Fetal Stroke Attorneys in Baltimore and Washington DC
A fetal stroke is a stroke that occurs while a baby is in utero. Fetal strokes, also known as perinatal strokes, are shockingly common among newborns in the United States. Recent studies show that fetal strokes occur once out of every 2,800 live births in the U.S.
If your child has suffered from a fetal stroke, you deserve all the help you can get. The Baltimore birth injury law firm of Schochor, Federico, and Staton has helped countless clients recover multimillion-dollar settlements and verdicts for birth injury victims, including fetal stroke victims. Because fetal strokes can lead to cerebral palsy, epileptic seizures, speech disabilities, and numerous other types of disabilities, if your child is the victim of one, you need all the assistance that you can get.
About Fetal Strokes
Fetal strokes typically result from an event that deprives a baby’s brain of oxygen, usually a blood clot (an ischemic stroke) or a hemorrhage (a hemorrhagic stroke). Another notable cause of fetal strokes is hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a condition in which babies are unable to receive enough oxygen to their brains. It is extremely common for babies diagnosed with HIE to also suffer from fetal strokes.
Depending on the severity of the stroke and a baby’s overall health, the symptoms of a fetal stroke can be evident immediately or may not manifest until later in infancy. Studies show that 78 percent of fetal strokes result in either death or severe damage to brain development within three months to six years of the baby’s life.
Identifying and Diagnosing Fetal Strokes
Due to the fact that babies have a much higher percentage of red blood cells than adults, their blood is much thicker on average, making them at risk for fetal strokes. Other factors for perinatal strokes include:
- Head trauma during labor or delivery: pressure applied to the womb or baby’s head can result in strokes due to blood flow obstruction.
- Dehydration: a lack of hydration can cause blood to clot, causing a stroke.
- The mother’s health: diabetes and blood-clotting disorders are two major maternal risk factors for a fetal stroke.
- Infant seizures are a common symptom of fetal strokes. Other indicators that a baby has suffered a stroke include breathing difficulties, jerking motions, and repetitive eye movements. Asymmetrical weakness (favoring one hand over the other) as a baby grows is also a possible indicator of a fetal stroke, particularly if it occurs prior to the baby’s first birthday, as right- or left-handedness does not develop until after that point.
Treating Fetal Strokes
IV fluids, additional oxygen, and blood transfusions are common ways of treating fetal strokes. It is also possible to treat ischemic strokes with blood-thinning medications. Studies also show that it is possible to repair some brain damage using hypothermia therapy. However, brain damage from fetal strokes will affect a child throughout their life.
Healthcare professionals have a duty to ensure that your child’s birth goes as smoothly as possible. When that duty is not upheld, you may be able to pursue legal action. If your child has suffered from a fetal stroke caused by possible medical malpractice, our attorneys offer valuable legal representation. Schedule a free case review.