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Medical negligence at birth: helping to prevent birth-related epilepsy


Epilepsy is a condition that affects one in 50 Australians and most of us are aware of the seizures that sufferers endure. In some cases, epilepsy is caused through genetics. What you may not know, however, is that sometimes the causes of epilepsy can be prevented.

Cases of epilepsy can develop from brain injuries, strokes, brain tumours, infections of the brain, and birth defects – often as the result of medical negligence. Sadly, this was the case for baby Ayvah Yarran.

Ayvah’s story: medical negligence at birth

Pregnancy complications with pre-eclampsia Ayvah’s mother Nicole was 32 weeks pregnant when she presented to the hospital with pre-eclampsia, a complication of pregnancy characterised by high blood pressure and protein in the urine after the 20th week of pregnancy.

Presenting to the hospital for birth The hospital knew of Nicole’s pre-eclampsia, but when they delivered her baby, no precautions were taken. The failure to address her pre-eclampsia resulted in a cerebral palsy and epilepsy diagnosis for Nicole's beautiful little girl, Ayvah. Ayvah was born with severe disabilities and developmental delays. She struggled to talk, eat and hear. After a year of suffering severe ongoing seizures, Ayvah passed away as a result of this medical negligence at birth. Sadly, Ayvah’s severe brain injury could have been prevented.

Sharing Ayvah's story in the hopes of helping others For many, epilepsy is not a disease we always have the answers for. For others like Nicole, it can’t be dismissed as a matter of misfortune.

Nicole allowed us to share her story to prevent further tragedies. Based on her history and symptoms, Nicole’s doctors knew or ought to have known she was suffering pre-eclampsia. She deserved better treatment at the hospital she attended. Tragically, Ayvah is just one catastrophic birthing story. While young Ayvah was a gift to her mother, the struggles of living with a child who suffers from seizures because of epilepsy is emotionally painful at the best of times. The eventual loss of that child is unbearable.

Taking care during pregnancy

Nicole and Ayvah’s story highlights how important proper management and care of high-risk pregnancies, such as one with pre-eclampsia, is required to ensure a safe delivery of a healthy baby.

To help prevent epilepsy caused through birth injury there are some things that pregnant mums can do to give their child the best possible chance. These include:

  • Informing your medical practitioner of your full medical history.
  • Seeking medical attention if there are any changes, especially if you have blurred vision, severe headaches or abdominal cramping.
  • Contacting your medical practitioner if you have any concerns during the birthing process. Ask all the questions you need to ask to make sure you and your medical team can make informed decisions.

Contact Shine Lawyers

At Shine Lawyers our medical negligence lawyers understand the stressful and often confusing time after the birth of your child, that has not gone to plan and resulted in a lifetime of injury or death as a result of medical negligence at birth. Our expertly trained medical negligence lawyers work on a “no win, no fee” basis, so you won’t have to pay us anything until we win your case. Reach out to Shine Lawyers to help you right wrong, as we fight for you to receive the compensation you deserve.

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: March 10, 2020.

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