If your baby suffered from oxygen deprivation before or during birth and now has brain injuries, developmental disabilities, or cerebral palsy, you may be able to build a case to prove medical malpractice. If we believe you can take legal action based on your child’s diagnosis, a birth asphyxia lawyer from our firm may go to work on your family’s legal case today.
You can speak to a team member at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group for free today. Our team provides complimentary consultations and case evaluations to families like yours. We understand how stressful it can be to navigate this process while also handling your child’s appointments, therapies, and more. We are here to help. Call (800) 222-9529 now to get started.
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Can a Baby Recover from Birth Asphyxia?
In some cases, a baby may recover from birth asphyxia. Especially in cases when the oxygen deprivation was minor and only for a short time, there may be no visible signs, and doctors and parents may never know it occurred. It is also possible for a baby to go without oxygen for a short time and experience no lasting symptoms or have only minor injuries that do not affect them later in life.
Once a brain injury occurs, it is not repairable. However, there are numerous factors that play a role in whether or not a baby will have a permanent brain injury following oxygen deprivation. This could include:
- The length of time the baby did not have adequate oxygen to their brain.
- The amount of oxygen that continued to flow to the brain and other vital organs.
- How quickly the flow of oxygen returned, and treatment began.
Birth asphyxia can affect almost any part or organ system in a baby’s body. The management of babies following resuscitation and the methods used to address the effects of brain injuries have improved thanks to modern medicine. Yet, permanent injuries are still common in serious cases of birth asphyxia, such as the following:
- Cognitive disabilities
- Neurological damage
- Motor-related impairments
- Continued respiratory concerns
- Liver injuries
- Renal dysfunction
- Effects on the heart
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Behavioral and learning difficulties
In some cases, there may be options for addressing the effects of an injury, even if there is no cure for the injury itself. For example, hearing aids may make it possible for a child to speak and hear despite suffering hearing loss due to their birth asphyxia injury.
It may take several years to fully understand the effects of your child’s injuries. Cerebral palsy, for example, may not be diagnosed until your child misses several motor-related developmental milestones. Depending on how the condition affects them, this could take up to two years. Once you receive a diagnosis, your family will begin working with a team of medical care providers who can put a plan in place to address your child’s individual needs.
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What Are the Complications of Birth Asphyxia?
When the brain goes without the necessary blood flow and oxygen for any period of time, there is a risk of brain damage. The same is true for other vital organs. There is a risk of this occurring before a baby is born, during delivery, or shortly following birth.
The types of complications that occur because of oxygen deprivation range from mild to moderate to severe. When a newborn experienced birth asphyxia, the complications they experience later on could include:
- Cerebral palsy and other motor function disorders.
- Developmental delays.
- Intellectual disabilities.
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Learning disabilities.
- Behavioral problems.
- Low vision or hearing loss.
- Damage to other organs, including the heart, lungs, or kidneys.
As the child ages and grows, they may experience emotional distress and mental anguish from living with additional challenges. Their disabilities may bring about social frustrations, as well. Some children living with cerebral palsy and other special needs may benefit from seeing a mental health counselor familiar with these concerns.
In addition, birth asphyxia complications affect every member of the family. Parents often face intense stress, including financial and emotional pressure. Not only are they dealing with a child who could face ongoing challenges, but they may have a full schedule of doctor appointments and therapies and mounting medical bills. Parents may need to take time away from work to manage their child’s care, though working may be imperative to keeping their health insurance and ensuring they can pay for care.
To this end, we recommend speaking with a birth asphyxia lawyer who can determine if your child’s birth injury and complications are grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. An attorney who accepts medical negligence cases near you may be able to secure compensation for your family.
What Is the Cause of Birth Asphyxia?
Birth asphyxia can occur for many reasons, and in some cases, the cause is unknown. Many causes of birth asphyxia, however, are preventable. It is important that doctors and other healthcare providers take action to reduce the risks and prevent asphyxia when possible. Otherwise, the results can be lifelong, catastrophic injuries and disabilities.
