A child who experiences a decrease in oxygen to their vital organs may suffer many lifelong effects and implications as a result. The severity depends on how long their organs received decreased oxygen, how low the oxygen levels were, and how their organs were affected.
They may face immediate challenges after delivery because of fetal hypoxia, and additional effects may appear as they grow up. This condition can also increase their risk for certain conditions as adults.
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There Are Many Conditions Associated with Fetal Hypoxia
When hypoxia is chronic and affects the fetus early, the baby may not reach full size. Intrauterine growth restriction can be both a cause and an effect of fetal hypoxia. According to a study published in the International Journal of Pediatrics, babies who go without full oxygen either before, during, or after delivery may also experience:
- Meconium aspiration
- Metabolic concerns
- Hematologic conditions
- Low birth weight
- Increased risk of infant mortality
One of the most common issues associated with fetal hypoxia is hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. This type of brain damage can result in intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, behavioral concerns, and more, as well as seizures and cerebral palsy.
Chronic hypoxia during development can also cause damage to the heart, leading to an increased risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions later in life.
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Diagnosing and Treating Fetal Hypoxia
When hypoxia occurs in the uterus, fetal oximetry and other testing are often used to diagnose the condition. Symptoms of intrauterine growth restriction may also play into a prenatal diagnosis. When hypoxia occurs just before, during, or immediately after delivery, symptoms after birth may lead to a diagnosis. According to Benioff Children’s Hospital, seizures are a common early sign of hypoxic brain injury.
Initial treatment may include medications to stop seizures and support breathing and other body processes. In some cases, lowering the baby’s body temperature and inducing hypothermia can help reduce the implications of fetal hypoxia. A better neurological outcome may be possible for selected infants who qualify for this treatment.
Many children who suffer complications related to fetal hypoxia will require lifelong monitoring, in addition to medication and therapy for related medical conditions.
A Fetal Hypoxia Diagnosis May Support a Birth Injury Lawsuit
It may be possible to hold the doctor or hospital liable for some of your expenses and losses related to your child’s fetal hypoxia, in some cases. This may be possible when:
- The hypoxia occurred because of a preventable birth injury
- The doctor failed to notice the risk factors for fetal hypoxia and act accordingly
- The doctor failed to diagnose fetal hypoxia
- Your child suffered because of some other type of medical negligence
If you have a case against the doctor or hospital, you may have a legal right to pursue compensation on your child’s behalf and recover damages that include:
- Medical care costs
- Ongoing care costs
- Related out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Other related losses and expenses
The best way to find out if you have a valid medical malpractice case is to discuss your child’s condition with a birth injury attorney in your state. Each state has its own laws about pursuing this type of legal action and holding a doctor or hospital liable. This includes time limits set by laws called statutes of limitations.
Each state has its own statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases, and they also have additional rules that may affect deadlines in your case. They may have protocols you have to follow if you pursue a case against a public hospital or special rules to toll the statute of limitations when the victim was an infant at the time of the malpractice.
An attorney who practices birth injury law near you will be able to explain the laws that apply to your case during a free case review.
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Talk to a Birth Injury Lawyer Near You About Your Child Fetal Hypoxia Diagnosis
If your child was born with fetal hypoxia and required treatment or suffered lasting damage, the Birth Injury Lawyers Group is here to help. You can reach out to us to discuss your case and will connect you with an attorney in your state who regularly handles cases like yours.
Most birth injury attorneys offer free case reviews, and will likely take on your case with few, if any, out-of-pocket costs to your family. Call (800) 222-9529 today to get started.