Oxygen is necessary for brain function, and without it, the brain can suffer irreversible injury. Anything that restricts oxygen or blood flow during labor and delivery can cause a lifetime of disabilities.
Out of Louisiana comes a heartwarming story of a baby who received critical care after doctors realized he was suffering from oxygen deprivation. The treatment—called whole body cooling—can yield impressive results, but doctors must recognize that something is wrong in time.
Timing is Critical
When Eli Starkey was born, his doctors realized that a medical error interrupted oxygen delivery to his brain. Fortunately, they quickly rushed him to the neonatal intensive care unit at Baton Rouge General Hospital for whole body cooling.
This treatment must be delivered within the first six hours. A baby’s temperature is cooled to between 92.3 and 94.1 degrees Fahrenheit before slowly being warmed back up over the next 72 hours.
Whole body cooling works by immediately stopping brain cell death. According to doctors, it will not reverse already existing damage, but it can keep any condition from getting worse. When successful, whole body cooling can prevent many of the more challenging mental and physical disabilities that we see due to oxygen deprivation.
Other Therapies Are Key
Little Eli also benefit from intense physical and occupational therapy, which began immediately—on the third day after birth. He eventually also took speech therapy.
This therapy helped him learn reflexes, such as suckling, that children usually know instinctively. Therapy can help a child by teaching healthy parts of the brain to perform tasks that damaged parts normally perform. The sooner a child starts, the better.
Eli’s therapy was non-stop for over six years, though he is now down to one session a week. His family reports that he is doing well and enjoys sports, much like his peers. The only sign that he suffered a serious birth injury is the lingering limp on his right-hand side.
Has Your Child Suffered a Birth Injury?
Medical negligence is a leading cause of birth injuries. A careless doctor or nurse could do something that harms your child, then they can compound the error by failing to take quick, corrective action.
At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein LLP, we fight for families when their child is injured in birth. Typically, our clients face a lifetime of medical and rehabilitation costs, which no family should have to shoulder. Contact us today, 305-371-2692, to schedule a free consultation.