Oxygen Deprivation Can Lead to Severe Birth Injuries
Oxygen deprivation can lead to serious complications for a newborn baby. While still in the womb, the fetus receives oxygen through the umbilical cord of the mother. If there is a problem during labor—an extended amount of time for the mother to give birth or a difficult overall birthing process—the flow of oxygen may be interrupted. Problems a baby can experience due to oxygen deprivation vary and there can be short-term issues or problems such as cerebral palsy that can affect the child for a lifetime.
Medical professionals must adhere to a standard of care
Medical professionals supervising the delivery are aware of the potential life-changing events that can occur if a baby doesn’t receive enough oxygen as well as the possible medical emergencies that happen when a mother is giving birth. They are also expected to know how to react when necessary to any problem that might occur to ensure the safety to the mother and baby. If the medical staff fails to adhere to the accepted standards of care, commits malpractice is negligent during the birth and doesn’t carefully observe for signs of fetal distress and react quickly and accordingly, a severe birth injury can result and be the basis for a birth injury lawsuit.
Parents whose children have suffered from birth injuries because of oxygen deprivation can speak to a birth injury attorney to discuss their case and recover damages for the preventable injuries the mother and baby may have sustained via jury award or settlement.
Hypoxia and asphyxia—two types of oxygen deprivation
Oxygen deprivation has two categories. One is hypoxia and the other is asphyxia.
Asphyxia is when the brain doesn’t receive enough oxygen. Hypoxia occurs when no oxygen reaches the brain at all.
The amount of time an infant experiences these conditions has a great bearing on the injury he or she may suffer. If doctors react in time to the symptoms and provide proper treatment, a full recovery is possible. If not, severe injuries can result. Permanent injuries to the brain and other organs could affect the child for the rest of his or her life.
Symptoms of oxygen deprivation can be poor muscle tone and reflexes; breathing problems; weakness; pale or bluish tone to the skin; diminished heart rate; difficulty feeding; and seizures. Permanent injuries such as impaired sight and hearing, organ failure, mental delays, speech and language problems, developmental disability, cerebral palsy, and early death can result.
Possible causes of oxygen deprivation
Oxygen deprivation during birth can be caused by many factors. They may include the following:
• Abnormal presentation: this can be a breech birth and lead to lack of oxygen
• Infection: if suffered by the mother or baby, it can hinder oxygen delivery
• Lengthy labor/delivery: Issues that lead to a longer delivery risk oxygen deprivation
• Problems with umbilical cord: the cord may become wrapped around the fetus’s neck preventing oxygen from reaching the brain
• Trauma: excessive force used by the medical team with birthing equipment such as forceps of a vacuum extraction
• Shoulder dystocia: The infant’s shoulder can become trapped behind the mother’s pubic bone, squeeze the neck and interrupt the flow of oxygen
• Preeclampsia: high blood pressure in the mother can reduce oxygen to the baby
• Misuse of Pitocin: Pitocin is a medication used during delivery to speed or induce labor; contractions may grow too intense and rapid interfering with oxygen flow
• Uterine rupture: can cause hemorrhaging and interfere with oxygen supply to the baby
• Placenta problems: if the placenta peels from the uterine wall prior to delivery, heavy bleeding in the mother can deprive oxygen from the baby
Contact an attorney at Balkin & Eisbrouch
Parents who believe that their child’s birth injuries are due to a mistake on the part of the doctor or medical team that was responsible for the care of the mother and baby should contact the experienced cerebral palsy attorneys at Balkin & Eisbrouch.
A child suffering from HIE (hypoxic ischemic encephalpathy—a lack of oxygen to the brain) may have severe complications for the duration of his or her life with the parents needing to pay for long-term care and other unforeseen expenses. A birth injury lawsuit can help garner compensation for these expenses as well as the pain and suffering the family must endure.
Balkin & Eisbrouch has over four decades of experience with birth injuries and we understand the pain felt by a family harmed in this way. Our team of experts can help you.
Call to speak with a birth injury lawyer today at 855-60-BIRTH. A consultation is free and you pay no money unless we win your case. Call today.