However, this does not always occur. Some doctors and other medical care providers may not take the proper steps to provide an acceptable standard of care to the mother and baby. This includes monitoring the pregnancy, identifying any potential risks for difficult labor and delivery, and following all protocols during delivery.
Even if the cause of your child’s birth asphyxia was something that may have been unpreventable, such as a problem with the placenta, you could have a successful birth injury medical malpractice case against the doctor or hospital. They should have identified the problem and made other plans to deliver the baby as soon as possible.
Some causes of anoxia or hypoxia in a neonate just before, during, or after delivery include the following:
- Amniotic fluid embolism
- The child becoming stuck in the birth canal
- Compression of the umbilical cord during delivery
- Difficulty controlling the mother’s blood pressure when it is either too high or too low
- Hemodynamic collapse
- Infection in the mother or the baby
- Maternal hemorrhage
- Neonatal stroke
- Nuchal cord, which occurs when the umbilical cord wraps around the baby’s neck
- Placental abruption or other concerns about the placenta
- Severe anemia in the mother or baby
- Umbilical cord prolapse or avulsion
- Uterine rupture
When the care team can quickly identify any of these concerns and address them, it can prevent the baby from going without oxygen or limit the time the baby is unable to receive oxygen. This will reduce or eliminate the risk of serious damage to organs or impairment related to a brain injury. If there is no quick solution, an emergency surgical delivery may be necessary.
In either of these cases, identifying the problem and taking immediate action is key. If your care team failed to do so, or their careless actions caused the asphyxia to begin with, you may have a medical malpractice case for compensation. You may be able to hold them responsible for the injuries your child suffered.
You should consider speaking with a birth asphyxia lawyer near you to learn more about your legal options based on the specific facts of your child’s delivery and injuries.
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What Is Severe Birth Asphyxia?
Birth asphyxia can be mild, moderate, or severe. This relates to the level of your child’s oxygen deprivation. It may or may not affect how serious their complications or lasting impairments will be. Birth asphyxia is not always a black and white diagnosis. Most cases involve some gray areas. For example, children can experience either of the following:
- Anoxia: Anoxia is a complete deprivation of oxygen, usually because the blood flow gets completely cut off.
- Hypoxia: Hypoxia is a partial deprivation of oxygen, which typically occurs when the blood flow slows but does not stop or when the blood is not fully oxygenated.
While either anoxia or hypoxia can cause severe birth asphyxia, it is more likely when the blood flow stops altogether, or very little oxygenated blood reaches the child’s brain and other vital organs. When blood flow is only slightly compromised, it is unlikely to cause catastrophic injuries unless it continues for an extended time.
Birth asphyxia may also be severe because of the length of time it lasts. Anoxia that lasts for more than a few minutes is much more likely to cause severe injuries and death than a very short period of oxygen deprivation.
Apgar Testing and Severe Asphyxia
In some cases, the doctor may not know when the baby lost blood flow or oxygen, when it returned, or other necessary factors to determine the severity of your child’s birth asphyxia. However, severe anoxia and hypoxia generally result in low Apgar scores, usually at or below six.
Apgar testing is a quick assessment of a newborn’s health. Doctors generally perform it at the following times:
- One minute after birth
- Five minutes after birth
- Ten minutes after birth, if necessary to reassess the child’s condition
The purpose of the Apgar assessment is to ensure the baby tolerated labor and delivery well and is adjusting to the outside world appropriately. When a baby is healthy and did not experience serious complications during delivery, they should score between seven and ten on these assessments.
A score of six or below indicates there may be additional concerns. Some babies who score between four and six on these assessments require resuscitation efforts to get them breathing. A baby who scores a three or below on an Apgar test could improve quickly but is more likely to face serious or ongoing problems related to a birth injury.
Can Asphyxia Cause Brain Damage in Newborns?
Yes, birth asphyxia can cause brain damage in newborns. Brain damage is the cause of many of the complications that result from this type of birth injury, including cerebral palsy, epilepsy, developmental delays, behavioral concerns, learning disabilities, and more.
