An oxygen deprivation that leads to asphyxia can be fatal. Some types of asphyxiation can prove especially deadly because they occur when you’re around others, who may be unable to sense something is wrong.
There are four types of asphyxiation, each with its own symptoms and causes: suffocation, strangulation, mechanical asphyxia, and drowning. You can sue if someone else is liable for you or a loved one suffering from asphyxia.
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What Is Asphyxia?
Asphyxia occurs when there isn’t enough oxygen in the blood for tissues to function normally. In most cases, this happens because there’s not enough oxygen reaching the lungs due to reduced breathing or choking on amniotic fluid during birth.
Babies born with asphyxia will have difficulty breathing and could experience seizures or other neurological problems within hours of birth. It can cause brain damage that lasts throughout life, including cerebral palsy (CP), mental retardation, blindness, and deafness.
Your baby may have difficulty eating because of swallowing problems. She may have physical disabilities that make it hard for her to walk or do other daily activities. She may also have trouble controlling her behavior or learning new things as she grows older.
If your child suffers from asphyxia, you may want to consider contacting an attorney who specializes in birth injury cases.
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Types of Asphyxia
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 40% of all infant deaths in the U.S. are caused by asphyxia. Even more alarming, about one-quarter of these deaths occur before age 1, making it one of the leading causes of death for infants under one year of age.
Locating the cause of death is often challenging for the medical examiner or coroner. There may not be a visible wound to the body, and additional tests may be needed.
Suffocation occurs when there is an obstruction to the flow of air into or out of the lungs. This can be due to choking or to the over-stuffing of a confined space with a material that blocks airflow through it.
When someone chokes on food or another object, they are unable to breathe because their airway has been blocked by something that entered through their mouth. This type of asphyxiation is known as aspiration.
Airway obstruction refers to a blockage in the air passages that lead from the nose or mouth to the lungs. This can occur when an individual suffers from some form of trauma, such as being hit in the head during an automobile accident or assaulted with a blunt object like a baseball bat or brick.
Strangulation occurs when someone’s neck or throat becomes compressed, cutting off blood flow and oxygen supply to the brain, which will eventually result in death if immediate medical attention is not provided. Strangulation may occur accidentally or intentionally (eg, strangulation homicide).
This type of asphyxia most often occurs in accidents involving children and infants due to choking hazards such as balloons and certain toys. Accidental strangulation can be prevented by keeping such items out of the reach of young children who might put them in their mouths.
3. Mechanical Asphyxia
Mechanical asphyxia refers to being unable to breathe due to something blocking the flow of blood through the heart and lungs. It can occur when an individual is pinned down by an object such as a heavy piece of furniture or because they are caught under debris after a natural disaster like an earthquake or flood.
Drowning occurs when someone drowns in a liquid such as water. The person inhales water into their lungs, which can cause brain damage and death. Drowning can occur in several ways:
- In salt water (saline drowning)
- In freshwater (freshwater drowning)
- In sewage (sewage-related drowning)
Many people who drown don’t know how to swim well enough to stay above water long enough for help to arrive. Drowning can be prevented by wearing a life jacket at all times while boating or swimming.
Why Should You Consult with a Birth Injury Lawyer for Asphyxia?
Asphyxia is one of the most common birth injuries, affecting approximately 5% of babies. Asphyxia can occur at any point during pregnancy and delivery, but it is most often caused by complications during labor and delivery.
A birth injury lawyer can help you receive compensation for all costs associated with your child’s injuries, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and future care needs. This can help relieve some stress off of your shoulders while also helping cover expenses that may have otherwise put a strain on your finances or family budget.
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Contact Our Attorneys for Help Today
If you suspect that your child has suffered from asphyxiation due to a medical error, talk to a birth injury lawyer about your options. A qualified attorney will help you understand the legal process involved in proving negligence and pursuing compensation for your child’s injuries. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.