Newborns cannot go too long without breathing. Babies require a steady supply of oxygen to keep their brain and other vital organs functioning properly. When they are not breathing or when the blood from their umbilical cord is not properly oxygenated, they are at risk of serious, permanent injuries.
In many cases, babies continue to receive some oxygenated blood to their organs, even if birth asphyxia occurs. This is known as hypoxia. Anoxia occurs when there is complete oxygen deprivation. Babies can survive hypoxia longer than anoxia, although it depends on how much oxygen they are receiving.
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Effects of Oxygen Deprivation Vary from Child to Child
After a few minutes without oxygen, the baby could suffer brain damage, organ damage, or other serious complications. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), this is the most common cause of neonatal death and disabilities.
How long it takes before damage occurs or before the baby’s body cannot survive depends on many factors and can vary widely. Some children have survived for some time without adequate blood flow to the brain and suffered no ill effects. Some have experienced a compressed cord for a few minutes during delivery and received a diagnosis of epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and other developmental disabilities.
While modern medicine makes it possible for more children to survive oxygen deprivation than ever before, many children still suffer serious complications and lasting disabilities. It is impossible to know your child’s prognosis or possible lasting effects of birth asphyxia immediately following the incident. There are simply too many factors that play into the outcome a child will experience.
Be Aware of Reperfusion Injuries Causing Additional DamageHow long newborns can go without breathing is not the only thing you have to worry about when it comes to the damage caused by birth asphyxia. Once the baby’s organs and brain begin receiving oxygenated blood again, reperfusion injuries may occur. This is a different stage when the child may experience brain damage or organ damage.
Reperfusion injuries occur because of acidosis. The damaged cells in the baby’s body break down, releasing waste products into their bloodstream. This can cause additional damage, and there is no cure or preventative treatment. However, hypothermia therapy is sometimes utilized to reduce the damage caused by acidosis.
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Birth Asphyxia as a Medical Malpractice Birth Injury
If your child suffered birth asphyxia as a result of medical negligence, you might have a legal right to hold the doctor, hospital, or another party legally responsible. Your child should not have to live with lifelong challenges because of medical malpractice.
We encourage you to reach out to an attorney who practices medical malpractice law in your state and accepts birth injury cases. They will understand the burden of proof in your case and can help you navigate the process based on state law if you qualify. Most birth injury law firms work based on contingent fees, as well. They only receive payment for representing you from the settlement or financial recovery in your case. If you do not win your case, they will not get paid.
Proving a birth asphyxia malpractice case generally requires working with a medical expert witness to prove:
- The expected standard of care
- What happened to cause the injury
- Your child’s complications related to the injury
- Your child’s prognosis and future needs
Most states require a medical expert witness to participate in this type of case, either by reviewing the medical records, submitting a sworn affidavit, or testifying in court. Your attorney will identify the expert for your case and take care of this process. If they can build a strong case showing your child was a victim of medical malpractice that caused their birth injury, your family could seek compensation that includes:
- Your child’s current medical bills and related expenses
- Your child’s future medical treatment, therapies, support, and care
- Ongoing care costs
- The time you missed at work due to your child’s injuries and care
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Medical, assistive, and mobility devices
- Pain and suffering damages
- Emotional distress
- Other economic and non-economic losses related to their injury and care
Call Our Team for Your Free Case Consultation Today
At the Birth Injury Lawyers Group, our team will discuss your child’s birth injury, complications, and prognosis with you today. We can evaluate your potential medical malpractice birth injury case and work with you to help you understand your options based on the facts of what happened. You may be able to develop a case against the doctor or hospital and recover compensation for your child’s care.
To get started today, call (800) 222-9529. Our team has someone standing by who can answer your questions and review your case for free today.