Birth Injury Cases: Hypoxia in Newborns
Obtaining Compensation for Victims of Hypoxia at Birth
Birth hypoxia occurs when a baby’s brain and other organs do not get enough oxygen before, during, or right after birth. When there is a loss of oxygen at birth, a baby’s brain and other organs can suffer permanent damage.
Common Fetal Hypoxia Causes
- Uterine rupture
- Shoulder dystocia
- Breech birth
- Placental rupture
- Problems with the umbilical cord during delivery
- Too little oxygen in the mother’s blood before or during birth
- Very long or difficult delivery
- A serious infection in the mother or baby
- High or low blood pressure in the mother
- A blockage in the baby’s airway
How Does Hypoxia Affect the Brain and the Body?
Any time an infant suffers birth asphyxia complications, there are serious risks. While minimal hypoxia may not lead to long term disabilities, more extreme cases can. Fetal hypoxia can result in some of the following long term effects:
- Cerebral palsy
- Organ failure
- Developmental disabilities
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
- Impaired eyesight
In some extreme cases infant hypoxia can result in death.
Monitoring for Infant Hypoxia During Childbirth
Doctors and nurses are required to recognize signs of oxygen deprivation during childbirth.
- They commonly use fetal heart rate monitors to detect signs of fetal distress by watching for changes in a baby’s heart rate and rhythm.
- When fetal distress is evident from the monitor, medical staff must act quickly to treat it. An emergency cesarean section and supplemental oxygen may be required.
- After delivery, doctors and nurses carefully evaluate the baby’s condition and give a number rating from 0 to 10. This number is called an Apgar score. The Apgar rates skin color, heart rate, muscle tone, reflexes, and breathing effort. A low Apgar score (0 to 3) lasting longer than five minutes may be a sign of birth hypoxia.
When doctors and nurses fail to take immediate steps before, during, or after delivery to prevent further oxygen deprivation, they may be found liable for negligence.