What is Head Cooling or Hypothermia Therapy?

Head cooling therapy or hypothermia therapy was developed specifically for newborns who suffered a birth injury. Head cooling is intended to minimize the damage caused by reperfusion injuries by altering and slowing the chemical processes within the baby’s brain.

If your baby received head cooling therapy and you're unsure what went wrong, we can help.


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Our attorneys have recovered more than $3 billion in verdicts and settlements for families across the country – delivering real justice and allowing babies who suffered birth asphyxia to get the care and treatment they need.

Why Is Head Cooling Necessary?

When a baby’s brain is deprived of oxygen, damage is caused to the child in several ways:

  1. Brain cells deprived of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood begin to die.
  2. As cells die, toxic compounds spill into the surrounding area, harming healthy cells. This is called a reperfusion injury. This can occur hours, days or even weeks after oxygen and blood flow is restored to the brain.

If your child suffered a birth injury, uncover the truth and what went wrong. It may have been preventable and you deserve justice.

How Does it Work?

Head cooling reduces the baby’s core temperature to between 32-34 degrees Celsius, which has been shown to slow chemical processes in the brain. This has a number of potential effects, including:

  • A reduction in swelling (edema) within the brain
  • A reduction in blood-brain barrier disruptions
  • A reduction in ionic fluxes
  • A decrease excitatory transmitter action in the brain
  • A reduction in vascular permeability
  • A reduction in energy usage
  • Slowed metabolism

Head cooling treatments are administered in a variety of ways, including a purpose-made cap, a cooling mattress or a cooling blanket. If the hospital does not have a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or the appropriate equipment, ice packs can be used until suitable equipment can be secured.

Hospitals and doctors are often not forthcoming about the factors that caused the child to suffer birth asphyxia (and the ensuing long-term damage). Our team has repeatedly uncovered malpractice other preeminent firms have missed – including cases where medical records were altered or forged.

How Does Birth Asphyxia Occur?

The root causes of birth asphyxia are varied, and often include:

  • Prolonged labor
  • Improper presentation (face, breech, etc.) during the delivery
  • Pinching or kinking of the umbilical cord
  • Placental Abruption (link to other page)
  • Mismanaged labor and/or delivery
  • Mismanaged airway for the baby
  • A severe drop in the mother's blood pressure before delivery
  • Physical trauma
  • Certain infections
  • Medical Malpractice or Medical Negligence

For newborns, any interruption – no matter how brief - in the supply of oxygen to the brain can have serious, life-long consequences, including Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), Cerebral Palsy, developmental delays and other physical and/or intellectual disabilities.

If your child received head cooling therapy or endured any deprivation of oxygen and blood to the brain before, during or after birth which resulted in any developmental delays, disabilities or other long-term effects, your child may have been the victim of a mismanaged labor and/or delivery. Uncover what went wrong by having your child’s medical records reviewed by a board-certified OBGYN.

Our Medical Experts Give You An Edge

Our extraordinary in-house medical team, including a board-certified OBGYN, an RN and a former U.S. Navy medical corpsman, help fight for justice. Our team has been consulted by more than 30,000 families impacted by birth injuries and helped secure positive verdicts.

If your child received head cooling therapy or suffered birth asphyxia, we’re here to help you determine what went wrong.

Contact the birth injury team at Janet, Janet & Suggs, LLC for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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