Fetal hypoxia can have devastating effects on a newborn, leaving them with disabilities and challenges they will face for the rest of their lives. The severity of these effects can vary widely. Many factors play a role in the type of complications and how severe they are. This includes how little oxygen made it to the brain and other vital organs, how long the baby experienced reduced oxygen, and what parts of the body were affected.
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Understanding the Effects of Fetal Hypoxia
The effects of fetal hypoxia vary depending on:
- When the baby was without adequate oxygen
- How long the baby was without adequate oxygen
- What organs or parts of the brain were affected by the lack of adequate oxygen
- A number of other factors
In general, some of the most common effects of fetal hypoxia include:
Damage Caused by Chronic Hypoxia During Development
According to a study published in the International Journal of Pediatrics, babies who do not get the oxygen they need during key stages of development may experience intrauterine growth restriction, which can result in low birth weight and other complications. In addition, they may face metabolic and hematologic concerns that require treatment or ongoing monitoring.
Damage to the Brain
Any type of fetal hypoxia can lead to brain damage known as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. According to Benioff Children’s Hospital, this type of brain damage can cause developmental delays, intellectual disabilities, and other cognitive dysfunction; cerebral palsy; and seizure disorders.
Damage to the Heart and Other Organs
Both acute and chronic hypoxia can lead to problems with the cardiovascular system later in life, including an increased risk of heart disease. This is because hypoxia leads to both morphological and functional changes in the heart. Other organs, such as the kidneys or the bowel, may also suffer damage because of hypoxia.
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Treatments and Outcomes in Children Who Suffered Fetal Hypoxia
The treatment for fetal hypoxia depends greatly on the size and gestational age of the infant. In some cases, doctors must deliver an infant early in order to help them get the proper oxygen levels. Premature infants and those who are extremely small may need extra support and care to survive.
Some full-term infants may benefit from hypothermia therapy, which requires lowering the body temperature to reduce the risk of neurological damage. This has been effective in improving the outcome for many survivors, including some who would likely pass away without this type of treatment.
Many children who experienced hypoxia during gestation or delivery have lasting impairments, although these vary in severity. Depending on their individual needs, they may require ongoing monitoring, therapy, anti-seizure medications, and drugs to reduce spasticity.
Many of the treatments and types of medical care necessary for babies who suffered fetal hypoxia are costly. You may be able to hold a doctor liable for the costs of your baby’s treatment.
Fetal Hypoxia Birth Injury Lawsuits
Your child’s fetal hypoxia and the effects they suffered may make you eligible to pursue a birth injury case against the doctor or hospital, in some cases. Fetal hypoxia may be preventable in some cases, and prompt diagnosis and proper treatment can limit the lasting effects. If your doctor or hospital failed to prevent, diagnose, or treat this condition, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit and recover compensation.
To learn more about your legal options, you should schedule a free case review with a birth injury attorney in your state. They can explain the laws that apply to your case, including the statute of limitations and any rules that may toll this deadline and extend how long you have to take legal action.
Most birth injury attorneys handle this type of case on a contingency fee basis, so your family owes nothing unless an attorney recovers compensation on your behalf.
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Talk to a Birth Injury Attorney Near You About Your Case
If your child required treatment or suffers from the effects of fetal hypoxia, the Birth Injury Lawyers Group is here for you. You may be eligible to pursue compensation for damages that include medical care costs, ongoing care costs, out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering damages, and more.
A representative from the Birth Injury Lawyers Group can talk to you about your family’s case today.
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