The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Academy of Pediatrics recently released an updated set of guidelines on neonatal encephalopathy, a term used to describe newborn brain injury or brain disorder.
While previous recommendations issued in 2003 emphasized determining whether a lack of oxygen during the birthing process caused neonatal encephalopathy, the new guidelines recommend that doctors evaluate every possible contributing factor, including maternal medical history, placental pathology, and obstetric and intrapartum factors.
In a press release, a spokesperson for the ACOG stated that although many newborn brain injuries are caused by problems during labor and delivery, some of these injuries occur before the mother even arrives at a hospital for delivery. While oxygen deprivation is the most common cause of brain injury, other causes include the following:
- Metabolic disorders
- Genetic conditions
The recommendations were compiled into a peer-reviewed task force report that was reviewed by experts throughout the U.S. and internationally. The report emphasizes the importance of pediatric expertise, with a renewed focus on asking pediatricians to be proactive by taking more responsibility in identifying newborns with brain injury. Failure on the part of physicians to follow the proper course of action for detecting and preventing neonatal encephalopathy could result in legal liability.
Despite advances in terms of prevention, avoidable birth injuries continue to occur at an alarming rate. If your child is suffering from a birth injury that resulted from a medical care provider's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an attorney at Jeffrey M. Goldberg Law Offices in Chicago to learn more about taking legal action.