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How Medical Negligence Can Lead to Seizure Disorders in Infants

How Medical Negligence Can Lead to Seizure Disorders in InfantsSeizure disorders are a common neurological disorder affecting infants worldwide. They can be caused by a variety of factors, including medical negligence. Medical negligence occurs when a healthcare provider fails to provide the standard of care that a reasonably prudent healthcare provider would provide under the same or similar circumstances. Negligence by your healthcare team can lead to a range of injuries, including seizure disorders, which can have life-long consequences for affected infants and their families. If this has happened to you, you should seek the help of an Atlanta birth injury attorney as soon as possible.

What are the causes of neonatal seizure disorders?

Per Benioff Children’s Hospitals, seizure disorders in infants can be caused by a variety of factors including genetics, brain injuries, infections, and medical negligence. Seizures may sometimes be referred to as epilepsy. Medical negligence can occur during pregnancy, labor and delivery, or post-natal care. For example, medical negligence during pregnancy can lead to inadequate oxygen supply to the fetus, resulting in brain damage and seizure disorders such as cerebral palsy and Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE).

Similarly, medical negligence during labor and delivery can result in birth injuries, such as head trauma or brain hemorrhage, which can lead to seizure disorders. Medical malpractice (such as failure to diagnose and treat infections, or failure to monitor and manage medications) during postnatal care can also lead to seizure disorders.

Other causes of seizures in infants, as per the Benioff Children’s Hospitals, include:

  • Lack of oxygen before or during birth due to placental abruption (premature detachment of the placenta from the uterus), a difficult or prolonged labor, or compression of the umbilical cord.
  • Infection acquired before or after birth, such as bacterial meningitis, viral encephalitis, toxoplasmosis, syphilis or rubella.
  • Stroke before or after birth.
  • Blood clot in the brain.
  • Bleeding in the brain.
  • Brain birth defects.
  • Blood sugar or electrolyte imbalances.
  • Metabolic disorders such as maple syrup urine disease, pyridoxine dependency or phenylketonuria (PKU).
  • Drug withdrawal, which may affect babies born to mothers addicted to barbiturates, alcohol, heroin, cocaine or methadone.

Several of these causes can be initiated by medical negligence of the healthcare team and/or provider, such as by using birthing instruments like forceps incorrectly or by failing to monitor the mother and the fetus properly.

What do seizures look like in infants?

Epilepsy in infants may be difficult to recognize as they do not always appear similar to epilepsy in adults. It is important to be aware of some warning signs that could indicate a seizure in infants, such as:

  • Sudden stiffness in the body.
  • Bicycling movements of their legs.
  • Jerky muscle movements.
  • Unresponsiveness to stimuli.
  • Sudden falling.
  • Staring blankly into space or blinking quickly.
  • Sweating.
  • Paleness.
  • Crying.
  • Losing consciousness.

It is crucial to take immediate steps to protect the child and seek appropriate medical attention if the child is having a seizure. It is recommended to move objects that could potentially harm the infant away from them and roll them onto their side to prevent airway obstruction. If the seizure continues, it is advised to call 911 immediately. If the seizure has stopped, it is still important to contact a pediatrician as soon as possible and describe the event to make an appointment for the doctor’s evaluation.

What are the long-term effects of seizure disorders in infants?

In cases of medical negligence leading to seizure disorders in infants, the damages can be significant. Seizure disorders can often have long-term consequences, such as “psychological, social, behavioral, or learning impacts that affect children in the long term” as indicated by The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. This is more likely to happen in children whose seizures are less controlled.

Infants with seizure disorders may require ongoing medical care including medication management and specialized therapies. They may also require special education services and accommodation. All of which can result in substantial medical expenses, lost income, and emotional distress for the affected families. This is why it is critical to have an expert legal team to fight not only for immediate financial restitution, but also for future compensation for your child and your family.

How can an Atlanta medical malpractice attorney help?

In cases where medical negligence is the cause of seizure disorders in infants, affected families may have legal options available to them. They can file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the healthcare provider or facility responsible. Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider or facility fails to provide the standard of care, resulting in injury or death to the patient. To establish medical malpractice, the plaintiff must prove that the healthcare provider or facility had a duty of care, that they breached that duty, that the breach caused the injury, and that the injury resulted in damages.

In addition to medical malpractice lawsuits, affected families can also file a complaint with the state medical board. The state medical board is responsible for regulating healthcare providers and facilities and ensuring that they meet the standard of care. Filing a complaint with the state medical board can lead to an investigation and disciplinary action against the healthcare provider or facility responsible for the medical negligence. This can help prevent future instances of medical negligence and protect other patients from harm.

If you suspect that your infant’s seizure disorder was caused by medical negligence, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. An Atlanta medical malpractice attorney can review your case, gather evidence, and determine whether you have a viable legal claim. We can also advise you on the best course of action and represent you in negotiations or litigation.

Seizure disorders can have lifelong consequences for infants and their families. Medical negligence can be a contributing factor to the development of epilepsy in infants. If you suspect that medical negligence played a role in your infant’s seizure disorder, contact the knowledgeable and compassionate attorneys at Harris Lowry Manton LLP. We are here to ensure that you and your family are taken care of while facing this challenge. With us in charge of your case, you can focus on your child while we focus on securing you the settlement you deserve. We have already secured millions in medical malpractice claims for our other clients in the state. To set up a free consultation, call us at our Atlanta or Savannah office or fill out our contact form.

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