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The possible causes and effects of hypoxia

On Behalf of | Sep 4, 2014 | Birth Injuries

Expectant parents can generally feel confident that the delivery of their baby in a hospital or other health care facility will happen without incident. Serious birth injuries can be prevented by the ability of doctors to respond quickly and properly to potential threats.

One threat to a baby’s long-term health and well-being is a condition called hypoxia. Hypoxia occurs when an infant’s brain does not receive enough oxygen. In the case of childbirth, a shortage of oxygen could happen before, after or during the delivery.

Hypoxia has a variety of potential causes, including congenital heart disease, abnormalities in brain blood vessels, cardiovascular failure and infections. In addition, issues involving the umbilical cord, such as injuries or prolapse, can also pose risks.

Of significant importance is recognizing and treating symptoms in a timely manner. The longer the symptoms go untreated, the greater the likelihood an infant will suffer from some form of permanent disability. Cognitive deficiencies, cerebral palsy and a disorder called hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy are all possible disabilities caused by hypoxia. In severe cases, the condition could lead to death.

When hypoxia is detected, the infant must be resuscitated and their oxygen flow must be stabilized. Following this, the doctors must choose an appropriate treatment according to the baby’s needs. One utilized method is cooling therapy, which impedes brain swelling and the death of cells. Cooling therapy does this by employing the use of a plastic blanket that has cool water circulating inside.

Fortunately, the threat of serious long-term damage can be eradicated with a rapid response on behalf of the doctor. Methods developed for spotting and treating hypoxia have advanced over the past 15 years. Therefore, any doctor who does not act in a manner that prevents a newborn from suffering a serious injury due to hypoxia should be scrutinized for possible negligence.

If your child is suffering from the symptoms of hypoxia, you may wish to get in touch with a medical malpractice attorney. An attorney can look at your case and may be able to help you seek compensation if the situation so warrants.