How Can Negligence in Healthcare Lead to Newborn Seizures?

An adult holding a newborn in pijamas and a blanket

No family wants to experience medical negligence that can cause an unnecessary newborn seizure. As a parent, you only want your baby to receive proper medical treatment from medical professionals—nothing more, nothing less. However, medical malpractice can happen to anyone. Suppose you and your family are the victims of medical negligence due to a healthcare professional’s failure to provide appropriate care. In that case, you may be entitled to financial compensation and may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim to cover medical bills and other expenses.

In this article, we will talk about what newborn seizures are, the types of seizures, and how negligence can cause them.

What Are Newborn Seizures?

Newborn seizures or neonatal seizures are a type of epilepsy that occurs within the early stages of a baby’s life. These seizures usually occur within the first month after birth, with most cases occurring in the first week. They can range from subtle to obvious, and they may be caused by various disorders or by an injury suffered during childbirth.

Types of Newborn Seizures

For parents, it is important to know that a healthcare professional evaluates and diagnoses any seizure, as several types exist and can vary from baby to baby. In general, there are four types of neonatal seizures. 

Subtle Seizures

This is the most common type of seizure and the most difficult to detect. Sometimes, symptoms of a subtle seizure have close similarities to normal newborn behavior. Symptoms include:

  • Jerking of the arms and legs
  • Blank staring episodes
  • Lip smacking
  • Chewing movements

Tonic Seizures

Tonic means “stiffness,” which is the main feature of this type of seizure. It affects the baby’s muscles and causes them to become stiff and rigid. Symptoms include:

  • Stiffening of the body
  • Lifting the arms
  • Arching back
  • Head turning to one side.
  • Eye turning to one side

Clonic Seizures

Clonic is the term used to describe a seizure with rhythmic muscle contractions. That means that you can see repeated, jerking movements of your infant’s arms and legs. Symptoms include:

  • Jerky movements
  • Twitching muscles

Twitching muscles can be noticed in parts such as:

  • Face
  • Tongue
  • Arms
  • Legs
  • Hands

Tonic-clonic Seizures

A tonic-clonic seizure is a combination of the symptoms seen in tonic and clonic seizures. During this type of seizure, babies may stiffen their bodies and experience jerky limb movements. This is the most intense type of seizure and is considered a medical emergency. If you observe your baby having an attack, you must call a medical professional immediately for help.

How Negligence Can Lead to Newborn Seizures

Medical negligence can significantly impact an infant’s health and well-being, leading to serious conditions like cerebral palsy and even death. If a medical professional’s actions lead to health complications like an infant seizure, they can be held liable for their negligence. The following are reasons why negligence can lead to newborn seizures.

Failure to Offer Adequate Prenatal Care and Proper Labor and Delivery Treatments

During the duty of care or medical care, a medical provider — regardless of whether they are a doctor or nurse — can be liable for medical malpractice if they fail to provide adequate prenatal care and proper labor and delivery treatments. Examples of such negligence are:

  • Failing to monitor fetal movement or heartbeat properly.
  • Not noticing signs of labor distress.
  • Overlooking infections that can cause harm to the baby during childbirth.
  • Not performing a c-section in time.

Medical errors during labor and delivery can have serious, life-threatening consequences and it is best to speak to a lawyer immediately if this has happened to you and your family.

A Mother’s Condition is Not Diagnosed and Treated

Another instance that is considered a medical malpractice case is if a mother’s condition is not diagnosed and treated. For example, when it comes to newborn seizures, the mother’s health often impacts the baby’s health. If a pre-existing medical condition could have been detected before or during labor and delivery that was not addressed, this can be considered negligence. Common conditions that can lead to newborn seizures include:

  • Congenital cerebral malformations
  • Hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy
  • Intracranial infections
  • Metabolic disorders

If the labor and delivery medical professional fails to assess and monitor the mother’s condition properly, there may be grounds for a medical malpractice case.

