Lack of Oxygen (Asphxia) During Labor and Delivery


Labor and delivery is often a difficult process for babies.  A successful delivery depends on many things going right—the baby’s position, the baby’s size, the forcefulness of the mother’s contractions, and the position of the umbilical the cord, to list a few.  Fortunately, medical science has advanced and we now have the technology to predict, anticipate, identify and correct for most dangers.  However, when obstetricians and nurses make mistakes, the consequences for the baby and family can be catastrophic.

Causes of Oxygen Deprivation During Labor and Delivery

Injuries Caused by Oxygen Deprivation

Lack of oxygen during labor and delivery can cause several types of complications:

Developmental Delays 

The baby’s brain must receive a continuous supply of oxygen during labor and delivery.  Cutting off that supply for too long, or providing too little oxygen for a prolonged period of time can cause irreversible damage as brain cells die.

Developmental delay injuries include problems with gross motor skills, fine motor skills, language skills, cognitive abilities and social skills.  The degree of injury depends on the amount and length of oxygen deprivation.  It can take years to determine the full extent of injury to a child with developmental delays.  Although brain scans can reveal the physical damage, the only way to know how that damage will affect a child is to monitor her development.

Cerebral Palsy 

Cerebral Palsy mainly refers to a type of impaired motor function caused by damage to the brain.  That damage can be caused by lack of oxygen near birth.  Children with cerebral palsy require a lifetime of medical, surgical and therapeutic care to live up to their full potential.

Like developmental delays, cerebral palsy cannot be diagnosed immediately after birth.  However, the signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy are usually apparent by the time a child reaches the age of two.

Wrongful Death 

Prolonged lack of oxygen can case the wrongful death of a child.  Physicians and nurses are trained to recognize warning signs that a baby is not getting enough oxygen during labor and delivery.  Failure to act on those warning signs will prevent the baby from getting much-needed oxygen.  The baby’s organs will begin failing, and the baby might die before birth (stillbirth) or shortly after birth.

Did Medical Malpractice Cause My Child’s Injuries?

To find out if your child’s injuries were caused by birth injury medical malpractice, contact our lawyers at (855) 712-7818 or online for a free consultation.  We have investigated hundreds of birth injury malpractice cases, and we are well-equipped to review your child’s medical records and tell you if the doctors and nurses should have done more.

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