December 25, 2012

A not-too-uncommon basis for medical malpractice claims involving devastating injuries suffered by newborns alleges that the medical providers involved in the labor and delivery failed to timely diagnose and respond to medical problems with the mother and/or the fetus during childbirth or failed to respond to medical problems with the newborn shortly after birth, thereby resulting in the deprivation of oxygen to the baby’s brain that results in catastrophic and permanent brain injuries. Such medical malpractice cases are particularly sad and traumatic for both the baby and its parents because the harms to the baby are so extraordinary and unexpected and often last the lifetime of the baby and the devastated parents.

In a study released online in the journal Pediatrics on December 10, 2012, researchers reviewed the electronic health records from Kaiser Permanente for 81,678 children between the ages of 5 and 11 years, of which 13,613 had a diagnosis of ADHD (74.3% of them were boys). ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a condition marked by inattentiveness, hyperactivity, impulsivity, or a combination of them, which are out of the normal range for the child’s age and development. ADHD is the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorder of childhood and affects between 3% and 5% of school-aged children. ADHD affects boys more often than girls and ADHD may run in families. ADHD is suspected to be set in motion early in life during brain development but its precise cause is unknown. Depression, lack of sleep, learning disabilities, tic disorders, and behavior problems may be confused with, or appear with, ADHD. Most children with ADHD also have at least one other developmental or behavioral problem and may also have a psychiatric problem such as depression or bipolar disorder. Source

The results of the recent study indicate that children who had any prenatal exposure to ischemic-hypoxic conditions (IHCs) (which prenatal exposure may have been the result of medical malpractice) had a 16% greater risk of developing ADHD than those children who were not exposed to IHCs. The lead author of the study was quoted as stating, “Previous studies have found that hypoxic injury during fetal development leads to significant structural and functional brain injuries in the offspring …. However, this study suggests that the adverse effect of hypoxia and ischemia on prenatal brain development may lead to functional problems, including ADHD.”

The study also found that the children exposed to preeclampsia (a condition when a pregnant woman develops high blood pressure and has protein in her urine after the 20th week of her pregnancy) had a 34% greater risk of developing ADHD and children exposed to birth asphyxia (the failure to establish breathing at birth, which causes an estimated 900,000 deaths at birth each year and is a major primary cause of early neonatal mortality) had a 26% greater risk.


If your child suffered serious injuries or other harms as a result of oxygen deprivation during birth or shortly after birth that may have been caused by medical malpractice, you should promptly consult with a local medical malpractice attorney who handles birth injury claims.

Click here to visit our website or telephone us on our toll-free line (800-295-3959) to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers (birth injury lawyers) in your state who may be willing to investigate your possible birth injury claim and represent you and your child in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.

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