A meta-analysis of several studies regarding the effects of birth asphyxia in newborns confirmed that many of these children suffered lasting brain damage. According to the study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, of the children who suffered birth asphyxia, a significant percentage experienced one or more of the following:
- Neurological deficits
- Neonatal seizures or epilepsy
- Cerebral palsy
While damage to other vital organs is also concerning, the brain damage that occurs when a baby’s brain does not receive a full supply of oxygenated blood is often the focus of birth asphyxia worries. This is because it is the brain injuries that often lead to disabilities, limited independence, diminished quality of life, and other concerning issues.
While damage to other organs may be readily apparent in a baby, brain injuries are not. For example, if your child suffered renal damage, you should have a diagnosis and treatment plan within the first few days of your child’s life. Meanwhile, you may not know the effects their brain injury will have for a year or more. This increases the stress and anxiety related to this type of diagnosis.
Cerebral palsy, for example, may only receive a diagnosis after the child misses developmental milestones. Once officially assessed, the doctor can determine the type of disorder the child has. This usually does not come before nine months of age, although most children receive a diagnosis by age two.
In many cases of brain damage caused by birth asphyxia, the child may experience impairments that limit their ability to:
- Move like their peers
These limitations can make it difficult to keep up with their same-age peers. If they already have a diagnosis before starting school, early intervention or therapies may be necessary to help a child learn to overcome or adapt to their challenges. This could include physical therapy to address motor and movement concerns, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, behavioral therapy, and other treatments to address symptoms. Medications can help limit unintentional movements.
In cases where brain damage leads to relatively minor cognitive concerns, learning disabilities, or behavioral issues, the symptoms may not be apparent until the children are in an educational setting with peers. Therapies and other treatment can begin at the time of diagnosis when this occurs.
What Is the Treatment of Birth Asphyxia?
The primary concern following birth asphyxia centers on restoring the baby’s blood flow and oxygen levels as soon as possible. As they would following any birth, the medical care providers will evaluate the baby’s Apgar scores at one minute and five minutes. If the child’s one-minute score is very low or there is weak respiration, they will likely put an oxygen mask over the baby’s face. This is often enough for respiration to come up to normal levels.
If the child’s respiration does not improve or they are not breathing at all, the care team will need to resuscitate the child by other means. They may also intubate the baby, meaning they will put a tube into the baby’s throat to open the airways. The baby may also require intravenous fluids and medications to regulate their heartbeat and breathing. This is often given via a blood vessel in the child’s umbilical cord.
Children who require help breathing or resuscitation following delivery will likely go to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for further treatment and observation.
Hypothermic Treatment for Brain Injuries
There is no treatment for injuries to the brain once they occur. For this reason, it is important to prevent birth asphyxia or take immediate action to reduce the risk of brain damage by any means possible. While there are some experimental treatments sometimes used for these babies, the only proven protective treatment available is hypothermic treatment. This requires lowering the baby’s temperature by exposing their body—or in some cases, only their head—to very low temperatures.
A meta-analysis published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine looked at more than 1,200 babies who received hypothermic treatment following birth asphyxia. The study found that this decreased the brain damage and the risk of death from these injuries. However, many of these babies still suffered brain injuries and related symptoms. This again highlights the importance of prevention.
Treating Symptoms and Complications of Birth Asphyxia Injuries
Preventing birth asphyxia and reducing the severity of related injuries are the primary ways medical care providers can address these concerns. Still, it is also important to note that children who suffer this type of birth injury may face additional treatment, therapy, and monitoring for the rest of their lives. This strategy and the level of monitoring will depend greatly on their diagnosis, symptoms, and needs.
Children with epilepsy, for example, will likely need to remain on anticonvulsant medications for years, if not the rest of their lives. Children with cerebral palsy may need medications to limit tremors and loosen spastic muscles, as well as physical therapy to prevent contractures. Your child’s care team should develop a treatment plan and see the child regularly to monitor their progress.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Lack of Oxygen in Infants?
According to Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, the most common cause of neonatal death and disabilities is hypoxia-ischemia (HI). Hypoxia-ischaemia is a condition that occurs when:
- Blood flow is not sufficient, especially for the brain and vital organs; and
- There is a too-low concentration of oxygen in the blood.
