Asphyxia can cause brain damage in newborns. Subsequently, brain damage is the cause of many further complications among children who suffer the trauma of neonatal asphyxia. Brain damage related to oxygen deprivation can lead to:
- Cerebral palsy
- Behavioral disabilities
- Developmental delays
- Learning disabilities
- Many other complications and conditions
The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology published a meta-analysis of studies that reviewed the relationship between birth asphyxia and brain damage. According to these studies, lasting brain injuries were relatively common. The researchers found that:
- 17.2% of the children had neurological deficits
- 16.3% of the children experienced seizures
- 14.5% of the children received a cerebral palsy diagnosis
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Brain Damage Can Lead to Many Concerns in an Affected Child
Loss of proper oxygen delivery can affect a number of vital organs or organ systems in a child with neonatal asphyxia. However, the injuries to the brain are often most concerning because of the severity of the disabilities they can cause. Brain injuries are common when the baby does not receive adequately oxygenated blood to their brain for several minutes, and these injuries can affect all aspects of the child’s life. Such effects could include:
- Their ability to provide self-care
- Their independence
- Their quality of life
- Their ability to move, learn, and function with their peers
It is also important to note that, while many asphyxia-related injuries are identified quickly and are a known issue, it can take time to determine the many ways a baby’s brain was affected by oxygen deprivation. Even once you have a diagnosis, the impacts of that diagnosis may change over time as your child grows and develops. Many brain injuries will require ongoing monitoring and care for the life of the child.
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Your Child May Not Receive a Diagnosis for a Year or More
While you know asphyxia can cause brain damage in newborns, you may not know for some time if your child suffered brain damage or to what degree. Brain injuries can affect a child in so many different ways that it may be impossible to know until the child shows signs.
For example, in the case of cerebral palsy, your child may miss motor milestones for their age. This means you may not be aware of a child’s cerebral palsy symptoms until your child is nine months to a year old. Once your child misses important developmental milestones, their doctor can officially assess them and diagnose them with cerebral palsy.
Other types of impairments, especially relatively minor ones, could take even longer to diagnose. Many brain injuries make it difficult for children to learn, behave, socialize, and physically keep up with their same-age peers. These deficits may not be apparent until the child reaches preschool or kindergarten.
Only once the diagnosis is known is it possible to begin treatment. Children may overcome their limitations or adapt to their disabilities with early intervention and treatment, when possible. This could include:
- Medications to address seizures, tremors, and other concerns
- Physical therapy for motor and movement problems
- Occupational therapy to help them learn self-care and everyday skills
- Speech and language therapy to improve communication
- Behavioral therapy
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Building a Legal Case Based on Your Baby’s Brain Injury
While your attorney may not want to file your lawsuit until you have a good understanding of how your child’s birth asphyxia will affect them in the years to come, you can reach out to speak to someone today about your case. Because there are state timelines you must follow to file a malpractice suit, it is a good idea to get started as soon as possible, even if you do not have all the information yet.
Your attorney will discuss the specific details of your child’s injury with you, assess and assign liability, explain the applicable state laws, and develop a case to support financial recovery. They will handle your family’s lawsuit based on contingency fees, meaning that they will only receive a payment if they settle your case.
Using evidence essential to malpractice suits, including a medical expert witness who will attest that medical malpractice occurred, your family may be eligible for compensation to recover your losses, including:
- Current medical bills related to your child’s delivery, injury, and diagnosis
- Future related medical and care costs
- Additional costs for assistive, mobility, or communication devices
- Out-of-pocket losses
- Pain and suffering damages
- Other intangible losses
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Get Help Today from the Birth Injury Lawyers Group
You can speak with a member of the Birth Injury Lawyers Group team about your family’s birth asphyxia case. We will review your case for free. Call (800) 222-9529 to get help today.
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