Doctors may now have a new and powerful tool for the early diagnosis of newborns who suffer brain damage during childbirth. A study recently published in Scientific Reports announced that a breakthrough neonatal blood test can effectively and immediately identify those newborns with neurologic damage resulting from oxygen loss during labor and delivery.
This is a significant step forward in neonatal medicine because it enables doctors to diagnose immediately babies born with serious neurologic birth injuries such as cerebral palsy. Without this new blood test, many of these life-changing brain injuries may go undiagnosed for months and even years after birth.
Early treatment and intervention are key to making the most of birth injuries. This is the most important implication if this technology proves effective. As a Maryland birth injury lawyer, it is hard to ignore the litigation implications this test could have on birth injuries cases. It would be a blow to defense lawyers trying to argue that the child was not injured a birth (and, for that matter, specious lawsuits that allege a causal connection). In other words, it would be easier to get to the real truth as to the ultimate question of whether a doctor or nurse’s mistake caused a birth injury. I also think it would lead to more birth injury lawsuits because many parents do not connect the dots between a mistake during childbirth with mental and physical injuries to the child that are not revealed (or confirmed) until years later.