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What causes PVL?

As PVL commonly occurs between 28 and 34 weeks gestation, it is normally seen in premature babies, but we have had cases where it has also been caused at term. And just because a baby is born prematurely, it does not mean that PVL is inevitable.

The two main causes of PVL are hypoxia – a reduction of oxygen in the blood supply to the brain – and infection. In pregnancy and labour, there are a number of events that can cause hypoxia, and a number of infections that can present in both mother and baby, such as Group B Strep (GBS) or chorioamnionitis (infection of the placental membranes).

Hypoxia and infection can also happen during the neonatal period and lead to PVL if not treated appropriately.

When does a claim arise?

If there were signs that a baby was suffering from hypoxia in the womb, such as an abnormal heart rate, and these were not acted upon by midwives or doctors before damage to the brain occurred, there may be a claim for clinical negligence.

Equally, if there were signs that the mother or baby was suffering from an infection and this was not treated with the appropriate antibiotics and care, there may also be grounds for a claim.

Our specialist team

We pride ourselves on being experts in brain injury and birth injury claims, having obtained compensation for many children suffering with disabilities caused by PVL and helping to change their lives for the better. We don’t shy away from difficult cases, so even if you have been turned down by another firm, contact us to see if we can help. We also have a dedicated brain injury website that provides a lot more information on the work we do to help those living with brain injury.

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