Lack of Oxygen at Birth Causes Injuries
Giving birth is an exciting, albeit frightening time. The joy and anxiety of becoming a new parent are momentarily overshadowed by the complexities of the birth process. Bringing the baby into the world safe and unharmed is the immediate goal. However, there are many complications that can arise during the birth process, many of which have the potential to seriously harm both mother and child.
One of the most common birth injuries is when the baby does not get enough oxygen. This is known as intrapartum asphyxia, and prolonged oxygen deprivation can cause serious injuries to the brain of the infant, such as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, or HIE. HIE occurs in approximately 1.5-2.5 per 1000 full term births in developed countries. This type of brain injury happens when too much brain tissue is damaged from the lack of oxygen. This lack of oxygen is a leading cause of death among new babies and infants. As many as 40-60% of babies with HIE die during the first two years of their lives or live with significant disabilities. When babies survive, it can cause problems like developmental delays, cognitive impairment, seizures, and in some rare cases, cerebral palsy.
Causes of HIE
There are numerous risk factors that could result in oxygen deprivation to a baby during the birthing process. While the risk these issues pose can be mitigated with adequate medical care, quick, and accurate action isn’t always taken by medical professionals. Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy can occur in the following scenarios:
- Sudden low maternal blood pressure
- Rupture of the mother’s uterus
- Abruption of the placenta
- Umbilical cord injuries, or a prolapsed umbilical cord
- Fetal or maternal heart problems
- Decreased maternal lung oxygen
- Changes to the shape of the baby’s cranium in the birth canal
- Stress to the mother and baby during delivery
- Fetal stroke, which may be caused by abnormalities in the blood, weak blood vessels, maternal pelvic inflammatory disease or other infection, and maternal hypotension or hypertension
There are many ways that even critical situations can be handled appropriately during labor and delivery. For example, a mother with low oxygen levels may be placed on oxygen during the birthing process, and blood pressure may be controlled with certain medications. An emergency c-section may be warranted if it is clear that the stress of delivery would compromise the baby’s ability to get adequate oxygen. However, failure to adequately handle these matters can lead to unnecessary and lifelong complications.
Lack of Oxygen Symptoms
When emotions are running high after a birth and there are many things going on at once, it’s can be difficult to determine whether a baby has been potentially harmed by oxygen deprivation. There are numerous symptoms of this condition in newborns, and it’s critical to be aware of them so the baby can receive treatment as quickly as possible.
- A low APGAR score
- Seizures in the first 24 hours after birth
- Dysfunction of vital organs, including the kidneys, heart, and lungs
Often, a baby will not exhibit clear symptoms of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy at birth. Instead, he or she may exhibit symptoms later on in their infancy, such as:
- Poor motor coordination
- Delay in reaching developmental milestones
- Poor growth or failure to thrive
Often, the true extent of the brain injury will not be able to be determined until the child has reached 3-4 years of age. If you suspect your child has suffered an HIE or was deprived oxygen at birth, it is critical to begin diagnostic testing and medical treatment immediately. Since brain tissue damage cannot be reversed, treatment typically focuses on symptom management, including managing blood glucose, blood pressure, and seizures with medication.
Your Options for Compensation
Many cases of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy are completely preventable with vigilant and appropriate medical care during the birthing process. However, many mothers and babies are victims of medical malpractice, where a physician or other medical professional fails to properly diagnose and treat a condition that is known to cause oxygen deprivation.
If your child was harmed as a result of being deprived of oxygen during the birthing process, you may be eligible for compensation. In cases where families face extensive medical bills, lost wages in order to care for their child, and emotional trauma, compensation can help mitigate these costs.
Don’t wait to get legal help if you suspect that your child’s brain injury was caused by lack of oxygen during birth and could have been prevented. Contact Attorney Ivan M. Diamond today at 877-960-1702 to discuss your case in detail. As an experienced birth injury lawyer, Ivan can provide you with the zealous legal support you need to obtain the full and fair compensation your family needs after being devastated by a preventable brain injury.
The Law Offices of
888 Grand Concourse #1L
Ivan M. Diamond
Bronx, NY 10451
Phone: (718) 588-2000
Ivan M. Diamond is available for home and hospital visits, as well as weekend and evening appointments.
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