Hypoxia occurs when the body is deprived of sufficient oxygen. Babies are at risk of hypoxia during labor and delivery from a number of factors, including umbilical cord compression and placental abruption. Tragically, the consequences of hypoxia may be permanent.
Minor hypoxia may result in temporary complications, but these typically resolve on their own over time. More severe cases of hypoxia may result in permanent damage to the brain. Cerebral palsy, periventricular leukomalacia, and similar disorders may all be a result of hypoxia. So too might fetal acidosis, a potentially fatal condition linked to oxygen deprivation.
Babies who suffer hypoxia during labor and delivery do not deserve the consequences they are forced to live with. Families with children who have developed neurological disorders due to medical negligence do not deserve the consequences they are forced to live with. Watkins, Lourie, Roll & Chance can help. Call our Atlanta office today at 404-760-7400 to schedule a complimentary case review and learn how.
Causes of Hypoxia
Hypoxia is caused by a lack of oxygen. This can happen when a fetus is not properly monitored during labor and delivery. It may also occur when medical conditions, such as infections, are not dealt with prior to delivery.
Placental abruption is a leading cause of hypoxia. Occurring in less than 1% of births, placental abruption may be linked to smoking during pregnancy. It may also be related to preeclampsia, intrauterine infection, chronic high blood pressure and other issues that should be dealt with before delivery.
Umbilical cord compression is another leading cause of hypoxia. Changing the position of the mother or manually readjusting the cord may be required in these cases to prevent oxygen deprivation.
In addition to placental abruption and umbilical cord compression, common causes of hypoxia include:
- Umbilical cord injuries
- Umbilical cord prolapse
- Cardiovascular collapse
- Shoulder dystocia
In many cases, hypoxia is avoidable, making the damage it does entirely unnecessary. If your baby was deprived of oxygen during labor or delivery, call our firm today to schedule your free birth injury case review and let us help you determine the best course of action.
What Are the Warning Signs of Fetal Hypoxia?
An erratic fetal heart rate is the primary sign of fetal hypoxia during labor and delivery. Post-delivery, signs of fetal hypoxia include:
- No cry or feeble cry
- Low heart rate
- Difficulty breathing
- Bluish skin color
Babies who have suffered hypoxia during labor and delivery may also experience muscle weakness and poor reflexes, though these symptoms may not be present for several weeks or months.
Could My Doctor Be Responsible for Fetal Hypoxia?
Yes. Doctors, nurses, midwives, and anyone else involved in the delivery process can be held liable for injuries suffered by a baby. So too can GPs, OBGYNs, and NPs who perform prenatal care.
Some of the risk factors for hypoxia can be diagnosed earlier in pregnancy. These include maternal infection, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and preeclampsia. Others, such as umbilical cord compression and fetal distress, must be identified during labor and delivery and dealt with immediately to prevent injury to the baby.
Is Fetal Hypoxia Preventable?
Fetal hypoxia may be preventable through proper screening during prenatal visits and attentive care during labor and delivery. Failure to provide adequate care is a form of medical malpractice and can easily lead to injury.
When Should I Seek an Attorney for Fetal Hypoxia?
If you suspect your child's injuries resulted from medical malpractice, including general inattention or negligence, you should talk to an attorney about your options. Fetal hypoxia may only produce short-term complications, but can also result in complex conditions that will require special care for life. If your child's injury will result in a lifetime of challenges, talking to a lawyer will help you understand the best way to pursue the compensation you need to help your child live their best life.
Am I Entitled to Compensation for Medical Costs and Long-Term Care For Fetal Hypoxia?
If your child's fetal hypoxia was the result of negligence, you are entitled to seek compensation for:
- All medical and rehabilitation services
- Ongoing therapeutic services
- Special schooling
- Assistive technologies
- Support and supervision
- And more
The best way to learn what your child may be owed is through a one-on-one consultation with a qualified birth injury lawyer.
Watkins, Lourie, Roll & Chance has decades of experience helping families in the Atlanta area get justice. We are here to listen to your case and provide detailed information about your options. We can also help you find local resources and support systems for families.
Are There Any Risks With Pursuing Compensation for Fetal Hypoxia?
When you pursue legal action, you seek a verdict or settlement larger than the initial offering from insurance. Most of these cases resolve long before they go to trial, but some are heard in front of a jury.
There is always the risk of losing your case or it being dismissed if it goes to trial.
It is essential to carefully consider the risks and benefits of legal action, particularly as they relate to your family's specific case. During your free case review, we can discuss your claim's viability and possible outcomes to help you choose the best path forward.
How Watkins, Lourie, Roll & Chance can Help
Our team of birth injury lawyers has the experience and resources necessary to successfully litigate these complex cases. We work with skilled medical professionals to review records, exhaustively pouring over every detail of your labor and delivery to find any and all instances of medical negligence. We are committed to helping families struggling with birth injury get justice. We will stand by your side and fight tirelessly for that end.
Attorney Lourie further enhances our birth injury team through his previous work building defenses against birth injury claims. Having this experience allows us to better understand the arguments, tactics, and data used by birth injury defense lawyers – and gives us the powerful ability to deconstruct those arguments with great precision.
The birth injury attorneys at Watkins, Lourie, Roll & Chance are here to help your family get justice. Call us at 404-760-7400 to schedule your consultation and learn more. We maintain two offices in Atlanta. We serve families living in all areas of Georgia.