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A form of brain damage, periventricular leukomalacia, also known as PVL, has an adverse affect on the white matter of babies’ brains. White matter is critical to the brain because it enables the electrical impulse signals that the brain utilizes to control the body. If white matter tissue undergoes cellular decay, then there will be holes or voids in the brain. The holes fill up with fluid, which then results in PVL.
This condition is the main cause of epilepsy and cerebral palsy, and it can cause other permanent mental and physical disabilities as well. About 60% to 100% of babies with PVL will also have a diagnosis of cerebral palsy.
PVL can happen in utero, while a mother is in labor, or shortly after she has given birth. It usually develops between 24-36 weeks gestation, and it sometimes affects babies who are born prematurely, prior to 32 weeks gestation. Other causes include the rupturing of the amniotic sac, umbilical cord inflammation, fetal membrane inflammation, prolonged resuscitation of the infant, asphyxia in pregnancy, labor, or delivery, and antepartum hemorrhage.
Symptoms of Periventricular Leukomalacia
If a baby is exhibiting the following symptoms, then they may have PVL:
- Vision and hearing issues
- Loss of coordination
- Impaired development
- Muscle contractions or tightness
- Cognitive impairment
When a baby is born with this condition, doctors usually will not diagnose the baby until months later. They will need to run tests like a cranial ultrasound, where they use sound waves to look at the baby’s brain. They may also do an MRI, or a magnetic resonance imaging test, to see a detailed view of the brain.
Treatment for Periventricular Leukomalacia
There is no treatment for PVL. Once the white matter in the brain decays, it will not repair itself and no treatment can restore it. Since it’s not progressive, the symptoms will not worsen over time.
Although you can’t treat PVL, you can treat conditions that arise as a result of it. For instance, if your child has cerebral palsy, then you can:
- Send them to occupational and physical therapy, where they will learn how to perform everyday tasks and work on improving their physical functions.
- Put them on medication, such as muscle relaxants and sedatives.
- Ensure they undergo surgery if they need it.
- Purchase medical equipment for them so they can move more easily.
If your child is diagnosed with epilepsy, then you can:
- Put them on anticonvulsant medications.
- Put them on a special diet.
- Ensure they undergo necessary surgery.
- Install medical devices that may help prevent and control seizures.
Your pediatrician will be able to give you a treatment plan for your child depending on the kind of condition they have.
How Do I Know if Medical Malpractice Caused Periventricular Leukomalacia?
PVL may happen on its own even if your doctor does everything right. Unfortunately, complications arise in pregnancy and during labor without warning.
Sometimes, though, medical malpractice could cause PVL to occur. If any of the following circumstances happened to you, you may have a case:
- The doctor did not monitor you and your fetus properly during pregnancy and labor.
- The doctor failed to monitor your baby properly after birth.
- The doctor did not schedule a C-section when they saw there were issues or they delayed the C-section during labor.
Even if you believe you have the right evidence to support your claim, it may not be enough. It’s best to call a birth injury lawyer who has experience and can give you a professional opinion on whether or not medical malpractice may have occurred.
Many medical malpractice suits get thrown out before they can go to trial. This is because the legal system makes it difficult to sue doctors. They don’t want doctors to be vulnerable and get sued all the time, or else nobody would want to go into the medical field. However, if you have strong proof and a birth injury lawyer on your side, your claim may be seen as valid and you could potentially receive a settlement.
How Much Will I Receive From a Periventricular Leukomalacia Settlement?
If your case goes through, you could receive compensation for things like:
- Medical bills
- Loss of companionship and enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Future medical care
- Loss of earning capacity
You could receive a settlement based on the amount of your economic damages such as your medical bills and future medical care, and your noneconomic damages like pain and suffering. Your lawyer will be able to calculate these for you. Your settlement will be higher if your costs are higher as well. For example, if your child has cerebral palsy and now needs surgery, your settlement could be higher than if your child did not need surgery.
Settlement Offers in a Periventricular Leukomalacia Case
You won’t know what your compensation is going to be until your lawyer successfully procures a settlement for you.
The way the process goes is you will reach out to a birth injury lawyer, and they will ask you what kind of evidence you have to support your claim. This could include photographs of your baby’s injuries, medical bills, and witness statements. You’d send over that evidence and your lawyer would evaluate it. If there’s more evidence to collect, they can assist you.
Then, they’ll get in touch with your doctor, the defendant, and attempt to reach a settlement to cover your damages. The defendant may settle; oftentimes they will to avoid going to court, which is costly and could harm their reputation. Other times, the defendant may try to negotiate for a lower settlement or reject a settlement altogether, at which point you may need to go to court. Your lawyer will explain all of your options and advise you every step of the way.
Why Contact a Birth Injury Lawyer?
PVL can be devastating. You were expecting to give birth to a healthy baby, and now, possibly because of malpractice, your baby is injured and may have lifelong health issues. All you want is for your baby to be happy, so right now, you’re focusing all your energy on them.
At the same time, you don’t want your doctor to get away with what they did. A lawyer will advocate for you and work hard to get you the compensation you deserve. They will represent your best interests so that you can have some peace of mind during this difficult moment.
Periventricular Leukomalacia Birth Injury Attorneys
If your baby has PVL and you believe that medical malpractice was at play before, during, or after you gave birth, then get in touch with Gilman & Bedigian for help. We’re standing by and ready to help.
Contact Gilman & Bedigian 24/7 for a free consultation at (800) 529-6162.