As you can see, HI is the condition that results from birth asphyxia. In most cases, this occurs as a result of a problem with the umbilical blood supply to the baby just before or during delivery. This could occur for a number of reasons:
- Compression of the cord during the delivery process
- The cord becoming wrapped around the baby’s neck
- The cord being delivered first
- A problem with the cord or placenta
As a part of its definition, hypoxia-ischemia only occurs at 36 weeks gestation or after. However, there may be other factors related to the mother or the infant that also lead to birth asphyxia, and have many of the same effects on the baby.
Many of the most common causes of lack of oxygen in a newborn are preventable. Maternal infections may be avoidable thanks to prenatal care and immunizations. Likewise, deciding to proceed with a cesarean section (C-section) when the baby may be too large to pass through the birth canal safely may be the safest option.
A mother and baby should receive attentive prenatal care, with the doctor closely monitoring the pregnancy, labor, and delivery. When this happens, it is often possible to see risk factors for birth asphyxia before they become a concern and take steps to alleviate the risk.
If an unpredictable and dangerous situation does occur, close monitoring is also the best way to discover it quickly and take action to restore blood flow or resuscitate the baby as soon as possible. Failure to provide the monitoring expected could result in missing risk factors or overlooking a serious problem that leads to preventable injuries, including lifelong disabilities.
If you believe this may have happened to your child, a birth asphyxia lawyer may be able to help you prove the cause of your child’s birth injuries and hold the doctor or hospital responsible. You can get help today by speaking with a team member from the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529. Our team will review your child’s injuries, diagnosis, prognosis, and more for free during your initial consultation.
How Common Is Birth Asphyxia?
Birth asphyxia is probably more common than most people realize. When it only occurs for a short time, and the baby’s breathing normalizes before the delivery is over, they may never even receive a diagnosis. Still, they could sustain lasting damage and develop cerebral palsy or another complication later.
Perinatal asphyxia is relatively common in neonates born after 36 weeks of gestation. It is more common for babies who are born at an increased risk for a difficult delivery, such as babies born prematurely.
According to the International Journal of Epidemiology, birth asphyxia directly contributed to almost a quarter (23 percent) of all neonatal deaths worldwide in 2000. Medical research has improved over the past 20 years, and there are major discrepancies between countries regarding the safety of mothers and babies during delivery. Still, birth asphyxia occurs in every country and across all social and economic classes.
Even in the United States and other developed nations, birth asphyxia continues to be a common cause of birth injuries and disabilities. If you believe your child’s complications, injuries, or lasting disabilities are the result of birth asphyxia, you should seek a review of your case. You may be able to take action to hold the doctor or hospital legally responsible.
A birth asphyxia lawyer will know how to handle these cases based on the applicable medical malpractice laws. Reach out to us today to learn more. Our team understands what causes birth asphyxia, when it is preventable, and the challenges your child may face. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529 to find out how we can help your family.
Can Lack of Oxygen During Birth Cause Developmental Delays?
Yes, lack of oxygen during birth could cause a developmental delay or a lasting disability. Developmental disabilities are more serious than delays and are usually permanent. These delays and disabilities can affect the child’s development in a number of ways, impacting their ability to learn, communicate, and behave like their peers. They can also affect fine motor skills, vision, and hearing.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one out of every six children between the ages of 3 and 17 in the United States has a developmental disability diagnosis. This could include the following:
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
- Cerebral palsy
- Intellectual disabilities
- Learning disability
- Vision or hearing impairment
Delays are not usually apparent until the child reaches the affected developmental period. They could affect their day-to-day life if not addressed once they become apparent. If you or your child’s doctor identifies any delays in development during monitoring, you should schedule a developmental screening. This test addresses the specific concern with the child’s development and determines if there are delays.
If the screening test indicates a concern, your child may receive a diagnosis of a developmental delay. Quick intervention may involve prescribing therapy or helping you enroll your child in an educational program. These steps can greatly improve your child’s likelihood of overcoming the delay or learning to manage the disability.
