Millions of healthy babies are born in the United States every year. Unfortunately, not all newborns enter the world easily. In 2003, the National Quality Health Care Report suggested that seven out of every 1,000 infants in the nation are born with some type of birth injury. Those injuries can range from temporary trauma to injuries that can have devastating lifelong consequences for the child and his or her family.
One of the most common causes of birth injuries occurs when the newborn’s tissues and organs are deprived of sufficient amounts of oxygen. This condition is called anoxia and can result in brain damage and other related disorders. Anoxia can occur naturally during labor due to unanticipated problems such as umbilical cord compression, damage to the placenta, or when a mother has an adverse reaction to an epidural or other drugs used to induce or slow down labor. But sometimes symptoms are missed due to improper fetal monitoring or other acts of negligence on the part of nurses and doctors.
Anoxic Injuries and Your Newborn
Reduced oxygen is one of the main causes of brain injuries during labor and delivery. However, not only the brain is at risk when anoxia occurs. Other vital organs, such as the kidneys and lungs, are susceptible to damage as well.
Anoxic injuries are difficult to diagnose. Sometimes the symptoms of the injury do not emerge until the baby is older and begins showing signs of developmental delays. Because of the type and varying degrees of severity, it can be hard to determine if a medical error is responsible for the child’s outcomes.
Some examples of conditions that can arise from anoxia include:
- Birth asphyxia: Birth asphyxia occurs when the newborn doesn’t receive enough oxygen before, during, or after childbirth. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including when there is umbilical cord compression, blood pressure problems in the mother, or if the placenta separates from the uterus prematurely. In such cases, the babies need immediate fluids, blood tranfusion and careful monitoring during this life-threatening period.
- Cerebral palsy: This condition is marked by brain and nervous system disorders that can cause a variety of problems from muscle spasticity and abnormal movements to learning disabilities; speech, hearing and vision problems; seizures; and pain.
- Persistent pulmonary hypertension: This condition can arise when the newborn’s system doesn’t adapt to breathing outside of the womb. While the baby is in utero, it receives oxygen from the placenta, so its lungs need little blood supply. Inadequate changes in blood pressure in the lungs once the baby is born can cause hypoxemia, or low levels of oxygen in the blood, and breathing problems.
While a birth injury due to reduced oxygen may have been unpreventable, there may be grounds for a negligence claim if medical providers failed to perform the proper monitoring procedures.
Contact Our Birth Injury Lawyers Today
Call Michigan Injury Lawyers at 313-438-4357, or contact us online for an evaluation of your claim. If there is no recovery in your case, there is no fee for our services.