Encephalopathy

Birth Injury Lawyer Helping Victims in Knoxville and Surrounding Areas

Neonatal encephalopathy is a term that encompasses different types of central nervous system dysfunction that are caused by damage to the brain. Encephalopathy happens in babies who are born either almost term or term. Factors that may cause encephalopathy include meningoencephalitis, fetal stroke, infections, birth asphyxia, and intracranial and extracranial hemorrhages. If your child was born with encephalopathy in East Tennessee, and you suspect that labor or delivery negligence caused it, you should consult Knoxville birth injury lawyer Mark Hartsoe at the Hartsoe Law Firm.

Understanding the Causes of Encephalopathy

Somewhere between one and three out of every 1,000 infants born full-term experience encephalopathy. About 8-14.5% of these encephalopathy cases are results of inadequate blood supply to a baby's brain during delivery. One type of encephalopathy is static encephalopathy, or cerebral palsy. Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is another type of neonatal encephalopathy, in which a baby suffers birth injuries due to oxygen deprivation.

Studies have shown that some kinds of encephalopathy are caused by a mother's severe anemia or chorioamnionitis during pregnancy. The severe anemia or chorioamnionitis can slow oxygen delivery to the brain and other organs. Generally, babies in this group do not suffer brain damage before being born, but they are then unable to cope with infections or anemia after being born. Sometimes babies with chorioamnionitis develop sepsis and have a devastating outcome.

Parents may be able to recover compensation for birth injuries caused by a health care provider's negligence. In order to recover compensation, it is necessary to show that the health care provider failed to provide the applicable standard of care in treating you and that your baby's birth injuries would not have occurred if not for the failure to meet the applicable standard of care.

Showing what the health care provider should have done differently depends partly on a provider's specialty. Sometimes a case in which a child develops encephalopathy arises out of the conduct of obstetricians, gynecologists, hospitals, labor and delivery nurses, and others. Sometimes babies are born with certain complications even if they were monitored properly in the womb. It may be necessary to consult with experts to determine whether the encephalopathy is due to inappropriate prenatal or postnatal care or other factors outside the provider's control. The experts will review your medical records to determine whether there was a deviation from the professional standard of care. For example, they may look into whether a doctor identified a risk factor such as severe anemia during the pregnancy and whether they treated it appropriately in light of the identification.

Children with encephalopathy may need substantial, long-term medical care, including surgeries, medications, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and more. It may be possible for your attorney to recover these existing or future economic losses by bringing a birth injury lawsuit in which responsible health care providers are held accountable. Additionally, it may be possible to recover for noneconomic losses experienced both by the child and the parents, such as emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life activities.

Unlike other types of tort claims, when you sue a health care provider in Tennessee, you will need to comply with certain procedural rules from the start of the case. Among other things, in any medical malpractice lawsuit in which expert testimony is required, the plaintiff needs to file a certificate of good faith along with the complaint. The certificate usually states that the plaintiff's attorney has talked to one or more medical experts who have given a written statement confirming their competency and qualifications to provide an expert opinion under Tennessee law and that they believe that there is a good-faith basis to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Consult an Experienced Knoxville Attorney for Your Birth Injury Claim

The birth of a child should be an exciting and happy event. Unfortunately, when a child is unexpectedly born with a condition like encephalopathy, parents may face substantial financial burdens for which they are unprepared. If your child suffered encephalopathy due to the negligence of a health care provider in East Tennessee, you should consult an experienced attorney. We can advise you on whether it is appropriate to bring a birth injury lawsuit on behalf of your child. Call the Hartsoe Law Firm in Knoxville at (865) 524-5657 or contact us through our online form. We also represent people in Clinton, Oak Ridge, Alcoa, Louisville, Maryville, LaFollette, Tazewell, Newport, Crossville, Jamestown, Rutledge, Greeneville, Morristown, Chattanooga, Dandridge, Jefferson City, Strawberry Plains, Madisonville, Lenoir City, Loudon, Athens, and other communities in Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Cumberland, Fentress, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hamilton, Jefferson, Knox, Monroe, Loudon, McMinn, and Bradley Counties.

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