Pregnancy and childbirth are both terrifying and exciting experiences for expectant parents. As you can imagine, the very last thing parents desire is having their child suffer at any time during, or after, these events. Unfortunately, there are many babies who sustain birth injuries that cause a lifelong detrimental impact on their lives.
One such injury that impacts the lives of newborns in the United States is hypoxia. Hypoxia is an injury that results from medical negligence before, during, or after the delivery. Not only are these injuries debilitating, but they can result in permanent impairments. When babies suffer hypoxia at birth, due to the reckless actions of a medical professional, it is crucial that their families reach out to a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to explore legal options available to them.
Our team at The Malpractice Group understands the difficulties families face after their newborns suffer from hypoxia at birth. For this reason, we advocate on their behalf to ensure they get the justice they deserve. Our team will investigate the details of your delivery and identify any actions of malpractice that occurred. We provide aggressive representation to ensure wrongdoers are held accountable for their actions. Contact our medical malpractice attorneys as soon as possible to explore legal options available to you.
What is Hypoxia?
Hypoxia is a birth injury that results from oxygen deprivation to the unborn child. If, while inside the wound during labor, or in delivery, the baby receives inadequate oxygen to the brain, it can result in permanent brain damage. These injuries require prompt and rigorous treatment to prevent long-term injuries.
Left untreated, newborns go on to develop serious disorders like cognitive deficiencies, cerebral palsy, or hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Thankfully, hypoxia does not always guarantee that a baby will suffer permanent disabilities. Most babies born with a mild case of hypoxia will recover without suffering long-term effects. Cases of moderate or severe hypoxia leave babies at an increased risk of developing lifelong impairments.
What Causes Hypoxia?
There are numerous scenarios that can cause hypoxia at birth. The fact that this problem can lead to permanent impairments if left untreated means that it is critical to identify and begin treatment for the condition to avoid devastating consequences. Neonatal hypoxia is a condition that can occur at any time before, during, or after labor. Some factors that increase the risk for hypoxia include, but are not limited to:
- Injuries to the umbilical cord
- Insufficient blood flow to the placenta
- Congenital heart disease
- A separation in the lining of the placenta from the uterus (placental abruption)
- Cardiovascular collapse
- Oxygen deprivation
- Shoulder dystocia
- Umbilical cord prolapse
- Abnormalities in the blood vessels within the brain
Adequately monitoring the mother during pregnancy, labor, and delivery is imperative to preventing hypoxia at birth. If your child suffered a birth injury as a result of a negligent medical professional, it is crucial that you contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to explore legal options available to you.
Long-Term Consequences of Hypoxia
It is important to note that a lack of oxygen at birth does not have to be severe in nature for it to impact the child immediately and in the future. Hypoxia at birth can lead to an array of debilitating conditions. Some conditions, like hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and brain injuries, often require extensive medical treatment that is long-term. All three of these acute brain injuries can lead to paralysis and cause severe brain damage. Generally, these debilitating injuries are prominent within 48-hours after perinatal hypoxia occurs. Some of the most common long-term medical condition untreated children develop include but are not limited to:
- Cerebral Palsy (CP): This congenital disorder impacts the baby’s ability to use their muscles. Babies and growing infants who suffer from CP experience floppy or rigid limbs, involuntary motions, and exaggerated reflexes. Those who suffer from this condition may require long-term therapy, medications, and surgery.
- Severe Seizure Disorders: Seizures are a devastating condition that can occur when children suffer from hypoxia for extended periods of time. Seizures can occur suddenly and consistently in some children, while others experience them more infrequently. Seizure disorders often require medication long-term.
- Cognitive Disabilities: Babies who are untreated for hypoxia at birth can develop life-long problems surrounding mental functioning. They may have difficulties communicating and may have problems with self-care. In addition, these children also risk having issues socializing with others.
- Motor Skill Impairments: Children who suffer injuries related to Hypoxia may have problems with motor skills. Children may have localized motor skill impairments or they may have overwhelming challenges. Fine motor skills are impacted immensely.
- Behavioral Disorders: Babies who suffer hypoxia at birth can go on to experience long-term behavioral problems. These children may have difficulties reasoning, expressing emotions, and getting along with others. Mood swings may occur and overwhelming frustration.
The longer hypoxia goes without being treated, the more likely severe impairments are to occur. Unfortunately, approximately 1/3 of all neonatal deaths are caused by perinatal hypoxia. Countless others are left with injuries that continue to impact their lives indefinitely. If the baby is treated immediately, the severity of these injuries drastically diminishes.
If your baby suffered hypoxia at birth, and you believe medical negligence played a role in the development or progression of this condition, reach out to a skilled medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. The Malpractice Group works to help families obtain the compensation they deserve for medical treatment, therapy, pain and suffering, and more.
Treatment Options for Hypoxia at Birth
Babies born with hypoxia are often unresponsive. Doctors will need to immediately resuscitate the infant and work to stabilize their oxygen flow. Once these steps are taken, the baby may need hypo-or-hyperthermia management treatment as well as fluid management. It is crucial to ensure adequate ventilation methods are in place. Cooling therapy is another upcoming method of treatment that involves wrapping the baby in a plastic blanket that circulates cool water. Cooling therapy can be used up to three days to slow down the swelling and cell death in the brain, which would otherwise cause brain damage.
If hypoxia has progressed to the point of causing permanent brain damage, treatment will be more focused on the administration of drugs and developing long-term therapy schedules. Unfortunately, once permanent brain damage is present, there are no reversals or cures. Instead, doctors focus on improving the quality of life so infants can grow and live with their injuries.
Treatments related to hypoxia at birth come at a substantial cost. Not only will they have to go through lifelong biological, psychological, and physical therapy, but families often require psychological therapy as well to cope with the emotional hardships. Working with a medical malpractice attorney will help you obtain the compensation you need and deserve to treat hypoxia at birth.
Legal Options Available for Victims
Hypoxia is a swift yet preventable injury with overwhelming consequences. If the right steps are taken throughout the labor and delivery process, permanent disabilities associated with hypoxia can be completely avoided. Given the medical advancements made related to treatment for hypoxia, as well as measures for identifying the condition early on, it is more likely that hypoxia developing into permanently disabling conditions is a result of medical negligence.
Medical malpractice laws across the United States ensure doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals adhere to strict standards put in place to ensure that any distress is identified and remedied promptly. When medical professionals fail to uphold the expected standards of care, and newborns are left permanently injured as a result, those responsible can be held liable for all resulting injuries and damages.
It is crucial that families act quickly to protect their legal rights. They will need to adhere to strict statutes of limitation, which can vary depending on the location. Reaching out to a competent and knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible secures a family’s ability to protect their legal rights if their child suffers from hypoxia at birth.
The Malpractice Group Can Help You
Seeing your newborn baby deal with overwhelming pain and suffering from birth injuries can be devastating. This is the reality for thousands of parents across the United States each year. Thousands of children suffer debilitating impairments due to negligent and reckless medical professionals throughout the pregnancy, labor, and delivery processes. If your baby sustained a birth injury, and you believe it was caused by a negligent nurse, doctor, or other medical professionals, it is crucial that you contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
The Malpractice Group’s knowledgeable and aggressive attorneys strive to help families get the justice they deserve after newborns endure tragic injuries. Our team investigates the treatment options for victims to determine the best course of action to secure compensation for past, present, and future medical damages. We will work diligently to assist the families in obtaining the justice and compensation they deserve. Contact our medical malpractice attorneys at your earliest convenience to explore legal options available to you. By calling (312) 561-4324, we can schedule a free case evaluation to assist you in getting the justice you deserve for your child.