In the realm of birth injuries, certain conditions or occurrences seem to be reported and receive media coverage more often than other adverse outcomes. Those commonly include things like cerebral palsy, bone fractures, spinal cord injuries, fetal asphyxia and hospital-acquired infections.
Obviously, though, and tragically owing sometimes to acts of medical malpractice or hospital negligence, a good many other defects and lasting disabilities can also result from deliveries and during an infant’s early newborn period.
One of those is stroke, a condition that, while more than infrequently occurring in infants, is often misdiagnosed initially, with the result being that precious time is lost that could have been spent on vital treatment and medications.
In fact, it is estimated that stroke occurs in about one of every 3,000 live births. Although that number might at first glance appear to be small and less than immediately alarming, its implications are clear when it is extrapolated out to the number of births that occur daily in hospitals across the country.
Research indicates that pediatric stroke is not accurately diagnosed on average until about 28 hours after it has occurred. Some medical experts stress that this is far too long a period to note and treat the condition, and that physicians should be performing better, given that the risk of pediatric stroke is highest during late pregnancy and right after birth.
“The first week of life is the highest risk in a child’s whole life,” says Dr. Neil Friedman, a pediatric neurologist at the highly regarded Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Pediatric Neurology.
Friedman adds that many pediatricians miss the diagnosis entirely until developmental lags are seen in a child when he or she is older.
Obviously, the earlier an accurate diagnosis is made, the better are the chances for an optimal recovery.
Source: ABC News, “Pediatric stroke often misdiagnosed, treatment delayed,” Susan Donaldson James, Feb. 11, 2013