The many causes of newborn hypoxia
Written By: Rheingold, Valet, Rheingold, Ruffo & Giuffra LLP
Hypoxia is the term used to describe an inadequate amount of oxygen going to the brain. This is most commonly suffered by infants before, during, and after delivery. Like some other birth related injuries, hypoxia can be reversed if caught early and treated immediately. However, improper or delayed treatment of hypoxia can result in permanent disability and even death.
Due to the nature of vaginal birth delivery, many babies are born with slight hypoxia. These common cases typically resolve quickly after birth and do not result in any permanent disability. Unfortunately, there are several different risk factors that can significantly increase the probability that a baby will suffer moderate to severe hypoxia. A level of hypoxia that is considered above the norm can lead to a severe or life-threatening condition or permanent disability.
Throughout the course of pregnancy, it is the doctor's responsibility to monitor and evaluate the expectant mother's condition. This care typically includes the use of ultrasounds and tests to rule out any conditions that may damage a fetus. In the event a medical provider overlooks any one of these risk factors, an infant may suffer hypoxia or other potentially fatal ailment. The presence of an infection or injury to the umbilical cord while the baby is in utero can significantly increase the risk of hypoxia. Injury to the placenta, heart, and blood vessels of the brain may also result in this condition.
As patients we all put our trust in our medical providers, but not as much as an expectant mother does. Mothers extended the trust they have in their doctors past themselves to include the life of their child. When a doctor fails to provide adequate care and treatment to a fetus, both the baby and mother may suffer. Parents that have suffered the loss or injury of a child may wish to speak to a medical malpractice attorney. With their help, negligent doctors may be held accountable, and parents can seek compensation to help cover the ongoing cost associated with the care of their child.