Articles Posted in Hypoxic Brain Damage

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Parents rely on cribs as a safe haven – a secure place to leave babies unsupervised while they tend to other responsibilities. According to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, cribs are not nearly as safe as we think.

Cribs, playpens and bassinets are responsible for injuries to 26 babies each day (9,500 every year) in the United States. Those figures do not take into account the approximately 100 crib-related infant deaths (“crib death“) that occur each each year.

The author of this study, Gary Smith is also the director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. He says that “cribs are unique among other children’s products. Parents expect to be able to place a child in a crib and know when they walk away that child will be safe. We need to hold cribs to much higher safety standards as opposed to baby equipment you are supposed to only use with parental supervision.”

The study focused on the number of injuries in children under the age of 2 who were treated in hospital emergency rooms for crib-related injuries between 1990 and 2008. It’s authors relied on data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. Many more children are treated in doctor’s offices or urgent-care centers and those cases are not even included in the study.
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Miami, Florida – Drowning is the number one cause of death among children in Miami-Dade County. With Summer approaching, more children will be in or near swimming pools, at beaches, water parks and lakes. This increased exposure to water coincides with an increase in the number of drownings. For this reason, it is extremely important that children are taught about water safety.

The Miami-Dade Fire Department has responded to 199 drownings since January 2007. Most of those involved children under 16 years old and 32% involved children under 5 years old. In Miami, most drowning incidents occur between 11:00am and 6:00pm peaking between 3:00pm and 4:00pm. The majority of Miami drownings and near drownings occur in the Summer months from May through August. MDFR has already responded to 11 drowning incidents just since January of 2009.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue has prepared the following list of Summer Safety Tips to help keep our children safe:

• Always think of the ocean, lakes and your pool as dangerous places.
• Always directly supervise children when they are in a pool or around any body of water. Young children can drown in just a few inches of standing water. Bathtubs and large buckets also pose a threat. Most childhood drownings occur without an adult immediately present.
• Keep a phone at poolside so you don’t have to leave the kids to answer the phone and so you can call 9-1-1 immediately in case of an emergency.
• Never assume that swimming lessons or flotation devices can completely protect a child from drowning. Don’t have a false sense of security!
• Install alarms on all doors that lead into a pool area so you will know if a door to the pool has been opened.
• Secure long hair to the head, braid it, or cover it with a cap. Long hair can get suctioned into defective pool drains and vacuum lines.
• Make sure that all family members learn how to swim and what to do if they see someone in trouble in the water.
• Have your family members learn CPR. Drowning victims have a better chance of surviving if they get assistance right away.
• Know and comply with the Florida and Miami-Dade County statutes for pool fencing and pool safety. Pool fencing has been proven to save the lives of many children.
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Two infant deaths have prompted a massive crib recall. The recall of cribs made by Delta Enterprises is being called the largest crib recall in U.S. history. The cribs pose an entrapment and suffocation hazard to infants. For more information, contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

China has had more than its share of dangerous, defective products making news lately. Now dangerous, defective Chinese-made cribs are said to pose the risk of entrapment and strangulation which can lead to infant brain damage or death. Already at least two infant deaths are being attributed to the recalled cribs so far.

New York-based Delta Enterprises recalled almost 1.6 million cribs manufactured in China, Indonesia and Taiwan after it said two babies died. No other details were made available.

Following the announcement by Delta Enterprise Corp. that it was issuing a massive crib recall following the deaths of two infants, the CPSC is considering changing its rules covering crib defects. According to an agency spokesperson, the CPSC was prompted to consider rule changes after its Early Warning System identified issues with the durability of cribs, especially those with drop sides that can disengage and lead to entrapment and strangulation hazards.

The crib recall is one of the largest ever initiated in the U.S. and follows another recall of 2,000 Chinese-made portable cribs which was issued by the CPSC just last week. Those cribs made by Playkids USA of Brooklyn, New York were recalled following the death of a 5-month-old infant. The baby died due to suffocation in August after becoming entrapped between the mattress and the drop side rail of the convertible crib.

This latest recall comes about a year after a massive recall of Mattel toys manufactured in China which were tainted with lead.

More recently, milk contaminated with melamine killed at least four children and prompted Chinese-made products to be pulled from shelves around the world. Tens of thousands of children fell ill with kidney stones.

In August, defective Simplicity bassinets were also recalled after they were implicated in the deaths of two children.

Prior to the August recall of dangerous bassinets, Simplicity recalled 1 million cribs in September 2007. Until this announcement by Delta, last year’s Simplicity recall was the largest crib recall in US history.
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Tampa, Florida – A Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer filed a lawsuit against University Community Hospital in Carrollwood for malpractice last month. The circumstances surrounding this case are anything but typical.

Robin Lumley, childless arrived at the hospital’s emergency room 2 1/2 years ago complaining of terrible pain in her abdomen.

