Brain cooling is a treatment administered to newborns who were deprived of oxygen during delivery, which causes a birth injury known as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Oxygen deprivation of the brain and organs can lead to severe health conditions, such as brain damage, physical and cognitive disabilities, mobility and coordination issues, and even death. To reduce the risk of permanent brain damage and severe health conditions, medical practitioners will cool the baby’s body temperature using brain cooling treatment.
When brain cooling is administered, the newborn is fitted with a cooling cap or blanket to bring the baby’s temperature down to about 91 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooling slows down metabolic functions, which allows cells to slowly recover after the loss of oxygen. While cooling minimizes the risk of serious health conditions, other conditions such as cerebral palsy may not be prevented.
What Are the Timeframes for Brain Cooling Treatment?
Brain cooling treatment is most effective when it is administered within six hours of birth. Depending on the severity of oxygen loss, the baby may receive brain cooling treatment for 24-72 hours. The baby’s body temperature will slowly be warmed when the treatment is finished.
Medical practitioners will continue to monitor the baby after treatment. MRIs, EEGs, and other tests will be conducted to check heart and brain activity. If the tests come back normal and no further treatment is needed, the baby may be sent home.
What if Doctors Were Negligent During Delivery?
While there can be a number of reasons a baby lacked oxygen during birth, it is possible that a medical practitioner’s negligence caused HIE in a newborn. Oxygen deprivation can occur due to negligent acts such as:
- Improper use of vacuums or forceps
- Failure to monitor the mother and baby
- Failure to deliver the baby on time
Medical practitioners could also have acted negligently if they were aware the baby lacked oxygen at delivery, but failed to administer brain cooling treatment in a timely manner to prevent further health conditions from developing.
Who Can I Talk to About Medical Malpractice?
The birth of your child is an exciting time. Unfortunately, sometimes complications occur during delivery. If your baby was administered brain cooling treatment after delivery, talk to our New Hampshire birth injury lawyers at Abramson, Brown & Dugan to see if you and your child were victims of medical malpractice. Our award-winning lawyers understand the complexities of birth injury cases and can provide you with guidance during this devastating time. We know you want to focus on your baby’s well-being, so we work tirelessly to handle the legal process for you.
Let our birth injury attorneys at Abramson, Brown & Dugan provide you with the personalized attention your case deserves. Contact us online, or by phone at (603) 323-4622, to schedule a free consultation.