New treatment could dramatically reduce number of cerebral palsy cases and medical negligence claims
Doctors are researching whether a naturally occurring gas could help reduce incidence of brain damage in newborn babies. The Medical Research Council is funding the trial in to Xenon, which is already used as an anaesthetic in some procedures.
Brain cells are exceptionally susceptible to oxygen starvation and begin to die rapidly. It is thought over 1000 babies each year suffer complications due to oxygen starvation. This can lead to life changing disabilities such as cerebral palsy. There are a multitude of factors which can cause oxygen starvation such as problems with the placenta, infection or the umbilical cord getting wrapped around the infants neck - the deprivation can often be the result of medical negligence.
Currently experts use a cooling technique to lower the temperature of the infants body to reduce the affect of oxygen starvation. It is hoped that by adding Xenon, it could potentially double the success rate of this procedure by reviving dying brain cells.
The 18 month trial is being held at University College Hospital London, Evelina Children’s Hospital, Queen Charlotte’s Hospital and Liverpool Women’s Hospital.
Mark Bowman, medical negligence and birth injury claims specialist commented: 'Birth asphyxia is an all too common event and can have devastating consequences for infants and their families. At Fieldfisher we have successfully dealt with a number of cases where medical negligence and oxygen starvation have resulted in severe Cerebral Palsy. We fully support any studies, techniques or innovations which could help alleviate the number of these devastating events'.