Some types of therapies and early interventions that doctors may prescribe for children with developmental delays and disabilities include the following:
Early intervention programs are a type of special education program for children who have specific needs. They may begin these programs during their toddler or preschool years with hopes of transitioning to a typical classroom setting or special education setting for kindergarten.
Behavioral therapy may address a child’s struggles with behavior, with or without the use of medications.
Occupational therapy may be the most important type of therapy for children with developmental disabilities. It helps them learn to overcome their challenges and find ways to perform self-care tasks, handle activities that require fine motor skills, and address sensory processing concerns.
Physical therapy can help build muscle mass and gross motor skills, as well as develop balance and posture. Physical therapy may be able to help children use a wheelchair or walk unassisted using canes or a walker.
Speech and Language Therapy
Therapy for speech and language addresses much more than just talking. Depending on your child’s needs, they may learn to speak more clearly, understand and interpret language, or use alternative methods of communication. This type of therapy also focuses on swallowing, chewing, and tongue movement for eating.
How Do You Diagnose Birth Asphyxia?
Babies who suffer from a birth injury that leads to asphyxia may be born not breathing or having breathing difficulties. Such issues should be apparent to the doctors and nurses in the delivery room. They will know the signs to look for to determine if there is a problem and if resuscitation or other life-saving efforts may be necessary. Babies who are born not breathing or with very weak or slow breathing will require immediate treatment to ensure they begin breathing properly.
Suppose a baby suffered birth asphyxia but was breathing again before they were delivered. In that case, they may have low Apgar scores at birth and require a more thorough exam to determine if there was a problem during delivery. The following are signs that a baby may have suffered hypoxia or asphyxia before or during delivery:
- Weak or absent breathing
- Grey color to the skin, along with blue lips and nail beds
- Weak reflexes and poor muscle tone
- A high level of acid in their blood
- An unusually low heart rate
- Circulatory concerns
- Renal issues
- Extreme lethargy
If you notice any of these signs in your newborn, it is imperative that you mention your concerns to the doctor or another member of the baby’s care team. While this is not a diagnosis that medical professionals should miss, it is possible and does happen. If your child suffers additional injuries because a doctor did not diagnose their birth asphyxia and ensure proper breathing following the birth, you could have a medical malpractice case.
Diagnosing Complications of Birth Asphyxia
Brain damage and cognitive complications of birth asphyxia are more difficult to diagnose. They may take closer monitoring to identify than the birth injury itself. In some cases, the first clear sign of epilepsy, for example, occurs when the neonate has a seizure. Low vision and hearing damage may become apparent during the first few months of a baby’s life.
Cerebral palsy and other motor-related deficits will only come to light as the child fails to meet developmental milestones that the pediatrician is monitoring. Most children with cerebral palsy receive a diagnosis by age two, but this is not always true when a child has a mild case.
Intellectual and behavioral concerns may take even longer to receive a diagnosis. Parents often do not become aware of them until their child struggles to interact in age-appropriate ways with their peers or keep up with them in school. This delay means the child could be in preschool or kindergarten before the symptoms are clear.
Can Birth Asphyxia Cause Cerebral Palsy?
Birth asphyxia is a cause of cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a group of motor disorders caused by damage to a specific area of the brain. It can occur because of problems during development, genetic abnormalities, or oxygen deprivation via birth asphyxia or another issue that stops oxygen from reaching the brain.
There is some dispute about how frequently preventable birth injuries are the cause of cerebral palsy. For years, doctors considered this the primary cause of this motor disorder, although modern research shows there are additional causes and contributing factors.
There is no cure to reverse the brain damage that leads to cerebral palsy symptoms, but an effective treatment plan can help. Addressing symptoms of cerebral palsy may require a multimodal approach involving each of the following:
- Assistive devices such as gait trainers
Your child’s care team should work together to put a plan in place that addresses their medical, social, and cognitive needs. This treatment plan will help your child reach their fullest potential and manage their symptoms.
