How you diagnose birth asphyxia depends greatly on the unique facts of the case. It may be evident from the monitoring of labor and delivery that your child suffered birth asphyxia, or the baby may not be breathing properly when they are born. If necessary, they will perform resuscitation or other efforts to restore blood flow or help the baby breathe on their own.
Birth asphyxia may not be as apparent if it only lasted a short period, it was not caused by a catastrophic concern, or if blood flow was restored and the baby began breathing upon delivery. When this occurs, low Apgar scores may be the best indication of a problem, and they may need additional attention to determine if they have any emergent needs. According to MedlinePlus, an Apgar score helps determine how babies tolerated the birthing process and how they are doing outside of the mother’s womb.
Some signs that may affect Apgar scores or otherwise indicate the baby suffered oxygen deprivation include:
- Weak or labored breathing
- Grey or blue skin, lips, and nail beds
- Acidosis (a high level of acid in the blood)
- Renal concerns
- A low heart rate
- Weak or absent reflexes
- Poor muscle tone
- Extreme lethargy
- Neonatal seizures
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Additional Symptoms May Appear Over the Following Months
Knowing your child suffered birth asphyxia will bring about additional monitoring, including vision and hearing screenings. In addition, they will likely undergo observation or scans to check for damage to vital organs. Their doctor should undertake developmental monitoring with extra attention.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 17 percent of children in the U.S. have some type of developmental disability or delay. Diagnosing these conditions depends on understanding the typical developmental milestones and screening children who miss several milestones or reach them significantly late.
Developmental disabilities or delays linked to birth asphyxia include:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Cerebral palsy
- Cognitive and intellectual disabilities
- Developmental delays
- Hearing loss
- Learning disabilities
- Low vision
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Some Conditions Take Much Longer to Diagnose
How you diagnose birth asphyxia and its complications can sometimes also depend on how the damage your child suffered affects their body. For example, some children with epilepsy have their first seizure within their first 24 hours of life, and vision or hearing loss may be diagnosed at only a few months old. Intellectual and developmental delays take longer, though.
In many cases, you must wait until your child reaches the affected developmental stage to see signs of a problem, undergo screening, and receive a diagnosis. This is true of cerebral palsy, for example. Most children receive a diagnosis between their first and second birthday, after missing motor-related developmental milestones.
Children may not receive a diagnosis of a behavioral condition or learning disability until a teacher or parent notices they cannot keep up with their peers or behave differently than their peers in preschool or kindergarten. This is what prompts the doctor to conduct additional screening and how the child receives a diagnosis.
Your Child’s Diagnosis Could Support a Birth Injury Case
If your child received a diagnosis caused by their birth asphyxia, it may be possible to develop a case against the doctor or hospital who caused or failed to prevent their birth injury. Each state has its own medical malpractice laws, process, and timeline. For this reason, it is essential that you work with a birth injury medical malpractice attorney familiar with the laws in your state.
If an attorney believes you have a case based on your child’s diagnosis, they will represent you based on contingency. You will not need to pay them anything. They receive their fees from the compensation they recover for your family in your legal case.
While each state handles birth injury and medical malpractice claims differently, almost all of these cases rely on the testimony of a medical expert witness who will:
- Review your child’s medical records
- Determine that medical negligence occurred
- Outline how your child suffered injuries
- Explain your child’s prognosis and future care needs
Using this and other evidence, your attorney will build a case against the doctor and/or hospital, pursue damages, and attempt to negotiate an out-of-court settlement when possible. Your recoverable damages, whether in court or out, could include:
- Your current medical bills and related expenses
- Your child’s future medical costs
- Ongoing and supportive care expenses
- Related expenses for prescribed devices, such as wheelchairs and hearing aids
- Out-of-pocket losses and expenses
- Pain and suffering damages
- Mental anguish
- Other intangible damages
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You can speak with a member of the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today to learn more about your child’s case and your family’s right to hold the liable parties responsible. Let us review your child’s birth injury case at no cost to you. You may be able to get started on your legal case today. Call (800) 222-9529 now.