Birth Injury:

Birth Asphyxia

Birth asphyxia occurs when a newborn is injured from a lack of sufficient oxygen. While the exact cause of birth asphyxia cannot always be identified, some common causes include:

  • Sudden loss of blood
  • Pressure on the umbilical cord
  • Infection
  • Abnormal development of the fetus
  • A blood clot in the umbilical cord

Perinatal asphyxia can also occur if the placenta functions improperly, causing a lack of oxygen to a fetus during labor.

Signs of a Lack of Oxygen in Newborns

Infants with birth asphyxia will appear pale and lifeless, struggle to breathe and have a slowed heartbeat. If perinatal asphyxia is caused by rapid blood loss, the child will be in shock. Newborns with birth asphyxia will be given fluids and a blood transfusion immediately after birth.

Asphyxiated infants may show signs of injuries to several organ systems. If the brain is affected, the newborn will experience tiredness, seizures and even coma. Difficulty breathing and problems with urine output will also occur if the lungs or kidneys are affected.

While some infants can completely recover from birth asphyxia, some will experience permanent neurological damage. Complications of birth asphyxia include learning disorders, delayed development and cerebral palsy. In the most severe cases, the infant will not survive.

Treatment of Birth Asphyxia

Causes of birth asphyxia should be identified by the medical staff and treated immediately. If a doctor, nurse or midwife is negligent in diagnosing birth asphyxia, they can be held liable in court for medical malpractice. For instance, antibiotics are used to treat blood infections, while blood transfusions are administered when a large amount of blood has been lost. If a doctor fails to identify a lack of oxygen to an infant and treat it appropriately, the family can seek compensation through a birth injury lawsuit.

If your child suffered asphyxia at birth, you may be eligible to recover compensation. Fill out our free case review on the right to speak with a birth injury lawyer today.