Failure to Diagnose and Treat Preterm Labor in a Timely Manner

In a case where a doctor fails to diagnose and treat preterm labor promptly, this can be considered medical malpractice. When it comes to newborn seizures, prematurity is one of the leading causes of them. Doctors must be able to recognize signs of preterm labor and act as quickly as possible to avoid long-term complications.

Suppose the healthcare provider causes permanent harm to a baby due to negligence. In that case, the victim and their family may be entitled to compensation for any damages such as medical bills, pain, suffering, disability, or even wrongful death. It is essential to seek help from an experienced attorney if you believe your newborn’s seizures are caused by medical malpractice. This way, you’ll understand everything you have to know before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Failure to Recognize a Newborn Who is Macrosomic

Macrosomic newborns are infants that weigh more than 9 to 10 pounds at birth. Macrosomia is highly associated with newborn seizures and can occur due to various factors such as diabetes, maternal obesity, or considerable birth weight. Healthcare professionals must recognize this issue quickly to take appropriate action and provide medical treatment to the newborn.

Failure to diagnose and treat macrosomia can lead to hypoxia or asphyxia, which can, in turn, lead to newborn seizures. If your doctor failed to perform their duty of care and provide adequate treatments, you may have a valid case for medical malpractice. The same medical community and the newborn’s family may be eligible for financial compensation, which can help you cover any medical costs associated with the newborn’s care.

This can be anything from physical therapy, medical bills, and lost wages to emotional distress.

Inability to Adequately Manage a Pre-Term or Late-Term Pregnancy

Pre-term or late-term pregnancy is when a baby is born before 37 weeks or after 41 weeks respectively. It is essential that healthcare professionals monitor the mother’s condition during these times, as delivering early or late can put the newborn at risk of developing complications and long-term problems.

If a doctor fails to manage a pre-term or late-term pregnancy properly and the newborn suffers, this can be considered medical malpractice. In some cases, the baby may undergo long-term treatment or may even have permanent disabilities because of negligence.

Failure to Respond to Bleeding in a Timely Manner

Bleeding can seriously affect a baby’s health, particularly during birth. Bleeding can occur due to various factors, including pre-term labor, placenta previa, or placental abruption. Healthcare providers must recognize signs of bleeding and act quickly to provide appropriate medical care.

Again, if the doctor fails to act promptly and provide informed consent, this can be considered medical malpractice, necessitating financial compensation for the victim and their family.

What Can an Attorney Do For You?

If you believe your newborn’s seizures result from medical malpractice, it is essential to seek legal help from an experienced attorney. This way, you will understand everything you need to know before filing a medical malpractice lawsuit so that you and your family can receive the financial compensation you deserve.

To give you a better understanding of the role of an attorney who is an expert in medical malpractice law and how they can help, here’s a list of some of the tasks they may do.

Gather Evidence To Prove Your Case

The other party, usually an insurance company, will try to dispute your claim and argue that the doctor was not negligent. To prove otherwise, your attorney will gather evidence, including medical records, opinions from experts, and testimony from witnesses who can testify on your behalf. This is a critical stage; your attorney will ensure everything is organized for your case.

Research and Investigate Your Claim

After collecting the evidence, your attorney will research and investigate your claim to ensure it is valid. This means they’ll look at the laws in your state and any relevant cases that could help support your case. Your attorney will also conduct interviews with witnesses and experts and review medical records to ensure everything checks out before you move forward with a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Set Up Independent Medical Examinations For You

An injured patient is often required to undergo an independent medical examination (IME) for the insurance company or other party to verify that their injury is real and caused by medical malpractice. Your attorney will help you set up these appointments and ensure everything is conducted appropriately. This way, you can be confident that your case is moving forward.

Counsel You on Legal Options

Medical malpractice is a complex, often expensive area of law that can be hard to understand. This can be a considerable burden for someone who is under the stress and emotional strain of trying to take care of an infant. That’s why it’s essential to have an experienced attorney who can counsel you on the legal options available and help you make informed decisions about your case. They’ll be able to tell you the pros and cons of each option so that you have a better understanding of what to expect. This way, you can make the best decision possible for you and your family.

