries can lead to permanent brain damage, developmental delays, seizures, and sometimes death.
If you believe your child sustained a brain injury during delivery, please contact the brain injury attorneys of Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates.
What can I do if my child suffered a brain injury at the hand of a negligent physician?
If your child has suffered a brain injury as a result of a physician’s negligence or error when using either of these two methods of extraction, he or she may be entitled to lifelong compensation. Please contact our office today to learn more.
What is kernicterus?
Kernicterus is a progressive type of brain damage that results in vision and dental problems, mental retardation, hearing loss, and, sometimes, athetoid cerebral palsy. It develops in infants who suffer from untreated, severe jaundice, a condition characterized by yellowing of the eyes and skin. Quite common in newborns, jaundice occurs when the liver manufactures too much of the yellow pigment bilirubin. Bilirubin is a byproduct left by broken-down red blood cells. If too many blood cells die at once, bilirubin builds up in the liver and eventually disperses to the brain, skin, and whites of the eyes. Jaundice usually clears up on its own but, if it doesn’t, the excess bilirubin in the brain can cause severe brain injury.
How can kernicterus be prevented?
The threat of kernicterus arises when a physician fails to 1) properly diagnose jaundice and 2) administer proper treatment within a timely manner to babies whose jaundice does not clear up on its own. Babies with advanced jaundice typically undergo phototherapy treatment, which involves placing them under special lights designed to facilitate their healing, or are given blood transfusions. But if a physician neglects to treat these babies, jaundice can develop into full-blown kernicterus. Only through proper diagnosis and treatment can it be prevented.
If you believe your child acquired kernicterus because of medical malpractice, please contact the brain injury attorneys of Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates.
What are the warning signs of kernicterus?
Kernicterus is categorized by:
- Increased restlessness
- Very yellow or orangey skin from the top of the head to between the toes
- Decrease in the level of alertness
- High-pitched crying
- Limpness or excessive tiredness
- Decreased ability to nurse or suck
- Arching of the body into a bow shape
It is believed that kernicterus is more likely to develop in babies who are released too early from the hospital—especially if these babies are jaundiced. It is imperative that parents be aware of this risk.
What can I do if my child has developed kernicterus?
If your child has developed kernicterus as a result of untreated or misdiagnosed jaundice, your family is entitled to compensation. Please contact Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates so that we may advise you of your legal rights.
What Are the Chances of Surviving a Traumatic Brain Injury?
While infants are certainly some of the most vulnerable possible victims of traumatic brain injuries, the reality is that anyone of any age can sustain a brain injury. However, traumatic brain injuries that occur during birth have a much higher chance of causing long-term or permanent damage to the victim.
When it comes to the chances of surviving a traumatic brain injury, there is no firm method of determining survivability beyond evaluating the extent of the physical damage caused by the injury, the location of the damage, and the potential neurological processes the damage could influence. Some people have suffered seemingly fatal traumatic brain injuries and made miraculous recoveries, while others who sustained seemingly mild head injuries experienced severe complications and even death. Simply put, there is no way to determine the exact chances of surviving a traumatic brain injury. The odds of an infant surviving one sustained during or after birth is very low. Sadly, the chance of permanent neurological damage if they do survive is extremely high.
Can a Brain Injury Get Worse Over Time?
The human brain is incredibly complex, and the latest medical science has yet to fully understand how the human brain works in its totality. This complexity is one of the reasons why traumatic brain injuries are so devastating; there is a very good chance that any traumatic brain injury will have lasting effects, and some of them can cause symptoms that worsen over time.
For example, concussions are generally some of the mildest TBIs, but they can easily cause long-term effects that persist for months or even years, sometimes permanently. It is also possible for a concussion to cause symptoms that begin as mild and steadily worsen. These symptoms could include severe headaches and migraines, sensitivity to light and sound, sensory processing problems, and even personality changes. Some people experience language processing problems or cognitive decline from TBI.
Anyone who has sustained a traumatic brain injury must undergo a thorough evaluation to accurately determine the full scope of their condition. This may require extensive testing and screening, but it is essential to ascertain the full scope of a traumatic brain injury’s damage, so the victim and their loved one know what to expect from recovery and beyond.
How Long Does it Take to Fully Recover From a TBI?