If your child received a cerebral palsy diagnosis, it is important to remember that this condition affects every child differently. Some children suffer very serious symptoms that impair their ability to walk, speak, swallow, maintain posture and balance, and live independently.
Others may experience muscle weakness, floppy or rigid arms or legs, problems with fine motor skills, and involuntary motions, but they can manage their symptoms and live a high quality of life. How cerebral palsy affects your child will have a significant impact on their medical needs, prognosis, and abilities.
Cerebral palsy often occurs in conjunction with other complications of birth asphyxia, and this also has a large effect on their medical and support needs. These co-occurring conditions may include the following:
- Intellectual disabilities
- Low vision
Since a birth injury is often the cause of cerebral palsy, you may want to speak with a birth asphyxia lawyer from your area about your child’s birth and their diagnosis. A cerebral palsy diagnosis may support a medical malpractice birth injury case.
In this type of legal action, you can name the doctor or hospital as a defendant in civil court and seek to hold them responsible for your child’s medical concerns. Your family could recover compensation to help you pay for your child’s current and ongoing medical and care needs.
Can a Baby Recover from Brain Damage Due to Lack of Oxygen?
Once brain damage occurs, it is unlikely to completely heal. Without oxygen, brain cells die, and they will not regenerate. However, children are resilient. Improvement is possible, and therapy can help affected children live a normal life. While your child’s brain damage will not go away, they can recover many of the skills lost in some cases.
Since each of these injuries is unique, there is no way to know exactly how your child may recover from the effects without working with medical experts who are familiar with your baby’s injuries and prognosis. Sometimes, medication or surgery can help manage symptoms.
In other cases, therapy can help children learn new, adaptive ways to do things their injuries might otherwise prevent. While treatment may not be able to heal the damage to their brain, therapy can offer ways to live with their impairments and improve their quality of life. In many cases, therapy can offer children with cerebral palsy additional independence by helping with:
- Speech or alternate communication methods.
- Feeding themselves.
The effects of a neonatal brain injury may also affect children differently as they grow up and become adults. For example, a child who has difficulty with hyperactivity as a child may experience the same behavioral concerns as a teenager. Additional issues may develop related to their condition as they age. For example, contractures may occur, and they could lose range of motion in a joint, making activities utilizing that limb difficult.
How Long Can Newborns Go without Breathing?
When a newborn is not breathing during delivery or immediately after, they will not get the oxygen necessary to keep their organs and brain functioning properly. The same thing can occur when the baby is in the womb and the blood circulating from the mother to the fetus is not properly oxygenated. A very short period without full oxygen, such as a few seconds, is unlikely to cause significant injury.
After a couple of minutes without oxygen, though, brain cells begin to die at an alarming rate. Organs can suffer damage and may fail or temporarily shut down to divert oxygen to the brain. Within several minutes of the newborn not breathing, significant, permanent damage may occur.
Exactly how long a child can go without breathing and survive ranges widely. The severity of their lasting injuries may vary, as well. It depends on many individual factors, including how much oxygen their organs receive during this time. A newborn whose organs continue to receive a small amount of oxygen may do better than one who is unable to breathe at all, for example.
Once the baby begins breathing again, or the care team begins mechanical respiration, the brain and organs will begin receiving oxygen again quickly. This reintroduction of oxygen then leads to another dangerous stage when injuries can occur. The waste product of damaged cells can cause there to be too much acid in the baby’s blood, a condition known as acidosis.
Acidosis can also cause injury, meaning your child’s brain could continue to suffer damage over the following days. This type of injury is known as a “reperfusion injury.” The damage occurs as the blood flow returns to the brain and organs, taking acidic toxins with it throughout the body.
While modern medical research has helped us understand how and why reperfusion injuries occur, there is no preventative treatment for them. However, it is possible to limit the damage with the proper post-resuscitation care, such as hypothermia therapy.
What Lifelong Injuries Can Birth Asphyxia Cause?
Birth asphyxia and hypoxia can affect many areas of the body. The most apparent, and often the first injured, is the baby’s brain. When a brain does not get the necessary supply of fully-oxygenated blood, there may be problems with development, as well as lasting damage.
