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What does a New Mexico parent need to know about birth injuries?

Birth injuries to newborns, especially brain injuries, are not rare in New Mexico. When the cause of a birth injury is identified, doctors are more likely to be successful in developing new strategies to prevent such injuries in the future.

The guidelines on neonatal encephalopathy, a term used for brain injuries or disorders in newborns, have been updated and published by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics. The guidelines state that doctors must examine every potential contributing factor when a newborn birth injury occurs.

A large number of birth injuries result from problems during labor and delivery. Some of these injuries occur after labor begins and some even before the patient has arrived at the hospital. In such cases, doctors examine the mother's medical history, previous problems during birth, and other obstetric and placental factors. Inflammations or infections, genetic issues, metabolic disorders, oxygen deprivation and other issues are often major contributing factors to birth injuries.

The updated guidelines by the ACOG and the AAP, which were welcomed with much enthusiasm, prescribe a root-cause analysis to neonatal injuries in order to help prevent birth injury in newborns in the future.

The report is a safety document, developed to evaluate encephalopathic newborn babies, analyze and identify potential safety issues, and rectify them. The goal of the treatment of an encephalopathic newborn is to minimize far-reaching and long-term brain damage. Sometimes, cases of neonatal encephalopathy are not initially identified, and therefore education about the subject is important.

If a birth injury results from a failure by medical professionals to adhere to the prevailing standard of care, the parents may have the right to recover damages in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Consulting an experienced birth injury lawyer can be beneficial to parents during this trying time.

Source: HealthFinder.gov, Some cases of neonatal encephalopathy may be preventable," accessed on Sept. 25, 2014

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