The most common causes of lack of oxygen in infants can be divided based on when they occur: before birth or after birth. During or before birth, some of the most common causes include insufficient blood flow from the placenta or low blood oxygen in the mother. After birth, common causes of oxygen deprivation include respiratory problems and low blood pressure in the newborn.
Many other issues can occur and compromise the blood flow and proper oxygenation of a baby before, during, and after delivery, including:
- Amniotic fluid embolism
- Maternal infection
- Maternal hemorrhage
- Neonatal stroke
- Severe anemia in the mother or baby
- Uterine rupture
Problems related to the placenta are significant causes of birth asphyxia, or oxygen deprivation. Because the placenta and umbilical cord oxygenate the blood and deliver it to the baby, problems with either of these key structures can lead to birth asphyxia. In some cases, these complications occur as a result of physical pressure on the umbilical cord, such as compression of the cord, a cord wrapped around the baby’s neck, or a cord delivering first.
In other cases, there is a catastrophic problem with the cord or the placenta that causes the issue, such as an avulsion or abruption.
While oxygen deprivation may lead to only minor consequences for a newborn, some babies suffering from birth asphyxia may experience serious injuries. Hypoxia-ischemia (HI) refers to brain damage that occurs when the newborn’s brain is deprived of oxygen. According to Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, hypoxia-ischemia is the most common cause of death and disability related to birth injuries.
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Preventing Oxygen Deprivation in Newborns
Many of the most common causes of lack of oxygen in infants are preventable, or at least possible to address quickly when the first symptoms appear. In many cases, there are indications of increased risk for a problem before birth asphyxia occurs. With proper monitoring, it may be possible to avoid brain damage or limit the damage caused by the oxygen deprivation.
Some examples of asphyxia prevention include:
- Identifying and treating anemia before it becomes too severe
- Prenatal care and immunizations to prevent dangerous infections
- Delivering via cesarean (C-section) when necessary to prevent umbilical concerns
Close monitoring of a mother and baby’s health during labor and delivery is also the key to discovering a catastrophic problem, such as a neonatal stroke or a placental abruption. This allows the medical team to take immediate action to deliver the baby, restore proper blood flow, and resuscitate the baby as needed. Taking immediate action can limit the time the baby’s organs and brain go without properly oxygenated blood, reducing the risk of permanent injuries.
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Lack of Oxygen for Your Infant Could Be Medical Malpractice
When a doctor or other trained medical professional fails to provide the necessary and expected standard of care to protect your baby from preventable injuries or lifelong disabilities, this is medical negligence. By working with a medical malpractice birth injury lawyer who practices in your state, you may be able to hold the doctor or hospital accountable and recover compensation for your child’s future treatment and care.
If they believe you have a birth injury case, your attorney can take a number of steps to build a case and seek financial recovery. This can include:
- Compiling records and evidence
- Working with a medical expert witness to evaluate your case
- Assigning liability
- Filing paperwork that names the doctor or hospital as the defendant
- Negotiating a settlement when possible
- Representing your family’s best interests in court as necessary
Most medical malpractice attorneys work based on contingency fees, so you should not have to pay anything upfront. Instead, they will receive their fees from the compensation they secure for you. In addition to their fees, you may be able to recover:
- Medical care costs to date
- Future medical care and treatment expenses
- Ongoing care costs
- Expenses related to mobility and assistive devices
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering damages
- Other intangible losses
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Work with Our Team to Learn More About Your Child’s Case
You can get help learning more about your child’s birth injury and whether it may support a medical malpractice claim today by contacting the Birth Injury Lawyers Group. You can discuss your child’s injury, complications, prognosis, and more with our team today for free. We will help you understand this process and offer guidance on the next steps in the process of holding the doctor or hospital responsible.
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