Birth Injuries & Brain Damage

Birth injuries

premature-babyBrain injuries may be reflected in various ways from developmental delays to cerebral palsy. Birth Related Brain Injury: A birth related brain injury can be caused from oxygen deprivation, poor monitoring, neglect in administering drugs during pregnancy or delivery, failing to perform a timely caesarean section (C-section), use of excessive force during delivery, dropping an infant, and other trauma to the head affecting the brain. Cerebral Palsy: Cerebral Palsy is an umbrella term encompassing a group of non-progressive, non-contagious conditions that cause physical disability in human development. Cerebral refers to the affected area of the brain; the cerebrum (however the centers have not been perfectly localized and the disease most likely involves connections between the cortex and other parts of the brain such as the cerebellum), and palsy refers to disorder of movement. CP is caused by damage to the motor control centers of the young developing brain and can occur during pregnancy (about 75 percent), during childbirth (about 5 percent) or after birth (about 15 percent) up to about age three. Between 40% and 50% of all children who develop cerebral palsy were born prematurely. Premature infants are vulnerable, in part because their organs are not fully developed, increasing the risk of hypoxic injury to the brain that may manifest as CP. A problem in interpreting this is the difficulty in differentiating between CP caused by damage to the brain that results from inadequate oxygenation and CP that arises from prenatal brain damage that then precipitates premature delivery.

Brain damage in premature babies

premature-baby2PVL due to hypocarbia, hypoxia or ischaemia Premature babies may develop damage to the white matter of their brains.  This type of brain damage is called periventricular leukomalacia (PVL). When premature babies are assisted in their breathing by mechanical ventilation, their blood gases should be closely monitored.  Although the various readings on blood gases are all indicative of the health of the baby, the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide are particularly important for the health of the baby’s brain.  Medical research has shown that if the pressure of carbon dioxide in the blood is allowed to remain low (Hypocarbia) for an excessive period this may result in white matter brain damage. Although premature babies are fragile and prone to rapid changes in condition, nursing and paediatric standards of care have developed to the point that appropriate levels of monitoring and care can significantly reduce the risk of severe harm. If you would like the care of your child assessed, we will gladly assist.

Office Details

Address: Block 2, Lombardy Business Park Cnr Cole & Graham Rds Lombardy Pretoria

Contact Details

Office hours: Mondays – Thursdays: 08h00 – 16h00 Fridays: 08h00 – 13h00 Telephone: +27 (0) 12 809 1588 FAX: +27 (0) 86 603 0097 E-mail:

Special Interest and Specialization

Paul’s special area of interest is children who have suffered severe injuries, specializing in birth injuries and the care of babies and children. The firm has had many exceptional results on behalf of children who have lost their sight and suffered brain damage through negligence in one way or another. He has extensively researched the topics to become a leading specialist in these complex claims.

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In May 2008 we heard about Paul du Plessis and that he specializes in ROP negligence claims. Through investigating hospital records, Paul and his team of experts established that he … received way too much oxygen, causing his blindness. In the following years, we went for numerous appointments, establishing the impact that our son’s blindness has and will have on his life and his future.

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