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Doctors use brain waves to measure extent of birth injuries

The impending arrival of a baby may be one of the most anticipated events in life. However, in a moment, birth injuries can shatter the hopes and dreams of parents. In Illinois and elsewhere, many parents face daily challenges in caring for a disable child.

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is a condition that occurs when blood clots cut off the flow of oxygenated blood to an infant's brain either shortly before or during the birth process. This can cause minimal to severe brain damage. Doctors have discovered that cooling a newborn's body temperature can lessen the amount of harm that the lack of oxygen can cause. Physicians are also now using continuous monitoring through an EEG in order to identify those children who may experience a poor prognosis.

Infants whose brains appear to show a regular sleep and wake cycle seem to experience the most positive outcomes. Conversely, infants whose EEGs do not record a regular pattern in the first days after birth appear to be most at risk for severe brain damage. While cooling infants who have suffered from one of these traumatic events has become a standard treatment, the bedside monitoring has only recently been introduced as a more effective predictive tool for a child's prognosis.

While some birth injuries may be impossible to predict or prevent, there are steps that a mother's medical providers can take to help ensure that a baby's birth is normal and healthy. However, when a child does suffer harm due to the negligence of a physician or other health care provider, grounds may exist to pursue claims for monetary damages. An experienced personal injury attorney can provide information and guidance in filing a medical malpractice claim in an Illinois civil court. 

Source:, "Continuous EEG can be more reliable way to identify infants at risk for brain injury", Oct. 25, 2017

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