Birth Injury: Hypoxia Explained
One type of birth injury that can occur in newborn babies is hypoxia. Hypoxia occurs when the baby’ brain gets insufficient oxygen before, during or after birth. To say this another way, the baby’s brain is exposed to levels of oxygen that are too low to facilitate proper brain function. The effects of hypoxia on the brain can range from severe, causing permanent brain damage and or permanent disorders like cerebral palsy and other cognitive disorders, to slight or mild, causing damage that is potentially recoverable from.
Causes of Hypoxia
Hypoxia can happen for a number of reasons. Sometimes hypoxia is caused by the negligence of a doctor or other medical professionals. The doctor might have failed to take precautionary measures after making observations that should have indicated that the mother was a likely candidate for a complicated delivery. Similarly, carelessness in the delivery, or during after-delivery care could result in hypoxia.
Some of the common causes of hypoxia include:
- Umbilical cord injuries
- Undiagnosed placental disorders in the mother, such as placental insufficiency or placental abruption
- Premature birth, in situations where the baby’s lungs are not fully developed, the baby may not be able to breath on his or her own, and delays in providing the baby with medical assistance can lead to hypoxia
- Shoulder dystocia, where the nerves in the baby’s neck and shoulder are stretched or torn during delivery
- Trauma to the baby’s head during delivery can produce a blood vessel abnormality
Some, but not all, cases of hypoxia cause a degree of brain damage that can be treated after delivery. In these cases, treatment includes measures to stabilize the infant’s body, provide steady oxygen, which sometimes can involve the use of a hyperbaric oxygen chamber (a 100% oxygen environment), and management of the baby’s body temperature to prevent further cell death and brain swelling. If the hypoxia is so severe that the child suffers irreversible brain damage, treatment efforts shift to focus on long term therapy and courses of medication.
Birth Injury Victims and Their Families Should be Compensated
If your newborn child has suffered hypoxia-related brain injuries, your family deserves financial compensation for the harm you have suffered. The effects of hypoxia can last a lifetime and can require life-long treatment, and your family should not have to carry the burden of lifelong medical costs alone. Contact the Oklahoma birth injury lawyers at Richardson Richardson Boudreaux by calling (918) 492-7674 for a free initial consultation concerning your case.