Birth asphyxia, or perinatal asphyxia, refers to oxygen deprivation during
labor or delivery long enough to cause physical harm, and particularly
brain damage. This oxygen deprivation can result from many factors, including
excessive contractions, umbilical cord compression, preeclampsia, and
instances of medical malpractice, including failure to respond to fetal
distress in a timely or appropriate manner.
When birth asphyxia is severe, it can injure brain cells and cause potentially
fatal conditions, including
Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE),
brain injuries, seizures, and
cerebral palsy. Because brain trauma is the most serious birth injury a baby can suffer,
it has the potential for devastating long-term effects that create life-long
challenges for victims and families. Children who suffer brain injuries
during birth can also display increased signs and symptoms as they age,
- Difficulties with developmental milestones
- Movement disorders
- Epilepsy and seizure disorders
- Difficulty caring for themselves
- Cognitive impairments or delays
- Speech, feeding, and learning disabilities
- Behavioral or emotional disorders
- Vision and hearing problems
- Neurologic or mental health conditions
Because hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy develops when there is birth asphyxia,
and because it increases the potential for permanent brain damage and
long-term conditions, it is now the standard for medical professionals
to administer hypothermia therapy, or
head cooling, when newborns are diagnosed with HIE. Time is a critical factor in the
administration of head cooling, and doctors should perform the therapy
within six hours of delivery. When head cooling is performed properly
and in time, research shows it can stop and prevent a significant amount
of brain damage.
When medical professionals fail to meet an accepted standard of care, such
as failing to perform proper and timely head cooling, risks of a baby
developing serious conditions and long-term adverse health effects increase.
When babies do suffer harm as a result of substandard care, families can
assert their rights to hold medical professionals accountable and seek
a financial recovery of their damages, which can include compensation
for the future economic needs families will have as their child ages.
Over the years, our legal team at Beam & Raymond has handled many
cases involving birth asphyxia, medical malpractice, and failures to perform
therapeutic head cooling, and has recovered millions of dollars in compensation
on our clients’ behalves. If your child suffered birth asphyxia
during birth, we encourage you to learn more about your legal rights and
birth injury claims by speaking with a member of our firm.
to request a free consultation.