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The Effects of Oxygen Deprivation on a Newborn

The Becker Law Firm, LPA

Baby oxygen deprivation causes fetal distress, possibly causing permanent brain damage. Brains require a specific amount of oxygen in order to function, and the longer the deprivation, the higher risk of permanent brain damage. Mothers don’t want to consider the fact, but it bears attention: Hospital malpractice can cause baby oxygen deprivation.

Risk Factors for Baby Oxygen Deprivation

Prolonged deliveries are a risk factor. This can happen when the baby’s head is too large to fit through the mother’s birth canal. Or it can be caused by difficulties with delivering, such as the baby’s shoulder(s) getting stuck (shoulder dystocia).

If there is hemorrhaging or the mother goes into shock, this can cause placenta abruption. This is when the placenta pulls away, partially or completely, from the uterine wall, and the baby relies on the placenta to deliver oxygen.

A prolapsed cord is another risk factor for oxygen deprivation. This occurs when the umbilical cord drops down into the cervix before the baby does. It can happen before or during delivery. As a result, the cord is compressed, disrupting oxygen to the baby.

A baby’s abnormal presentation (position) can affect oxygen. The most common type of abnormal presentation is breech, where the feet or buttocks come down the birth canal first.

Recognizing risk factors is critical so that doctors can take necessary steps to deal with whatever the complication is in order to prevent oxygen deprivation. When they neglect to do this, it is considered hospital malpractice.

Consequences of Oxygen Deprivation to Fetus

Brain damage is the most serious effect of baby oxygen deprivation, and the damage could be mild, moderate or severe.

Unfortunately, sometimes it isn’t immediately known that brain damage has occurred. It sometimes can take time, as the baby fails to meet developmental milestones, for there to be signs of problems.

“Children who had in-utero exposure to ischemic-hypoxic conditions, situations during which the brain is deprived of oxygen, were significantly more likely to develop attention deficit hyperactivity disorder later in life as compared to unexposed children,” according to a Kaiser Permanente study published in the journal Pediatrics.

The most common effect of oxygen deprivation is mild to severe cerebral palsy. A mild form of cerebral palsy might limit the ability to perform daily activities, but the child generally can move without help.

When cerebral palsy is moderate, it requires assistance to move and engage in daily activities. This could come in the way of medication, adaptive technology or braces.

When it’s severe, there is a lifetime of challenges to face. Children require the use of a wheelchair because they lack the ability to move on their own.

The costs associated with treating a child who has brain damage can be into the hundreds of thousands or even more. If it’s believed that medical negligence was the cause of a fetus being deprived of oxygen, consulting an attorney should be the next step.

A Cleveland birth injury attorney may be able to assist with filing a claim. The Becker Law Firm is primarily focused on birth injury cases. It is terrible news to get, that one’s child may suffer the long-term effects of birthing trauma. Cleveland birth injury attorneys can help families recover by filing a claim for baby oxygen deprivation.

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