A reduced or absent oxygen supply to the baby’s brain that lasts more than a few minutes can result in the death of brain cells and permanent injuries. This could include cognitive damage, physical limitations, and more depending on the areas of the brain affected. Death is possible if asphyxia or hypoxia lasts too long.
Babies whose brains go without oxygen for several minutes or more may suffer from long-term concerns and lifelong disabilities that include the following intellectual delays, motor function impairments, and developmental delays:
- Cerebral Palsy: Cerebral palsy causes a wide range of motor- and muscle-related dysfunctions, leading to severe limitations in some children.
- Epilepsy: Epilepsy causes children to have seizures that can be dangerous and greatly impact their quality of life. Management of seizures is key for these children.
- Cognitive Deficits: Intellectual disabilities may occur in children with brain damage related to birth asphyxia. This could range from mild delays to serious impairments.
- Low Vision: Lack of oxygen can affect the eyes and vision in numerous ways. Children may experience an inability to focus the eyes or damage to the cells that allow the brain to interpret what they see. Glasses or surgery may help in some cases.
- Hearing Loss: Many children who survive birth asphyxia or hypoxia suffer hearing loss or other hearing-related impairments. Hearing aids, implants, or other treatments may be available.
- Autism: Research shows that many children with cerebral palsy also have a diagnosis on the autism spectrum.
- Behavioral Disorders: Even in children who only have a minor brain injury from birth asphyxia, behavioral disorders such as hyperactivity may be present.
Birth asphyxia can also cause damage to other organs and organ systems, including the kidneys. According to a study published in Frontiers in Pediatrics, between half and three-quarters of babies who suffer birth asphyxia—and have an Apgar score at or below six at five minutes—experience renal concerns, at least temporarily.
Lasting damage to the heart, lungs, intestines, liver, and other organs is also possible.
What Evidence Do I Need to File a Birth Asphyxia Claim?
You will need evidence to prove to the insurance companies, judge, jury, and other parties that the defendant’s carelessness or recklessness caused the injury. This is true in any type of personal injury case, from car accidents to slip and fall cases to medical malpractice injuries. Proving negligence in any of these cases requires demonstrating four factors. In a birth asphyxia case, these four factors are as follows:
- The doctor or another trained medical care practitioner had a specific protocol to follow regarding the delivery of your baby.
- The accused party failed to provide the required or expected care, known as an acceptable “standard of care.”
- Your child suffered birth asphyxia and additional injuries as a result of the lack of acceptable care.
- Your family incurred financial expenses and losses because of your child’s injuries.
The evidence necessary to prove a medical malpractice birth injury case is different from that available in a car accident case. The proof that your child was a victim of a doctor’s medical negligence or that the hospital had a culture of carelessness relies on the following:
- Medical records
- Documentation of your child’s birth and the injury that occurred
- Proof of the effects of your child’s brain injury
- Testimony about exactly what happened and what should have happened
- Your child’s care plan and documentation of likely future needs
The medical records and other evidence related to your child’s birth and development will play a central role in proving birth asphyxia and your family’s related losses. Still, it may take someone knowledgeable about this specific area of medicine to translate what is in the records for a non-medical audience, including the court that will hear your case.
This is where one or more medical witnesses come in. Testimony from medical professionals can verify that your child suffered a birth injury, help us understand the mechanism of the injury, explain your child’s prognosis and ongoing care needs, and answer other medical questions related to the case.
You will not need to worry about identifying and gathering the necessary evidence to prove your family’s birth asphyxia case when you work with a lawyer. We can handle this and other aspects of proving and navigating your case. You can focus on your child’s therapy, care, and ensuring they have the support they need while your legal team builds a case and develops a strategy to seek compensation.
You can learn more by calling the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529. We will review your case for free and answer any questions you may have about the medical malpractice process in your state.
How Can a Lawyer Help with a Birth Asphyxia Claim?
