A baby can recover from birth asphyxia in some cases. This is especially true when the baby experienced only hypoxia—a shortage of oxygen—instead of anoxia, a complete lack of oxygen. In instances of anoxia, babies may also recover if the asphyxia lasted only a very short period. When this occurs, the baby may have no symptoms following their delivery, or they may initially present with a weak Apgar score and then rebound with supportive therapies.
Even children who have serious injuries related to birth asphyxia can recover and live a relatively normal life in some cases. For example, seizures are a common complication in these children as a consequence of brain damage from lack of oxygen. While there is no way to reverse the brain injury, seizures are often manageable. With medication, their seizures may be under control, and they may display no other symptoms of their birth injury.
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Factors in Brain Injury Recovery
Birth asphyxia’s most common and concerning consequence is a brain injury. Once the brain suffers an insult due to lack of oxygen, the damage done is irreparable. However, not every baby who suffers from brain asphyxia has brain damage, and not all of them suffer disabling injuries as a result of this damage.
Several factors contribute to the severity of a brain injury that results from neonatal asphyxia. These include the following:
- How long the baby did not have adequate blood flow or oxygen
- How much oxygen continued to flow during this time
- How quickly the blood flow was restored
- The areas of the brain affected
While there is no way to reverse damage once it occurs, there is one treatment available to protect the brain from further damage immediately following asphyxia: hypothermic therapy.
According to research shared by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, dropping a baby’s body temperature following asphyxia is the only licensed and effective protective treatment for brain injuries related to hypoxia and asphyxia. The meta-analysis included more than 1,200 cases and found that hypothermia therapy reduced the incidence of neurologic damage and death across all levels of injury severity.
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Treatment May Address Complications of Birth Asphyxia
In some cases, a baby can recover from birth asphyxia by receiving treatment and support for their symptoms and complications. This does not cure them but allows them to live with fewer impairments or illnesses. Children may require medication, surgery, therapy, early intervention, or other treatment for conditions such as the following:
- Pulmonary and circulatory concerns
- Cognitive delays
- Motor and movement impairments
- Renal damage
- Liver damage
- Heart damage
- Behavioral difficulties
- Learning delays
- Low vision
- Hearing loss
While some of these conditions will require ongoing care and support, others may be reversible with the right treatment or management. Children who have hearing loss, for example, may always need a hearing aid. However, a child who struggles to read because of a learning disability may learn tactics to manage their condition and become an avid reader as a teenager and adult.
In some cases, you will not know the full effect of your child’s birth asphyxia until they reach school age. This is especially true when they are not severely affected. Mild cerebral palsy cases, learning delays, and behavioral disabilities are often not diagnosed until a child reaches preschool, kindergarten, or beyond.
Only once your child receives a diagnosis can their care team develop a plan to address their needs. This is the first step in helping them recover from or adapt to their delays or disabilities.
Birth Asphyxia Can Support a Medical Malpractice Case
Even if your child seems to recover from their birth asphyxia and have few lasting effects or only minor complications, your family may qualify to take action to hold the doctor or hospital liable. Birth asphyxia is often preventable. If a lawyer agrees, they will help you build a civil suit based on the specifics of your child’s delivery, injury, and prognosis.
Working with a lawyer can help you focus on your child’s needs while they navigate the legal system on your behalf. An attorney may handle tasks such as compiling the necessary medical records and evidence, and enlisting the help of medical experts to verify that medical malpractice occurred.
Your case could allow you to recover damages to pay for your child’s diagnosis, treatment, and future care. This could include:
- Surgery, medication, and therapy
- Ongoing care costs
- Time you have to take away from work
- Prescribed devices, such as wheelchairs, glasses, and hearing aids
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering damages
- Mental anguish
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Call Us Today to Speak to a Team Member About Your Case
Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group to get help with your family’s birth asphyxia case today. You can reach a team member at (800) 222-9529 now. Our consultations are always free to families whose children experienced a birth injury.