Understanding How Oregon Birth Injuries Can Cause ADHD

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How Oregon Birth Injuries Can Cause ADHD, Portland Birth Injury Attorney Explains

We all know someone or know someone who knows someone with ADHD. ADHD, short for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, increasingly pervades the United States nowadays. Some of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”)’s latest statistics put forth that about 6.1 million children in the U.S., between ages 2 to 17, have been diagnosed with ADHD. That is 9.4 percent of children in this country. Adults are impacted by this Disorder as well: about 4 percent of adults cope with it on a daily basis.  While it is a common disorder, Oregon birth injuries can cause ADHD.

Regardless of your age, having ADHD can be debilitating and stand in the way of the everyday tasks everyone must carry out in life. Where does such a challenging and frustrating Disorder come from? One may ask, “Why did I get this?” Why does, even, one sibling have ADHD, and the other does not? 

Surprisingly to some, and unsurprisingly to others, the answer is a birth injury or other prenatal injuries. A birth injury is a preventable error from medical professionals such as doctors, physicians’ assistants, or nurses. Further, it includes reckless, careless, and downright negligent conduct by trusted healthcare providers. Examples of birth injuries include failing to perform a C-section at the right time; misusing forceps and vacuum-assisted delivery methods and damaging the baby’s head; and incorrectly administering medications to the mother or baby. Birth injuries can likely lead to learning disabilities, especially ADHD. Our Portland birth injury lawyer is readily available to discuss your child’s birth injury and ADHD with you.

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is more frequently diagnosed during childhood, and lasts into adulthood. Symptoms and signs of ADHD include: difficulty paying attention; difficulty controlling impulsive behaviors; overly and hyper-active; memory problems; failure to pay attention to detail; disorganization; frequent daydreaming; losing things often; squirming or fidgeting; excessive talking; and difficulty getting along with others. 

There are three different forms of ADHD, which may or may not include some of the aforementioned symptoms. Oregon birth injuries can cause ADHD, including any type.

  1. Predominantly Inattentive Presentation:
  • Difficult to start or finish a task
  • Difficult to pay attention to details
  • Difficult to follow instructions 
  • Difficult to follow conversations
  • Forgets details of daily tasks
  1. Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation:
  • Fidgets a lot
  • Speaks a lot
  • Run, jump, climbing constantly
  • Restless—cannot sit still in one place for too long
  • Interrupts others a lot 
  • Speaks at inappropriate times
  • Grabs things from others
  1. Combined Presentation:
  • Symptoms of numbers one and two are equally present in the person

It should be noted that symptoms can change at different times, especially as one matures and ages. A person can shift from having one presentation to another, to another, back to another, and so on and so forth. It can be very difficult to diagnose ADHD, especially when other mental illnesses or disabilities are present, which they often are.

It is likewise difficult to diagnose during adult years. There are varying schools of thought on whether an adult can acquire ADHD in adulthood, if it simply carried over from childhood, or is another learning disability. Regardless, if an adult has ADHD, their symptoms look similar to those of children’s, but differ in important ways:

  • Impulsiveness
  • Poor time management skills
  • Trouble multitasking 
  • Excessive activity or restlessness
  • Poor planning
  • Low tolerance for frustration and other emotions
  • Regular mood swings
  • Issues starting, following through on, and ending tasks
  • Hot temper
  • Difficulties coping with emotions and stress

How Birth Injuries Can Cause ADHD?

How are some children born with ADHD, and others are not? Akin to many other learning disabilities, how the disabilities form in a child is a murky question. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to pinpoint when and why someone developed ADHD. Like many other conditions, there is not just one factor that caused the condition. Often times, there are several factors that add up to explain the condition, if we are lucky enough to learn them in the first place.

Scientists continue to study ADHD and its intricacies. Although birth injuries are often a source of ADHD, past studies have shown that a reliable factor is genetics. It should be noted that other factors may worsen or contribute to the genetics.

In addition to genetics, exposure to certain materials or substances can lead to the formation of ADHD in an infant. Examples include lead, alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs, but run the gamut. 

To our point, there are various birth injuries that can occur that can lead to the development of ADHD. The first one is a brain injury, also sometimes known as traumatic brain injury (“TBI”). TBIs can happen, for example, when forceps are excessively used on an infant’s head. Likewise, overly aggressive use of vacuum extractors would be another source. The use of forceps and vacuum extractors need to be extremely carefully used, as an infant’s head is about an eighth as strong as an adult’s head. The infant’s brain is only starting to form and needs to be handled with in a highly sensitive manner. One nick or prod can result in an injury to the brain that causes or contributes to ADHD. Other procedures and actions by a medical professional can cause a TBI as well. A study found that 62 percent of children who sustained a TBI developed ADHD, whereas 15 percent of the non-TBI pool did not. See our article on TBIs in Infants for more details.

