Medical Tests Used to Diagnose Birth Injuries | Charles Thronson

Medical Tests Used to Diagnose Birth Injuries

May 29, 2021

When a child is injured during birth, parents have a lot of questions that deserve to be answered. One of the first steps toward determining how to proceed with a birth injury lawsuit is getting the birth injury appropriately diagnosed. A number of medical tests exist to diagnose birth injuries. Some injuries may be diagnosed immediately following birth, while others may not become apparent until children miss major milestones such as sitting, walking, or talking. Determining whether a birth injury has occurred typically begins with an initial assessment.

Using Apgar Score to Assess Newborn Health

Created in 1952 by Dr. Virginia Apgar, this method is used to quickly check the vital signs of a newborn baby:

  • A – Appearance: The doctor checks a baby’s skin color, such as whether the infant appears blue, pale, or pink.
  • P – Pulse: The medical team checks to see if the baby’s heart rate is too slow or too fast.
  • G – Grimace: This refers to reflexive responses. The medical provider determines if a baby has an appropriate response to stimulation, such as grimacing or pulling away.
  • A – Activity and muscle tone: Is the baby showing active motion, or is the baby limp?
  • R – Respiration and breathing: The doctor checks to see if the baby is breathing well and crying normally or if the baby’s breathing is weak, slow, or absent.

Apgar scores below three are considered critically low; scores from four to six are below normal; and scores of seven or above are considered normal. Babies with low Apgar scores usually require medical intervention. Low Apgar scores may be attributed to birth injuries, including C-section errors or delays, head injuries, and errors in fetal monitoring. Determining a baby’s Apgar score may provide initial insight into whether a birth injury has occurred.

Further Testing to Diagnose Birth Injuries

If an infant’s initial evaluation shows a need for immediate medical intervention, or if a baby is not growing or developing normally due to a birth injury, further tests may be needed to determine the exact nature of the birth injury that has occurred.

  • An electroencephalogram (EEG) tests brain activity and may be used to diagnose abnormal brain function or identify certain conditions associated with birth injuries, such as cerebral palsy.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used to diagnose a variety of conditions potentially linked to birth injuries, including cerebral palsy and brachial plexus injuries.
  • Positive emission tomography (PET) scans create a three-dimensional image of the body and can be used to diagnose certain cognitive disorders by identifying abnormalities in communications between the brain and the body.

Consult an Experienced Birth Injury Attorney

If your child and your family have suffered following an injury during childbirth, you need the support and expertise of an experienced birth injury attorney. If you believe the medical staff was negligent in providing you with care during your delivery, resulting in injuries to your infant, do not hesitate to contact us today for an initial consultation. We can help you determine how to proceed and get the compensation you and your family deserve.

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