Discussing your child’s injury and diagnosis with a medical malpractice lawyer can give you a good idea about the many ways a law firm can help you possibly hold the at-fault parties responsible for your child’s injuries. When you work with a birth injury lawyer who is familiar with the medical malpractice laws that relate to your child’s injuries, they will be able to help your family:
- Learn about your rights.
- Understand the strength of your case against the doctor or hospital.
- Gather evidence and develop a case against the liable parties.
- Analyze your child’s medical records and related documents.
- Identify and work with a medical expert witness.
- Prove medical negligence occurred.
- Pursue a case against the doctor or hospital, possibly through a birth injury civil suit.
The compensation available in a birth asphyxia case could include a variety of treatment and therapy expenses, as well as other losses related to your child’s diagnosis and care. It also includes both your family’s current and potential future expenses based on your child’s prognosis and ongoing needs. Some examples of damages for children whose birth asphyxia led to long-term disabilities include:
- The cost of diagnosis and initial testing.
- Treatment for both the initial injury and their lasting impairments.
- Current and future therapy costs.
- Ongoing and future medical care costs.
- Wheelchairs, canes, and other mobility tools and therapeutic devices.
- Out-of-pocket costs related to your child’s birth injury and treatment.
- Pain and suffering damages.
- Mental anguish.
It is important that you reach out to a birth asphyxia lawyer about your child’s injury as soon as you can following the diagnosis. Each state has a deadline for filing a legal action in a birth injury case, which could include a time limit and a rule that allows for tolling the timeline. Your attorney will need to review the deadline for filing a civil suit in your case to determine how quickly you will need to move forward.
You can begin learning more about your options for holding the doctor or hospital accountable today. Reach out to speak with a team member from the Birth Injury Lawyers Group now. When you call our team at (800) 222-9529, you will receive a complimentary consultation and discussion about your child’s case.
How Is Negligence Proven in a Birth Asphyxia Claim?
Most states require a medical expert to confirm whether negligence occurred. Depending on the medical malpractice laws that apply to your case, you may need to have a medical expert review your child’s medical records and provide a signed affidavit. You may need this before you file your lawsuit or within a certain time period after your case begins.
In general, a medical expert in a birth asphyxia case will be another doctor who:
- Monitors pregnancies and delivers babies regularly.
- Has similar training and experience to the doctor accused of malpractice.
- Works in a nearby hospital or area, since protocols can vary by region.
Judges, jury members, lawyers, and even hospital administrators are not doctors and do not have insight into the processes and protocols necessary to reduce the risk of birth injuries. For this reason, expert witnesses play an important role in medical malpractice birth injury cases, even in states that do not require their testimony. They can explain what should have happened, what happened, and how this led to your child’s injuries.
Many medical negligence cases hinge on a doctor or another trained medical professional who acts carelessly or recklessly and fails to provide an acceptable standard of care. The standard of care requires doctors to follow accepted protocols and processes to ensure all patients—including mothers and babies—receive the best care possible based on current knowledge and practices.
Expert witnesses can testify via a signed oath (affidavit) or in court that those involved in your child’s birth did not provide the expected standard of care. They can then link your child’s injuries and the lasting effects to the poor care provided, verifying that medical negligence occurred.
They may also testify to other aspects of your child’s injury and your case against the doctor or hospital, such as your child’s prognosis, care needs, and the lifelong effects of their birth injury.
Your attorney will likely have a network of medical professionals they work with regularly who they can call in to help with your case. Your medical malpractice team will take care of identifying a medical witness, working with them to review your child’s medical records, and obtaining the necessary affidavit, if required.
To learn if negligence played a role in your child’s birth injury and lasting impairments, call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529. A team member will evaluate your family’s case today for free.
Let Our Team Review Your Child’s Birth Injury for Free Today
If your child suffers from a lifelong brain injury because of a doctor’s medical negligence, you have a right to take action and hold the doctor, hospital, or another liable party accountable. You should not have to pay for your child’s treatment, care, and support out of pocket.
A birth asphyxia lawyer may be able to help you build your case and recover compensation for your current and future expenses and other damages.
Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 to get help today. Our team members will review your family’s case for free and determine your legal options based on the strength of your case.