Birth Asphyxia is a condition that arises when a baby does not receive an adequate oxygen supply to the brain. This can be before, during, or directly after the time of birth. The fifth-largest cause of infant mortality, birth asphyxia, occurs in approximately 4 out of 1000 full-term births. At times, cases of birth asphyxia can also occur due to improper care provided by medical professionals.
It is crucial to get the right treatment as soon as possible. As this will help to prevent short- and long-term brain damage as well as infant mortality. Birth Asphyxia can lead to birth defects, lifelong disabilities. Within 4 minutes of oxygen deprivation, brain damage begins, and within 4-6 minutes, death is possible.
Causes of Birth Asphyxia
Birth Asphyxia can be caused by naturally occurring unavoidable circumstances or by the negligent treatment provided by a healthcare professional.
Some causes of Birth Asphyxia include:
- Low levels of oxygen in the mother’s bloodstream
- A sudden drop in mothers’ blood pressure before or during birth
- Oxygen being restricted due to placental detachment in the uterus, known as placental abruption.
- A long, difficult and strenuous birth
- Premature birth, causing underdeveloped lungs
- An infection in the baby or the mother
Signs of Birth Asphyxia
The signs of Birth Asphyxia in infants include:
- Pale Or Blue Skin Color
- Weak Or Low Breathing
- A Low Heart Rate
- Poor Muscle Tone
- Weak Reflexes
Long Term Complications Arising from Birth Asphyxia
At times, Birth Asphyxia or lack of received oxygen supply can cause long-term conditions in infants.
Cerebral Palsy or CP is a condition that can arise due to fetal hypoxia. Which can occur during the time of delivery or labor. This condition can affect the child’s posture, balance, body movement, muscle coordination, and muscle control.
Delay in Development
Lack of oxygen supplied to the fetus can delay the child’s physical and mental development and speech.
Intellectual Disability (ID)
A healthy fetus can become disabled at birth if it does not receive an adequate supply of oxygen for a sustained period of time.
Newborn babies can have seizure disorders caused by various types of brain and head trauma. For example, if a post-term child’s head is not able to pass easily through the birth canal, oxygen supply can easily be compromised. This may cause seizures and many other complications.
Infants can go through paralysis due to a lack of fetal oxygen received or by using excessive force during the delivery process. These conditions may arise during an obstructed vaginal delivery during a post-term pregnancy.
You can decrease both short- and long-term damage caused by Birth Asphyxia by getting effective treatment as soon as possible. Mild cases may be treated through breathing support until the baby can manage to breathe on its own. Babies with severe signs of asphyxia may need respiratory therapy, breathing machines, fluids, and medicines to prevent seizures and regulate blood pressure. Babies diagnosed with mild asphyxia have a chance of full recovery. But if the baby has gone through a lengthy period with no oxygen supply to the brain, permanent injuries are possible.
Long-term effects of Birth Asphyxia can turn parents’ life upside down. Permanent effects such as learning disabilities, motor coordination, delay in development, and feeding issues can create an uncertain future for the child.
If your doctor could have done much more to prevent birth asphyxia and its associated effects but did not, you can hold the doctor legally accountable. Medical records will be thoroughly scanned to determine whether the doctor was responsible or not.
Claims related to Birth injury can be tricky to litigate because the burden of proof lies entirely on the plaintiff and the plaintiff’s legal team. Legal representatives will have to prove four critical facts:
- The existence of the doctor-patient relationship
- The doctor’s negligent conduct breached the necessary standard of medical care
- The newborn baby suffered a birth injury due to the doctor’s act of negligence
- Your baby suffered from physical or cognitive harm due to the birth injury
When filing a birth injury lawsuit, you should also be aware of what damages you will attain compensation for. A birth injury attorney can help you determine the exact value of the damages. Seeking medical treatment costs is one of the most obvious costs. Even people with excellent insurance policies and savings sometimes go through financial hardship when dealing with high medical bills. Medical expenses fall within the economic damages category because they involve a direct financial loss caused due to injury. For a birth injury, monetary damages include lost parent wages, cost of disability treatment and therapy, and special education. You can also seek non-economic damages such as mental anguish, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life.
When seeking the right lawyer, do seek attorneys with experience in birth-related injuries. These lawyers are able to determine if medical malpractice, whether wholly or partially, is the reason that caused your child’s condition.