Birth Asphyxia Lawyers
Asphyxia is a condition that occurs when the body is deprived of a sufficient amount of oxygen. In most cases this can be caused by some form of choking, however, it can also be a common problem that occurs during the normal birthing process. In cases where the infant does not receive the proper amount of oxygen, it can result in a buildup of acid throughout the body which can cause them to suffer from an improperly functioning body, but the possibility of permanent damage. The extent of the damage sustained by the infant will be largely dependent on the length of time that they were left without correct oxygen levels.
Common Causes of Birth Asphyxia
While asphyxia is often related to injuries sustained by adults and teenagers (ex: from inhalation of carbon monoxide, seizures, drowning, and other tragic accidents), it can also occur during the delicate stages of the birthing process. The first moments of life are incredibly important and if they are not treated correctly, it can result in the child receiving less than an adequate amount of oxygen. This may come from several different issues that occur during birth. For example, the child may have a mother who lacks a sufficient amount of oxygen in her blood – this can affect a child without any outside interference.
Other causes of birth asphyxia include a placenta that separates too soon, anemia, as well as issues with the umbilical cord – some cases even involving an umbilical cord wrapping around the child’s throat and causing them to choke. Other issues with the mother can result in asphyxia, including high or low blood pressure or serious infections. While some of these can be attributed to circumstances outside of the realm of human control, some instances can be caused by faulty or low-quality medical care.
Symptoms of Birth Asphyxia
If a medical professional does not properly diagnose the symptoms of asphyxia and act quickly and appropriately, it can cause more severe issues, as well as delay the necessary treatment of the issue.
The common symptoms of birth asphyxia include the following:
- Breathing of the infant is non-existent or weak;
- The infant has dismal muscle tone;
- There is an abnormal or weak heart rate;
- The infant is suffering from seizures;
- There is pressure from the umbilical cord;
- Skin is either blue or extraordinarily pale; and
- Low heart rate or exorbitant amounts of acid in the blood.
Any of the above symptoms should immediately alert the medical professional that asphyxia is occurring so that they can begin treatment without delay. The first stage of the injury will occur during the first few minutes of the infant being asphyxiated. This will result in the beginning stages of damage to the cells. Several days or weeks after the injury has been sustained, the child will experience the second stage. This stage is commonly known as a “reperfusion injury” and occurs after the blood flow of the newborn has been returned to normal stages. The cells that had previously been damaged can release toxins into the bloodstream at this type, causing further damage and injury to the newborn.
Diagnosing & Treatment of Birth Asphyxia
If the above symptoms are noted, several tests can be run to help determine and diagnose the condition. The first will be testing the acid levels of the child. If they are proven to be less than 7.00 in the umbilical cord blood, it could be proof that the child has been asphyxiated. Another common process of determining asphyxiation is known as the Apgar test which uses several factors of the child following birth – including their color, heartbeat, reflexes, muscle tone and more. If your newborn has a score less than three for longer than five minutes, it is reason for concern. Other ways of diagnosing the condition include simple observation for the more severe symptoms – including seizures, coma, and abnormal blood pressure.
If asphyxiation is diagnosed, it will be vital that immediate steps are taken to treat the issue. Depending on the circumstances of the case (including age of the baby, severity of the condition, expectations, and more), treatment may range from anything as simple as introducing more oxygen into the blood of the delivering mother to performing an emergency Caesarean section. Other treatment options include manually supporting the child’s breathing, as well as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.
Providing Quality Legal Counsel in LA, California
If your child has suffered from asphyxia during the birthing process, it can have significant and long-lasting consequences. This has been tied to children suffering from cerebral palsy, as well as development delays and disabilities. While this injury cannot always be tied to medical malpractice, you must consult with a knowledgeable legal professional who will be able to evaluate your case and determine the best course of action.
If it is determined that the child had been injured due to the actions of a medical professional, we encourage you to get the involvement of a California Medical Malpractice Attorney from the Pacific Attorney Group. Over the years, our firm has been proven as advocate for the rights of the injured – you can be confident knowing that we will go above and beyond in our efforts to protect your rights. With over 35 years of collective legal experience, we have what it takes to fight for you.