A stroke can occur anytime there is a lack of blood flow or oxygen to the brain. Strokes are often considered a danger for seniors, but the truth is that newborns can experience them as well. A perinatal or neonatal stroke is a lifechanging injury for a child that can cause permanent brain damage and lead to multiple disabilities. However, strokes may be preventable if doctors pay attention to the tell-tale signs and respond quickly.
If your newborn suffered a stroke due to medical negligence, you may be able to file a birth injury claim. Our New York perinatal and neonatal stroke lawyers at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, have spent more than 50 years recovering hundreds of millions of dollars for victims of negligence. We can investigate the cause of your newborn’s injuries and fight to get full compensation for your family. Call us today at (212) 986-7353 to discuss your case in a free consultation.
Strokes are a result of the brain not receiving enough oxygen due to some type of blockage. Strokes are either hemorrhagic, meaning they were caused by a blood vessel leaking, or ischemic, which means a clot became lodged in an artery and stopped the blood flow. Infants can actually experience strokes prior to and during birth.
The only difference between a perinatal stroke and a neonatal stroke is when it occurred. “Perinatal” refers to the perinatal period that begins at 22 weeks of gestation and ends seven days after birth; “neonatal” is the first 28 days after birth.
If an infant does have a stroke, it will likely occur between 22 weeks of gestation and 28 days after birth, meaning it can occur while an infant is in the womb, during delivery, or shortly after birth. No matter what, doctors should carefully review each infant’s symptoms and act fast to prevent long-term damage.
At any age, our brains need a consistent supply of oxygen to avoid cell death, but a lack of oxygen is especially dangerous for newborns. Being deprived of oxygen for just a short period of time can lead to multiple disabilities, forever changing a child’s life.
A fetal stroke can result in:
- Brain damage, which may lead to cerebral palsy
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
- Intellectual disabilities
- Developmental issues
Birth is a stressful and scary experience as there are hundreds of complications that can occur, but well-trained and experienced doctors should know how to safely deliver a child. Unfortunately, if doctors do not follow procedure, fail to pay attention to risk factors or test results, or delay in treatment, it can cause serious harm to an infant.
Perinatal strokes are harder to detect when the infant is still in the womb, but there are some signs a doctor can use to make a diagnosis. If the fetus shows signs of paralysis on one sign of the body or has difficulties moving within the womb, the doctor should order an ultrasound. If the doctor does diagnose an infant with a perinatal stroke prior to birth, then the doctor may need to perform an emergency c-section. Delaying in treatment could cause severe damage or even death to the infant.
During and after birth, the doctor may be able to detect a stroke in the child based on weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, difficulties feeding, seizures, trouble breathing, or extreme lethargy. Doctors can use a variety of tests, including blood tests, MRIs, and EKGs to determine whether the newborn is experiencing a neonatal stroke. Medication can be used to treat the seizures and help with clotting, emergency surgeries, or an endovascular thrombolysis, but only if the doctor diagnoses the stroke in time. A misdiagnosis can lead to delayed treatment and further damage to the baby.
Unfortunately, we have seen strokes occur because of medical negligence before, during, or after birth, such as:
- Poorly handled shoulder dystocia
- Misuse of a vacuum or forceps
- Failure to treat placental abruptions
- Dehydration in mother or child
- Failure to handle infections like sepsis or meningitis
- Misdiagnosed congenital defects or preeclampsia
- Rough handling causing hemorrhaging
The complications that come with a perinatal or neonatal stroke must not be understated. Brain damage can lead to serious disabilities like cerebral palsy, intellectual deficiencies, and epilepsy, impacting everything from a child’s school life to a future career to day-to-day life. On top of all of this are the massive medical bills and long-term care that come with a birth injury.
But if a negligent doctor caused your child’s injuries, you should not be the one to pay for them. Doctors should follow the standard of care when evaluating a child for a perinatal or neonatal stroke. If a doctor misdiagnosed your infant’s condition, delayed in providing treatment, or caused a stroke due to a traumatic injury, you can and should hold them accountable in a medical malpractice claim.
A medical malpractice claim should include all of the costs associated with your child’s stroke, including medical bills, long-term treatment, and the personal impact of the injuries. One method is to develop a life-care plan, which involves working with a specialist who will estimate the lifetime costs of your child’s injuries, including medical equipment, future treatment, medication, adjustments to a home, and other ways the injuries will impact your child’s life.
If you believe your child suffered a perinatal or neonatal stroke due to medical negligence, talk to a New York medical malpractice lawyer at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP. We have more than 50 years of experience investigating medical malpractice and can evaluate the cause of your child’s injuries. We are not afraid to stand up to major hospitals and their insurance companies to get families the compensation they need after a birth injury.
Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, has recovered tens of millions of dollars in birth injury claims. Let us give your case the same time and attention we have given other families after a birth injury. We can sit down with you in a free consultation and talk about what happened. If you choose to work with us, we will use our years of experience to advocate for your best interests. Call us today at (212) 986-7353 to get started on your case.
WRSH Partner Philip Russotti obtained a $10 Million mediation settlement for failure to timely perform a Cesarean Section. The case was venued in Orange County, NY.
WRSH Partner, Phil Russotti, obtained a $6 million settlement for our client whose child suffered severe brain damage during birth.
We claimed that the baby should have been delivered by emergency C-Section or forceps delivery. He was ultimately diagnosed with cerebral palsy and spastic quadriparesis.
Partner Philip Russotti argued that as a result of this negligence, the child suffered hypoxia which resulted in mild retardation, severe ADHD and social isolation as well as difficulties with fine motor skills.
WRSH obtained a $1,300,000 jury verdict, after a three week medical malpractice trial in Staten Island, on behalf of a 6-year-old girl who suffered a brachial plexus injury known as Erb's palsy.
We claimed that the hospital was negligent for not intervening and performing a cesarean section in light of the mother's failure to adequately progress in labor.