The second birth injury that can lead to the development of ADHD is a poorly timed or performed C-Section, that would lead to a TBI. A C-section, short for a Cesarean section, according to the Mayo Clinic, is a surgical delivery of a baby, through making incisions in the uterus and abdomen. This is when a vaginal delivery is not preferred or an option, due to safety. C-sections are becoming increasingly commonplace in the United States: about 1 in 3 women have C-sections today. Although a C-Section is a vital option when a baby cannot be delivered vaginally in a safe manner, there are still numerous risks to the mother and baby.

Again, there is the risk of nicking the baby’s head during the C-Section incision. If the C-Section is done too early, before 39 weeks, then the baby will be premature and weigh too little. Babies need at least 39 weeks to fully form and develop, and prematurity and low weight can be a precursor to or contributing factor in the ADHD. 

Moreover, if a C-Section is performed too late, cognitive complications can arise, such as Cerebral Palsy and ADHD, amongst many others. This is because the brain is starved of oxygen for a particular period of time.  This is almost always a type of birth injury or negligence.

The third birth injury that can lead to the development of ADHD is premature delivery, regardless of a C-Section or not. Again, premature delivery, regardless of how it is done, affects the baby, because the baby’s brain is not yet fully formed and developed.

Similarly, the fourth birth injury that can lead to the development of ADHD is low birth weight. Like prematurity, which goes hand-in-hand with low birth weight, it is an indication of prematurity and less brain development.

How is ADHD From a Birth Injury Treated?

Oregon birth injuries can cause ADHD which could affect a baby for a lifetime.  Once an infant or child has been diagnosed with ADHD by a healthcare provider and educational evaluator, the parents are tasked with finding a solution. Finding a solution can almost never be done alone—a medical professional and a team of other doctors and therapists are needed. ADHD requires both medical care, such as from a pediatrician and child psychiatrist, if over the age of 6, and therapy and behavioral treatment, with a child psychologist or social worker. It also calls for the family to work closely with the child’s teachers, caregivers, and coaches.

If the child is under the age of 6, therapy is the first line of treatment. Medication is a last resort for children under the age of 6 because there are not a lot of studies on the use of ADHD medicine in this age group and children under 6 tend to react more negatively to this type of medication. Behavioral classes are suggested, especially for the parents, so they are educated on how to approach and cope with their child’s struggles and actions. It is also highly recommended to develop plans with teachers, coaches, and anyone who will be working directly with the child and his or her ADHD.

For children over the age of 6, medication and therapy is the typical plan. Medication for ADHD is usually stimulants, such as Adderall, Vyvanse, Dexedrine, and Ritalin. Stimulants tend to give one a sharper focus, better organizational skills, energy, and greater attention to detail. However, they can also make those who take it, nervous, jittery, wired, and moody and cause a loss of appetite. 

More, if someone has co-occurring mental illnesses or learning disabilities, stimulants can exacerbate the symptoms of those other illnesses or disabilities. For example, if you also have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (“OCD”), you already focus on schoolwork excessively, checking it over and over again. A stimulant would magnify that hurdle and cause the OCD/ADHD student to dwell on his or her work even more. Many of the stimulants that exist have not been around for long, and their long-term impacts are unknown. As well, some of the side effects are severe, especially on the younger population. There are non-stimulants targeted to alleviate ADHD symptoms, and although they have less negative side effects than stimulants, they are known to be not as effective.

Finally, therapy is likewise recommended for children over the age of 6, and anyone with ADHD, for that matter. Organizational skills training is another suggested form of therapy, especially as children begin to form habits and have the greatest capacity to learn. 

Trained physicians in this area are fully aware of what has just been discussed. A doctor who has caused a birth injury to you and your child, which has further led to your child having ADHD, should be held accountable. Accountable for the ADHD caused, and accountable for the ongoing treatment your child and your family will have to undergo as a result of ADHD. Contact our Portland birth injury lawyer today to talk about your child’s birth injury and resulting ADHD.

Oregon Birth Injuries Can Cause ADHD, and Our Law Firm Can Help

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice contact the Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form.  We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.

Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton,  Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles,  St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.

We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take medical malpractice cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.

For a free case evaluation


(541) 385-1999 in Bend, Oregon
(503) 479-3646 in Portland, Oregon
(612) 444-3374 in Minnesota

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