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Birth Injury and Its Link to Fetal Stroke


Though the National Library of Medicine defines fetal stroke as one which occurs any time between 14 weeks of gestation and the onset of labor, researchers have found that the risk is highest during the delivery process. When the infant does suffer a stroke, studies also reveal that the outcome is either death or neurological developmental issues that manifest between ages three months to six years. Trauma during delivery is one of the top two conditions associated with fetal stroke, which means that preventable error is often a cause or contributing factor to this type of birth injury.

If your child developed an adverse neurodevelopmental or other medical condition linked to a fetal stroke, retaining a skilled Florida birth injury and fetal stroke attorney should be a priority. Your family could be entitled to financial compensation, which is especially important considering the massive costs for lifetime care that your child may incur. An overview of fetal stroke caused by birth injury may be informative.

Fetal Stroke and Birth Injury: A stroke occurs when the blood supply to a part of the brain is restricted or cut off. During delivery, the infant may sustain a fetal stroke due to:

  • Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE);
  • The formation of clots inside a blood vessel that flows into the brain; or,
  • Internal bleeding.

The primary issue with blocked or decreased blood flow is that the brain doesn’t receive essential oxygen. After three minutes, brain cells begin to die from oxygen deprivation, releasing cytokines. These substances are responsible for cell signaling, so they create a ripple effect of damage radiating out from the point where blood flow ceased. The end result is permanent brain injury, cerebral palsy, seizures, and many other disorders.

Link Between Trauma and Fetal Stroke: If the labor and delivery process is especially difficult, health care providers may resort to different strategies intended to prevent harm as much as possible. Trauma may occur through these efforts, but it may not be preventable in some situations. When trauma is due to preventable error and leads to fetal stroke, the resulting medical condition could form the basis of a birth injury claim. Examples include:

  • Improper attempts to expedite delivery;
  • Neglect in using vacuum extractors and forceps; and,
  • Delay in making the decision to perform a C-section, considering the danger of extended contractions and pushing.

Even when it’s not possible to prevent trauma, health care providers still have a duty to deliver proper care to alleviate the impact of fetal stroke. Physicians must immediately take action to treat the infant to prevent the spread of cytokines, which can slow or stop the spread of brain damage.

Trust Our Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyers to Assist with Your Legal Options

At Freidin Brown, P.A., our Miami birth injury lawyers are prepared to pursue all parties responsible for causing your child’s fetal stroke. Our firm’s primary focus is on medical malpractice cases, including claims involving birth injuries. For more information about your rights and remedies, please contact our offices to set up a free consultation regarding your circumstances.


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