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When a baby does not receive the amount of oxygen it needs before, during, or after labor, then birth asphyxia may occur. When a baby is unable to get the oxygen they need, then their cells will not function like they’re supposed to and acids, or waste products, will build up in their cells. This can lead to temporary or permanent damage in a worst-case scenario. There are 4 million neonatal deaths per year due to birth asphyxia.
Two stages of injury can happen when it comes to birth asphyxia. The first stage will occur within minutes if blood flow is too low and the cells don’t get the proper oxygen. The second stage, called reperfusion injury, can last for days or weeks on end. It occurs after the baby’s brain gets normal levels of blood and oxygen. The toxins that are released from the damage cells in the baby’s body will lead to this injury.
A baby may suffer from birth asphyxia if there are inadequate levels of oxygen in the mother’s blood because she has respiratory or heart issues, or lowered respirations caused by anesthesia. Additionally, it could be caused by a mother’s low blood pressure, placental abruption, which is the early separation of the placenta from the uterus, umbilical cord compression, a very difficult or long delivery, or a serious infection in the baby or mother. If a baby’s airway is blocked or not formed properly or their blood cells can’t carry enough oxygen, then they may experience birth asphyxia.
Symptoms of Birth Asphyxia
A doctor may notice signs and symptoms of birth asphyxia before or after labor. Before labor, there may be increased levels of acid in a baby’s blood or they may have an abnormal heart rate or rhythm. Then, after birth, they might have a low heart rate, pale or bluish skin color, low or no alertness, seizures, weak breathing, gasping, weak muscle tone and reflexes, low Apgar scores, or meconium in the amniotic fluid.
Birth asphyxia can also lead to permanent brain damage and associated conditions like cerebral palsy and behavioral disorders. If your child has cerebral palsy, then they may experience seizures, have weak arms or legs, not be able to properly walk, have stiff muscles, and make involuntary movements. If they have a behavioral disorder, they may get angry easily, not be able to handle frustration, refuse to follow the rules, and get annoyed or nervous.
Treatment for Birth Asphyxia
As soon as there’s an issue with a baby and a doctor detects that birth asphyxia may be occurring, then they need to take action quickly. Then, they might be able to minimize the damage.
If a baby has mild birth asphyxia, then they will get breathing support until they are well enough to breathe on their own. But if they have a more serious case of birth asphyxia, then they may need medicine to get their blood pressure until control, an IV so that their bowel has time to recover, seizure medicine, therapeutic hypothermia (also known as body cooling), kidney support with dialysis, and breathing support from a machine that will send rapid an small puffs of air into the baby’s lungs. They may also need a heart-lung pump or nitric oxide through a breathing tube for life support.
If your baby develops a long-term health issue from birth asphyxia injuries, then treatment will vary. For instance, if your child has cerebral palsy, they may need physical therapy and anti-seizure medicine, and if they have behavioral issues, they might needs to go to recreational and psychotherapy.
How Do I Know if Medical Malpractice Caused Birth Asphyxia?
Sometimes, birth injuries happen and they are completely out of our control. Perhaps the mother had health issues or the baby was born prematurely and problems could not be avoided.
However, sometimes doctors are to blame for birth asphyxia. They might not have done a C-section when it was necessary or monitored a baby properly during labor, for instance. There’s no way to know that medical malpractice occurred unless you call a birth injury lawyer.
A lawyer will know the difference between a mistake and negligence. They’ll be able to evaluate your case and let you know if you have a valid claim on your hands. Then, if they determine that you do, they can help you pursue damages and retrieve compensation from your doctor.
How Much Will I Receive From a Birth Asphyxia Settlement?
Your birth injury lawyer won’t be able to tell you exactly how much you’ll receive from your settlement. But they will fight hard to procure damages like:
- Medical bills
- Loss of companionship and enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Future medical care
- Loss of earning capacity
You may be wondering how high your settlement could be. It’ll all depend on the amount of your damages. If you have to provide your child with lifelong care, for example, your damages will be higher. If your child suffered from mild birth asphyxia and has no permanent injuries, then your damages will be lower.
Settlement Offers in a Birth Asphyxia Case
Once you get in touch with a birth injury lawyer, they will listen to your story and what happened, and then collect evidence you have like photographs of your baby’s injuries, medical records, and witness statements. They will then reach out to the defendant, your doctor, and attempt to negotiate a settlement.
Usually, these types of cases will settle because going to court is time-consuming and can damage a doctor’s reputation. But there is the possibility that the doctor will reject negotiations and you’ll have to take them to court. Either way, your lawyer will be by your side the entire time and fight for you.
Proving medical malpractice occurred is difficult, but an experienced lawyer will be able to do it and work hard to get you the compensation that is rightfully yours.
Why Contact a Birth Injury Lawyer?
Giving birth was not supposed to be like this. But now your baby is suffering and you don’t know where to turn. You don’t have time to get involved in a lawsuit, but you need help paying for your bills. You also don’t want this to happen to anyone else. A lawyer will represent you and your interests at this time so that you can take care of your baby and heal from this traumatic incident.
Birth Asphyxia Birth Injury Attorneys
If you need help because your baby suffered from birth asphyxia, then Gilman & Bedigian are here for you. Get in touch with us now to learn more about what we can do for you and your family.
Contact Gilman & Bedigian 24/7 for a free consultation at (800) 529-6162.