New Medical Treatment Offers Promise in Preventing Cerebral Palsy at Birth and Improving the Quality of Life for Many

Childbirth is a wonderful experience for expectant parents, but birth complications and injuries can cause undue stress and trauma to families. In some cases, significant birth injuries such as cerebral palsy develop because of oxygen deprivation, low blood flow, and other factors, leading to permanent disability and even death. However, researchers across the world are discovering new therapies to increase the survival rates of infants with cerebral palsy.

What is Hypothermia Therapy?

A woman named Charlotte Cain from Detroit, Michigan received the benefits of a groundbreaking therapy when doctors at the Detroit Medical Center took proper action to save her baby. After Charlotte’s uterus ruptured during delivery, doctors wrapped the newborn in chilled blankets, saving her life and reducing her injuries. What is hypothermia therapy and how does it work for children with cerebral palsy?

Researchers at the Detroit Medical Center have studied the effects of cooling blankets for newborn children for several years. Hypothermia therapy is a treatment that lowers a baby’s body temperature to effectively fight neurological diseases and treat fevers and infections. Over the past two decades, researchers at the Detroit Medical Center have made significant strides in developing and improving this treatment.

The Detroit Medical Center’s research shows that hypothermia therapy can increase the survival rates of babies with encephalopathy, a birth injury caused by oxygen deprivation. Additional studies on the topic have increased as doctors are more interested in how this procedure can help struggling infants. In addition to encephalopathy therapy, researchers are examining the effects of hypothermia therapy on conditions such as brain injuries and heart stoppages.

How Does Hypothermia Therapy Work?

Luckily, hypothermia therapy is a simple and relatively inexpensive treatment. After a baby is born with encephalopathy or another condition, doctors wrap a blanket with cold water around him or her. The water circulates to lower the newborn’s temperature over 72 hours.

Studies have shown a reduced rate in infant death and even a reduction in cerebral palsy rates due to this treatment. In addition, children who receive this therapy have the chance at a better quality of life.

To qualify for hypothermia therapy, a baby has to satisfy one of the following criteria:

  • A low Apgar score after birth, which physicians use to analyze a baby’s health based on skin color, heart rate, muscle tone, stimulation response, and breathing
  • A gestational age of 36 weeks or higher
  • Need for oxygen or resuscitation after birth
  • Moderate to severe encephalopathy or other abnormal brain functions

According to Doctor Seetha Shankaran, a pioneering expert in the study of hypothermia therapy and neonatologist at the Detroit Medical Center, the procedure only costs around $6,000 to perform. However, although it is a cost-efficient and effective solution, many hospitals may not be aware of its benefits.

The Impact of Hypothermia Therapy

After the birth of Kierra Cain in 2002, mother Charlotte Cain is still enjoying the effects of hypothermia therapy today. Despite her complicated birth, Kierra is now a happy, healthy young adult living a normal life. Charlotte is extremely thankful for the choice that the doctors at the Detroit Medical Center took to save her daughter’s life.

Soon after Kierra was born, doctors told Charlotte and her husband that the child was not likely to make it through the night. After Kierra’s hypothermia therapy, her condition drastically improved. One of 190 babies used in Dr. Shankaran’s 2012 study, Kierra suffered from seizures after birth, which stopped after medication.

By the time Kierra was only one and a half years old, doctors told Charlotte that Kierra did not have to take the medication any longer, and she has remained seizure-free ever since. Charlotte and Kierra enjoy a normal life together, able to participate in all the activities that a parent and child should enjoy.

Birth Injuries and Legal Implications

Not all families are as lucky as Charlotte and Kierra Cain. Although significant research shows that hypothermia therapy can save lives and prevent the types of brain damage that lead to cerebral palsy, many medical professionals have limited knowledge of the treatment.

Doctors are working to implement hypothermia therapy as a standard pediatric treatment. Hopefully this action will lead to less babies with cerebral palsy, a lower infant mortality rate, and more success stories like Charlotte and Kierra Cain.

However, newborns are still suffering the consequences of poor medical care during delivery, resulting in irreversible and life-altering damage. Some medical professionals fail to provide proper fetal monitoring during childbirth, leading to oxygen deprivation, low blood flow, and delayed treatment – which can all ultimately result in brain damage.

If your child suffered from brain damage because of medical malpractice, you may be eligible to recover compensatory damages. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit can help you seek justice for the circumstances of your child’s birth. Your child could receive potential compensation for past and future medical care, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life.

Contact Cerebral Palsy LLC today to discuss your child’s case and your legal options.