It is natural to wonder about recovery time after suffering any type of injury. Due to the severe nature of brain injuries, families will be very concerned about their loved one’s likely future complications caused by their TBIs. When it comes to full recovery, the unfortunate reality is that full recovery from a TBI is not always medically possible. It is very easy for even a seemingly minor TBI to cause permanent brain damage, altering the victim’s life forever.
What Are the Common Complications of Traumatic Brain Injuries?
There are many different types of traumatic brain injuries, and any TBI can potentially cause serious complications. Some of the most commonly reported symptoms caused by mild TBI include headaches, dizziness, confusion, nausea, fatigue, and minor neurological changes, such as an altered sense of taste or slightly hindered language processing. More severe TBIs can cause much more serious symptoms, including coma, brain damage, and even death.
Some of the factors that determine the complications a TBI can cause include the severity and location of the injury. Different parts of the brain handle different functions. While the brain is adaptable and can modify these delegations if necessary, doing so typically takes a great deal of time, therapy, and struggle. TBIs can easily cause life-altering symptoms, including:
- Severe difficulty speaking or inability to speak.
- Cognitive decline. Tragically, many people who suffer serious TBIs are never quite the same and are unable to perform the same level of mental functions they previously managed prior to their injury.
- Impaired motor control or diminished motor function.
- Decreased sensation. This may occur in many different parts of the body at various degrees.
- Memory loss, including both short-term memory loss and amnesia that may or may not be temporary.
- Cerebral palsy, which is a blanket term used to describe brain damage sustained during or shortly after birth. A child who develops cerebral palsy will likely experience a range of disabling symptoms, but some children with minor cerebral palsy can carry on relatively normal lives with minimal noticeable symptoms of their conditions.
These are only a few of the potential complications a TBI can cause. When you or a loved one have sustained this type of injury due to the negligence of another party, it is vital to know your options for legal recourse and the value of hiring legal representation to assist in your claim.
Why Do I Need an Attorney?
A San Diego brain injury attorney can handle you and your family’s legal concerns while you focus on recovery and adjusting to your new reality. Lawsuits for brain injuries often entail substantial sums of damages. If you hope to secure the fullest recovery possible, it will be necessary to navigate complex legal statutes and meet strict deadlines with the court. Instead of attempting to manage these responsibilities while also recovering from a TBI or assisting a loved one during their recovery, an experienced San Diego traumatic brain injuries lawyer can assist you in building your case and handle all the procedural requirements of your legal action so you can recover with peace of mind.
Attempting to navigate an injury claim without legal counsel, especially one as impactful as a traumatic brain injury claim, is a very bad idea. The right attorney will ensure you explore the full extent of your damages to maximize your recovery. They will also help you avoid the common pitfalls that often lead to injury claims being thrown out of court or plaintiffs ending up with little to no compensation for their losses.
What to Expect in a TBI Claim
Whether your TBI claim involves a traumatic brain injury an infant in your family sustained at birth or otherwise, your claim could be a very complex legal affair depending on the availability, clarity, and validity of evidence, your ability to clearly prove the full extent of your damages, and many other factors. An experienced San Diego brain injury attorney should provide responsive, detail-oriented legal counsel, helping their client prepare for difficult legal proceedings with greater confidence.
An injury claim begins when a plaintiff submits their formal Complaint to the local courthouse. The court then serves the necessary paperwork to the named defendant to provide them the opportunity to respond. At this point, the defendant may accept their liability and agree to settlement discussions or deny liability and demand a trial. Litigation is time-consuming, expensive, and risky for both parties, whereas settlement offers both a swifter resolution to the matter. Your San Diego traumatic brain injuries lawyer must determine the best approach to your unique situation and the best path to obtaining as much compensation as you are legally entitled to receive for your damages.
Find Legal Counsel for Your TBI Claim Today
Whenever you think you have grounds for legal action after an injury, swift action is the best available option if you want the best chance of securing compensation for your losses. When you or a loved one have suffered a TBI, the incident could change all of your lives in unexpected ways. A San Diego brain injury attorney can help you secure compensation for your losses and ensure your family has everything they need to recover as wholly as possible.
If you are ready to discuss your legal options after a TBI you believe occurred due to another party’s negligence, Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates are here to help. Contact us today and schedule a consultation with a compassionate and reliable San Diego traumatic brain injuries lawyer and find out how we can help your family recover.