Birth asphyxia, or oxygen deprivation during labor and delivery, can result in serious and lasting injuries for infants. If your child suffered oxygen deprivation and developed brain damage as a result of a physician’s negligence, you may be entitled to file a civil lawsuit against your healthcare provider. At Spohrer Dodd, we know it can be overwhelming to navigate this process on your own. With over 150 years of combined experience and $1 billion won in recoveries, our Jacksonville lawyers have the resources, drive, and experience to help you fight for your child’s rights after a preventable birth injury.
We serve clients across Florida and the entire U.S.! Contact us today at (904) 637-7721 or submit our online contact form to get started.
What is birth asphyxia?
During pregnancy, a fetus receives oxygen-rich blood through the mother’s umbilical cord – and this oxygenated blood serves the dual purpose of keeping the fetus alive and allowing for proper brain development. Once the child is ready to be born, however, this source of oxygen may be cut off if there is trauma during the labor and delivery process. It is also possible for asphyxia to occur after the child has been born.
Birth asphyxia can happen at any point during childbirth, and while it may not always be preventable, doctors have a clear responsibility to monitor a developing child’s oxygen levels and take great care throughout the delivery process. When a doctor’s negligence leads to birth asphyxia, the child may suffer serious brain damage and even develop a motor or seizure disorder.
While the level of infant brain damage depends on multiple factors, some of the most common complications from birth asphyxia include:
- Cerebral palsy and other motor disabilities
- Hearing and visual impairments
- Fetal strokes and seizures
- Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
- Epilepsy and other seizure disorders
- Developmental disabilities
What causes birth asphyxia?
Whether caused by umbilical cord blockage, the stress of a prolonged labor, or improper use of delivery tools, birth asphyxia is often the result of preventable mistakes and physician negligence. Additionally, doctors who do not act quickly to correct birth asphyxia can exacerbate any existing damage, increasing the risk of a life-altering injury or disability for the child.
Some of the most common causes of birth asphyxia:
- Failure to perform a C-section (or to perform the procedure correctly)
- Prolonged and difficult labor
- Placental and uterine rupture
- Poor positioning of the child through the birth canal
- Inappropriate use of forceps, vacuums, and labor-inducing medications
- Umbilical cord strangulation
- Lack of monitoring for fetal vital signs throughout labor and delivery
- Failing to notice or treat preeclampsia (maternal high blood pressure)
- Shoulder dystocia
Birth Asphyxia FAQs
Can a baby recover from birth asphyxia?
When birth asphyxia is mild or moderate, it’s possible for the baby to have a full recovery. However, the longer the baby goes without oxygen, the greater the level of cell death across the brain and other organs – which means a greater risk of life-threatening conditions. This is why it is so critical for physicians to track fetal vital signs throughout pregnancy and keep a close eye on them during labor.
What are the signs and symptoms of birth asphyxia?
Symptoms of birth asphyxia can include:
- Excess acid in the blood (acidosis)
- Slow or irregular heart rate
- Bluish skin tone
- Weak cry
- Limited muscle tone or reflexes
- Labored or weak breathing
Who is eligible for a birth injury claim?
Proving a birth injury claim may be difficult, but if your physician violated the “standard of care” at any point during pregnancy or childbirth, it’s possible that their negligence could be the reason for your child’s birth asphyxia and related injuries. It’s important to discuss your concerns with a birth injury attorney who has experience in this difficult area of the law, as pursuing a medical malpractice claim takes significant time, resources, and energy.
Contact Spohrer Dodd today at (904) 637-7721 to get started with a free consultation.