Newborn cooling therapy is a treatment for infants that were deprived of oxygen during the birthing process. The treatment is administered in the first six hours of the baby’s life and can possibly stop some debilitating birth injuries. When the treatment is offered, you may not know why the doctors would need to administer this treatment.
What the medical staff may not tell you is that an error may have occurred in the delivery room that lead to cooling therapy being required. It’s possible that the error was caused by negligence and they may omit this fact. At Shrager & Sachs, we understand how traumatic it can be to watch your child go through this treatment. If it turns out that the therapy was required due to negligence, you can stand up for your child’s rights. Our lawyers will fight to get you compensation for medical expenses, costs of future care, and pain and suffering.
When a baby doesn’t get enough oxygen, they may have long-lasting brain damage. Infant brain damage can cause physical and cognitive disabilities that could make the child have issues with mobility, coordination, speech, memory, and recognition. Your child may need regular physical therapy, as well as special education. This kind of care can get expensive, which is why Shrager & Sachs will fight for you and your child every step of the way.
What Is a Newborn Cooling Cap?
The cap used in newborn cooling therapy, which can also be referred to as the Olympic Cool-Cap System, keeps the newborn’s head at a cooler temperature than normal. The newborn cooling cap is flexible and contains channels for coolant to run through it and maintain its temperature. Ideally, this cools down the brain and may prevent brain damage.
The infant will stay in this controlled state depending on the severity of their injury. The therapy can take up to 2-3 days.
Doctors will have to carefully monitor babies that go through this treatment. They pay close attention to the following:
- Brain Activity
- Heart Rate
- Oxygen Levels
As the treatment is completed, the baby’s head is slowly warmed back to normal temperature. This can also be a lengthy process because allowing the infant’s head to warm up too quickly could hurt the affected areas that were treated with the newborn cooling cap.
Why Use Newborn Cooling Therapy?
Doctors may tell you that this therapy can help prevent brain damage, but you may not know the extent of what that means. Brain damage can cause disorders like cerebral palsy (CP). People with CP often have muscular issues and may have trouble walking or reaching for objects and controlling body movements. CP can also cause seizures and difficulty with swallowing or sucking, which can put the baby at risk of getting hurt and also have issues with eating.
Knowing that there’s a possibility that your child won’t have to face these challenges throughout their life is a comforting thought. So while the beginning of your child’s life was harrowing, they may not have permanent disabilities.
Cooling Therapy Results
In 2004, Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital participated in a newborn cooling therapy study. The device, called the “Cool-Cap,” was used to treat full-term babies who suffered from a lack of oxygen during birth. The reasons for oxygen deprivation during birth include compressed umbilical cords, placental abruptions, and uterine ruptures.
- Overall, the Cool-Cap reduced 10 percent of brain damage for the group.
- The device worked best on babies with moderate brain damage, reducing it by 60 percent. This group of babies had motor damage and may have developed cerebral palsy.
Cullen Huff was one of the children who didn’t get enough oxygen because of a compressed umbilical cord. There was an 80 percent chance he would have brain damage. He underwent the newborn cooling therapy and it was successful. At four and a half years old, he’s going to school, writing, reading, and living a normal life.
Part of the study included an 18-month follow up, which showed that the moderate brain damage babies had sustained during birth was significantly reduced. It should be noted, however, that babies with the most severe brain damage did not benefit from the treatment as much as those in the moderate group.
The Correlation Between Cooling Therapy and Birth Injuries
While these medical advancements are miraculous, there are situations where these treatments should never have had to happen in the first place. Traumatic delivery processes may show that the medical staff made mistakes.
Take note if you can’t seem to get a straight answer for why your newborn requires this treatment, because it could mean the hospital is trying to avoid admitting that they were responsible for medical malpractice. You deserve to know what happened to your child and why. Your birth injury lawyer in Philadelphia will make sure that you get answers.
Get Help from a Philadelphia Birth Injury Lawyer
While the cooling cap therapy may prevent or lessen the extent of brain damage for some infants, it isn’t a guaranteed treatment, and would not have been necessary if the medical staff had acted responsibly. You can hold them accountable for their negligent actions. We will help you stand up to hospitals that injured your child.
If you suspect your child was a victim of a birth injury, get in touch with us immediately. We know that this time is distressing and the thought of filing a claim can be overwhelming, but that’s why we’re here. Your personal injury attorney from Shrager & Sachs will investigate your case and fight so you can focus on your child’s health.