Birth Injury Blog

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Birth Asphyxia?

Posted By Beam & Raymond || 10-Jul-2017

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, including:

  • 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 birth injury 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. Contact us to request a free consultation.
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