Negotiate With Opposing Parties

Sometimes, the opposing party will try to settle out of court to avoid costly lawsuits. If this is the case, your attorney can negotiate on your behalf and get you the best possible deal. They’ll look at all the evidence presented, including medical records and expert opinions, to determine a fair settlement amount that aligns with what you are entitled to receive. A good attorney-client relationship is essential to ensure a fair settlement. This way, you don’t have to worry about medical expenses and other costs associated with the injury.

Represent You in Court

If the other party refuses to settle out of court and your case must go to trial, then it is essential to have an experienced attorney who knows the ins and outs of medical malpractice lawyer on your side. They’ll be able to represent you in court and ensure that all your rights are protected under the law. Having everything your way will ensure you get the compensation and justice you deserve and give you peace of mind during a difficult time.

How to File a Medical Malpractice Claim

You can take the necessary steps to have a well-structured case against the doctor or healthcare provider.

Gather All Your Evidence

First, gather all of your medical records from the treating physician and any other providers who may have been involved in your treatment. Ensure you include information such as lab results, diagnostic tests, and imaging studies done on your baby during care. You’ll also need to get copies of any documents, such as discharge papers and medical bills.

Get an Expert Opinion

Your attorney may also have your infant undergo an independent medical examination or have a specialist look at their records to determine if the care they received constituted malpractice. This opinion can be used as evidence in court and will help strengthen your claim.

File Your Claim

Your attorney will go ahead and submit your claim to the appropriate court or agency. Depending on the type of malpractice, this may be a state or federal court. The lawsuit document should include all of the evidence you have collected and any expert opinion obtained. Your attorney must put together a solid case to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

Prepare For Court

If settlement negotiations fail and your case goes to trial, your attorney will help you prepare for court. This includes gathering any additional evidence that may be needed, writing and submitting pre-trial motions, preparing witness testimony, and more. Having an experienced medical malpractice attorney on your side can make a big difference in the outcome of your case, so make sure to have one willing and able to fight for you.

Damages You Can Receive From a Medical Malpractice Claim

Depending on the severity of the injury, you can be entitled to several forms of damages. These may include:

  • Medical Expenses: The defendant may be ordered to pay for any medical bills associated with the injury if found liable. This includes hospital stays, doctor visits, medications, and rehabilitation therapies. That means working with your attorney to collect your medical documents and records will play a critical role in getting you reimbursement for your expenses.
  • Lost Wages or Lost Earning Potential: If you cannot return to work due to the situation, you may be able to receive damages for lost wages. This includes any wages lost during your baby’s recovery and any future earnings that may have been lost due to the injury.
  • Pain and Suffering: This type of damage is designed to reimburse you for physical pain and mental suffering caused by the injury. It is difficult to quantify, but your attorney can help you calculate a reasonable amount that should be awarded.
  • Punitive Damages: In some instances, such as when the defendant acted with extreme negligence or malice, the court may award punitive damages. This damage is meant to punish the defendant so that they are less likely to behave similarly in the future. Medical malpractices that result in death or permanent disability may qualify for punitive damages.
  • Mental Anguish: In cases of extreme medical malpractice, the mental anguish can also be claimed. This means that you may be able to receive compensation for feelings such as depression, anxiety, and fear due to the injury.

The Bottom Line

For someone who is suffering from a medical malpractice injury, it is very important to contact an experienced attorney to help you with the process and to have someone to represent you in court, if necessary, effectively.

An attorney will help you navigate the process of filing a claim, collecting evidence and expert opinions, preparing for court, and negotiating the best outcome possible. Having the right attorney by your side can make all the difference in getting you the compensation you are entitled to.

At The Pagan Law Firm, we have honest and hardworking attorneys who will fight for you. If you or someone you know has been injured due to medical malpractice, contact us today and learn how we can help.

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