Microcephaly is a rare, untreatable condition. In this article, we’ll define the term “microcephaly” and explain how it relates to birth injury law.
Microcephaly is a rare neurological condition in which a newborn baby’s head is much smaller than those of other babies of the same age and sex. About 1 in every 800 to 5,000 babies in the United States is born with microcephaly.
Microcephaly often occurs as a result of problems with brain development in the womb or when the brain stops growing after birth. Children with microcephaly commonly have developmental issues.
Microcephaly can be caused by a variety of genetic and environmental factors, and it does not have any treatment. However, therapies can be used to enhance their development.
Potential causes of microcephaly include:
The main symptom of microcephaly is having a head size much smaller than that of other babies of the same age and sex. Head size is measured as the circumference around the top of the baby’s head. Healthcare providers will take this measurement and compare it with other children’s measurements in percentiles. Children with severe microcephaly may also have a sloping forehead.
There is no known cure or treatment for microcephaly. Treatment options range depending on the severity of each individual case. Babies with mild microcephaly may require no additional treatment other than monitoring growth and development. In more severe cases, babies will need treatment to help them manage other health problems including:
Possible complications of microcephaly include:
It is the duty of medical professionals to work to ensure the safety of pregnancy and childbirth in order to reduce the likelihood of complications such as microcephaly. This includes proper fetal monitoring and taking measures to avoid prolonged, difficult labor. This may require things like the use of delivery assistance tools or cesarean section. Ultimately, a failure to prevent avoidable trauma to the brain during birth is negligence. When it leads to microcephaly, it may be considered medical malpractice.
If your child developed microcephaly as a result of a healthcare professional’s negligence, you may be eligible for compensation for your medical bills and other expenses. It is recommended that you speak to an experienced birth injury attorney in order to learn about your next steps.