What Is Brain Cooling?
Posted in Medical Malpractice on May 12, 2021
Labor and delivery is a delicate process that requires qualified medical providers to carefully monitor a baby’s vital signs. If a baby suffers from a lack of oxygen during labor, he or she can sustain dangerous brain damage that can lead to permanent disability. However, a new treatment method known as brain cooling may mitigate the effects of oxygen deprivation, reducing the severity of the brain damage. If your child required this therapy at birth, he or she may have experienced a brain injury due to the negligence of a medical professional.
Oxygen Deprivation and Brain Injuries
Oxygen deprivation during labor and delivery, also known as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), is a dangerous condition that can lead to serious long-term damage. A child may sustain physical, mental, and social functional issues after experiencing HIE. Your baby may develop this condition for several reasons, many of which occur due to the negligence of a medical professional.
Medical errors that may cause HIE include the following.
- Failure to properly monitor a fetus during labor and deliver
- Failure to identify or diagnose an umbilical cord issue
- Failure to order a caesarean section during an emergency
- Failure to properly handle a uterine rupture
- Failure to identify placental abruption, or a condition where placenta separates from the uterine wall before labor
How Brain Cooling Works
Brain cooling, also known as hypothermic therapies, works by keeping a child at a certain temperature for at least three days. The ideal temperature for brain cooling is around 33 degrees Celsius, or 91 degrees Fahrenheit. According to medical research, brain cooling can decrease the impact of oxygen deprivation during birth and can reduce the severity of permanent neurological damage.
There are two types of brain cooling that a baby can undergo: selective cooling and whole body cooling. During selective brain cooling, a medical professional will place a specialized cap that circulates cold water on a child’s head. A connected machine will circulate cold water and maintain the optimal temperature for 72 hours. After the treatment is complete, the child will be warmed to his or her normal body temperature over a period of six to eight hours.
Whole body cooling works by placing a child into a cooling blanket. This blanket circulates cold water around the child’s entire body for a period of 72 hours. Like selective brain cooling, the child will be gradually warmed to his or her normal body temperature after the treatment is complete.
Can You File a Lawsuit If Your Child Received Brain Cooling?
Hypothermic therapies are not a normal part of childbirth. If your child required brain cooling after delivery, he or she likely sustained HIE due to the negligence of a medical professional. Even if his or her outcome is better than it would have been without this treatment, you still have the right to file a lawsuit against the at-fault healthcare provider.
Through a medical malpractice claim, you and your family can recover compensation for the medical expenses, disability accommodations, lost wages, and other damages associated with your child’s condition. However, you will need to provide evidence that establishes that the at-fault provider’s negligence caused the HIE and your child’s resulting condition. In these situations, you need an attorney on your side.
A Kansas City medical malpractice attorney can represent you and your family in your birth injury lawsuit, helping recover the compensation you need to support your child’s care. As soon as possible following your child’s birth injury, contact a lawyer to discuss your legal options.