ER nurses documented her complaints and a doctor ordered tests. Lumley asked to use the restroom and the hospital staff let her go.

A short time later, the hospital’s medical staff found that she had delivered a baby girl into the toilet.

The lawsuit alleges that Lumley, 46, didn’t know she was pregnant.

Lumley’s lawyer, however, claims the medical staff should have. Because they failed to recognize obvious signs and symptoms of labor, he says, Lumley’s baby nearly drowned.

The lawyer sued the hospital contending that baby Brianna Rose Lumley went into respiratory arrest which resulted in hypoxic brain damage due to the near drowning and sub-standard medical treatment.

According to the lawyer, the law suit was filed on the child’s behalf, not the mother’s. If it is successful, Robin Lumley won’t get a dime. All of the money recovered in the Florida medical malpractice case would be allocated to pay for the baby’s medical care.

The hospital refused to comment on the pending litigation.

According to caregivers, baby Brianna is just starting to speak and while she has had physical therapy to strengthen her limbs, she will likely face more physical and cognitive challenges.

The lawsuit also alleges that a doctor ordered a pregnancy test, but that test was never performed.

While near drowning incidents rarely occur in a hospital, the consequences are almost always tragic. Hypoxic brain damage – caused by partial deprivation of oxygen to the brain, and anoxic brain damage – caused by total deprivation of oxygen to the brain, are common problems following a near drowning. This type of brain injury is also commonly the result of malpractice. See my earlier post “Miami, Florida – Brain Damage Due To Cerebral Anoxia / Hypoxia Can Result From Medical Malpractice“.

Although this particular occurrence may be unusual in the hospital setting, medical malpractice is not. Unfortunately, many families suffer as a result of Florida medical malpractice.
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Miami, Florida – Cerebral anoxia and hypoxia are terms used to refer to a deprivation of oxygen supply to the brain. Cerebral anoxia refers to a complete absence of oxygen while cerebral hypoxia refers to a dangerous diminution of oxygen supply to this vital organ. Either can can lead to severe, irreversible brain damage characterized by the terms “anoxic brain damage” or “hypoxic brain damage.” Either condition can be the result of medical malpractice.

There are numerous causes of cerebral anoxia or hypoxia. Some examples include:

1). Injuries during birth/delivery (medical malpractice),
2). Compression of the trachea (sometimes the result of medical malpractice),
3). Complications of general anesthesia (often the result of medical malpractice),
4). Drug overdose (often the result of pharmacy negligence or medical malpractice),
5). Asphyxiation caused by ventilator/respirator failure or misuse (sometimes the result of
medical malpractice),
6). Inadequate perfusion on heart/lung machine during coronary artery bypass graft
surgery (CABG) (usually the result of negligence or medical malpractice),
7). Surgical errors,
8). Failure to monitor and treat severe hypotension (very low blood pressure) (usually the
result of medical malpractice),
9). Accidental Drowning or near drowning,
10). Asphyxiation caused by smoke inhalation,
11). Strangulation,
12). Cardiac arrest (when the heart stops pumping),
13). Carbon monoxide poisoning,
14). High altitudes,
15). Choking, and;
16). Diseases that paralyze the respiratory muscles

The cells that make up the human brain are extremely sensitive to oxygen deprivation. Some brain cells actually start to die within the first 5 minutes after their oxygen supply is interrupted. As a result, brain anoxia/hypoxia can lead to death or severe brain damage very quickly.

Brain hypoxia and anoxia are medical emergencies and must be treated immediately. The sooner medical attention is received and the oxygen supply to the brain restored, the better the chances of avoiding severe brain damage or death.

Hypoxia can be mild or severe (anoxia). In mild cases, inattentiveness, poor judgment, and uncoordinated movement may result. In severe cases, the results can include seizures, coma and brain death.

In cases where the brain is deprived of oxygen for only a short time and a coma results, it may be completely or partially reversible, depending on the extent of injury.

Cerebral anoxia/hypoxia is treated in different ways depending on what caused it. In every instance, basic life-support must be ensured.

The outlook or prognosis depends on the extent of the brain injury which, in turn, depends on how long the period of oxygen deprivation lasted. The patients who experience the best recoveries will have been deprived of oxygen for a short period of time.

Conversely, the prognosis is usually poor for those persons who were oxygen deprived for a longer period of time. Even a few minutes is considered a long time for the brain to be without oxygen.

When cerebral anoxia/hypoxia occurs as the result of medical malpractice, the patient or her family members are often not aware that oxygen loss to the brain has occurred. Symptoms to look out for include behavioral changes, cognitive or physical impairment, inattentiveness, poor judgment, memory loss, and a decrease in motor coordination among other warning signs.

Victims of cerebral anoxia/hypoxia, particularly infants and children, can be left with a permanent disability. It is critical for these individuals to receive extensive and continuous support from family, friends and specialists in treating brain damage and in providing neuro-rehabilitation.
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