When a mother is pregnant, the expectant parents typically share their hopes and expectations for their unborn baby. They stage elaborate “Tiaras or Touchdowns?” gender reveals, choose names, even start college funds for their still-in-the-womb infants.
Then, the big day arrives, and the mother goes into labor. But when the baby is born, the parents are faced with a reckoning and not the joyful moment that they had anticipated.
Their baby is born with brain damage.
It’s a devastating and unanticipated consequence to absorb. Usually, the first question the parents have is “how did this happen to my baby?” And while medical science has advanced quite far, unfortunately, there is not always a straightforward answer to that question.
Brain damage in newborns may be caused by neural tube defects. Imperfect closure in the developing fetus’s neural tube can result in conditions like:
- Encephalocele. Parts of the brain extrude through an opening in the fetal skull.
- Arnold-Chiari or Chiari II. The area of the brain affecting motor control — the cerebellum — is shunted and compressed into the top of the spinal column.
- Anencephaly. The head of the neural tube didn’t close, leaving much of skull and brain exposed or missing.
The above are just three of the many possible congenital brain defects that can occur during fetal development. Below are some of the possible causes:
- Genetic defects
- Maternal drug usage
Sometimes, during the birthing process, there can be trauma to the fetus that results in permanent brain damage. If an obstetrician or midwife is negligent and their actions cause or contribute to your baby’s birth defects, you may seek civil justice through the courts by holding them liable for their (in)actions.