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Birth Injury Hazards: The Risks of Oxygen Deprivation

Kingston Personal Injury Attorney

Infants can suffer tremendous harm before they ever leave the delivery room. Despite medical best practices, the latest technologies and a mother’s months of preparation, new parents too often find themselves wondering just what may have gone wrong in the delivery room. Seeking answers, they contemplate a life ahead with a child who may have severe physical and developmental limitations.

Anoxia (another term for oxygen deprivation) can be a perilous experience for a child who spends too much time in the vaginal canal during delivery in those vital moments between umbilical dependence and drawing first breath. A newborn who has suffered oxygen deprivation faces a heightened risk of cerebral palsy, muscle atrophy and developmental disabilities.

A birth injury case recently heard by a New York City jury considered a set of facts and circumstances that clearly reveal the dangers of apoxia during labor. The plaintiff, now four years old, suffered multiple strokes and seizures in the hours after his birth. He sustained three brain lesions during that traumatic time and has ongoing speech and motor skills problems.

The personal injury attorney representing the family argued that the hospital and attending obstetrician deviated from standard medical practice by overmedicating the mother during a prolonged labor. She ultimately gave birth after 19 hours of labor and relentless contractions that caused reduced blood and oxygen flow to the baby while still in the uterus. The child’s lawyer argued that a Caesarean section should have been performed, and the jury agreed, awarding over half a million dollars in medical malpractice damages.

Personal Injury Lawyers: Advocacy for Medical Malpractice Victims

Birth injury cases are complex legal matters, often because the interval between cause and detection of harm is quite long. Improper monitoring, medication errors and other forms of medical negligence can lead to Erb’s palsy, kernicterus, anoxic or hypoxic encephalopathy, uterine rupture, and other serious problems that jeopardize the life of the newborn, the mother or both.

Families with questions about the effects of a possible birth injury as their child ages should have a frank discussion with a medical malpractice attorney. Parents who expected professional medical attention and a safe delivery of a new family member deserve legal advocacy when medical records reveal substandard care during prenatal care and delivery.