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Birth Injuries: Lack of Oxygen During Labor and Delivery Can Lead to Cerebral Palsy and Severe Brain Damage

Of the many potential risks involved in childbirth, perhaps none is more impactful than when a baby is deprived of oxygen. “Hypoxia” is the term used for this inadequate level of oxygen before and/or during delivery, and the consequences to the long-term health of the child can be catastrophic. Several different injuries can occur as a result of hypoxia, the most common and well-known being cerebral palsy.

Cerebral Palsy and Other Conditions Caused by Hypoxia

Cerebral palsy is actually not one condition, but rather is a group of disorders that can involve brain and nervous system functions including movement, learning, hearing, seeing, and thinking. Some children diagnosed with cerebral palsy are able to live productive lives, but others may be severely disabled and require constant medical care and attention.

Additional conditions caused by hypoxia or anoxia (a complete lack of oxygen) include:

  • Anemia
  • Asthma
  • Brain injury
  • Emphysema
  • Headache
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • Pneumonia
  • Shock
  • Sleep apnea

There can be several causes of hypoxia during and immediately prior to delivery, including:

  • unusual birthing position
  • problems with the umbilical cord
  • prolonged labor and delivery

Hypoxia Requires Urgent Action

Advances in technology, such as fetal heart rate monitors, and other close monitoring of the baby’s vital signs during labor and delivery should alert physicians and nurses as to dangerously low oxygen levels and the need to take urgent action. Typically, this will involve ordering an emergency caesarian section.

Every second that a baby is deprived of oxygen is critical, and if the obstetrician or the obstetrical nurses have failed to follow accepted standards of care for the prompt and timely delivery of the baby, medical malpractice or negligence may have occurred. It is important to consult with an experienced birth injury attorney to discuss the circumstances surrounding your child’s birth if they are suffering from cerebral palsy or other conditions that may have been caused by a lack of oxygen during labor or delivery. Compensation may be available to assist you with the long-term costs of care and other damages if the medical professionals in attendance failed to meet their responsibilities.

Nugent & Bryant: Connecticut Birth Injury and Medical Malpractice Law Firm

If you believe your child suffered from a medical error during labor or delivery, or even if you are unsure if such an error occurred, please call us today at (203) 795-1111 for a free consultation to discuss your situation. Together, we will figure out what happened, what we can do, and how we can take every possible step to bring you the comfort and compensation that can aid in your child’s recovery.