It is difficult to accurately calculate how common oxygen deprivation is at birth. This is because there may be little definitive proof of minor cases when the baby only suffers brief asphyxia, or the doctor does not diagnose the birth injury. It is likely that many children experience a brief period of umbilical cord compression or similar issues but do not have any apparent lasting damage.
Without a physical indication, such as a cord wrapped around the baby’s neck or a prolapsed cord, or a significant change in the baby’s vital signs, it may be difficult to know that a child suffered birth asphyxia. In most moderate to serious oxygen deprivation cases, doctors become aware because of one or more of the following:
- The baby’s vital signs change dramatically, often a quick heart rate.
- The baby does not breathe on their own after delivery and requires resuscitation.
- The baby has low Apgar scores at one minute or five minutes after birth.
- The baby shows other signs of severe oxygen deprivation, such as seizures and organ dysfunction.
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Many Babies Experience Brain Damage as a Result of Oxygen Deprivation
While we may not know how commonly babies experience oxygen deprivation, we do know how often they suffer brain damage as a result. There have been many studies that focus on hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, or HIE. This is one of the most common brain injuries suffered by newborns, leading to many developmental delays, physical disabilities, and other challenges.
According to research published in the medical journal Newborn and Infant Nursing Reviews, HIE occurs between 1.5 and 2.5 surviving babies born in developed nations, including the United States.
Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy occurs just before, during, or immediately after delivery. It may occur because of any reason that prevents the baby’s brain from receiving a constant flow of oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood, including:
- Hypoxia, when there is a shortage of oxygen in the blood
- Anoxia, when the brain receives no oxygen and nutrients
- Ischemic events, such as stroke
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Complications Resulting from Deprivation of Oxygen at Birth
When considering how common oxygen deprivation is at birth, it is also important to note the effects this situation can have on children who experience it. While many children may experience only brief asphyxia and have no apparent lasting effects, those with moderate or severe oxygen deprivation injuries can have significant delays and disabilities, as well as related medical conditions.
This may include:
- Developmental delays and disabilities
- Motor disabilities including cerebral palsy
- Learning disabilities
- Behavioral concerns
- Low vision
- Hearing loss
- Organ damage
If your child experienced oxygen deprivation and has any of these complications or medical conditions, your family may have a valid medical malpractice claim against the negligent doctor, hospital, or another party. This can be crucial to pay for the care and therapy your child needs.
Building a Medical Malpractice Case Based on Oxygen Deprivation
If you believe your child experienced oxygen deprivation, suffered HIE, or has complications or medical conditions related to birth asphyxia, you should discuss it with a law firm that handles medical malpractice cases in your state. An oxygen deprivation birth injury attorney will help you understand your rights, assign liability, and gather evidence for your case, as well as navigating the process for you based on a contingent fee. You will not need to pay anything out of pocket for legal representation in most cases.
By working with an attorney in your state, you can ensure your case adheres to the state’s unique statutes that apply in birth injury cases. This may include the state’s timeline for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit and its rules related to expert medical testimony. Some states require your lawyer to consult with an expert before filing a civil suit, some require a signed affidavit from an expert to accompany your filing, and others require the expert to testify at trial.
If your attorney can build a case to hold the hospital or doctor liable, you may recover damages that include:
- Current and future medical care and support
- Ongoing care costs for your child
- Missed work because of your child’s injuries and needs
- Out-of-pocket expenses related to their injury and diagnosis
- Pain and suffering damages
- Other non-economic losses
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Discuss Your Child’s Birth Injury Diagnosis with Our Team Today for Free
You can speak with a team member from the Birth Injury Lawyers Group about your child’s birth injury and any related complications or medical conditions today at no cost to you. We will evaluate your legal case against the doctor or hospital and determine if we believe you are eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
You can get help today with your legal case. Call (800) 222-9529 today to learn about your legal options based on the specific details of your child’s case.