If you suspect your child was injured because of oxygen deprivation during childbirth, a condition known as birth asphyxia or birth depression, you may want to protect your child's rights to compensation.
Birth Asphyxia is a term that generally describes a condition in which a baby is deprived of adequate oxygen prior to, during or immediately after delivery. The term itself is somewhat controversial, in part because its use suggests the possibility of medical malpractice. Physician groups like The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have encouraged physicians not to use the term in their records. As a result, the condition is sometimes described using other terms, such as birth depression, neonatal depression, perinatal asphyxia or fetal distress.
Signs of Birth Asphyxia
Birth asphyxia symptoms may be different for each newborn but the most common post-delivery signs and symptoms of birth asphyxia include:
- Skin color (bluish or pale)
- Low heart rate
- Weak muscle tone or reflexes
- Weak cry
- Gasping or difficulty breathing
- An APGAR Score of 0 - 3 for longer than five minutes
- Severe acid levels in the umbilical cord umbilical blood (pH less than 7.0)
Dangers of Birth Asphyxia
Most responsible physicians acknowledge that birth asphyxia is a major cause of cerebral palsy and can cause other neurologic disorders, including seizure disorders. However, there is a concerted effort on behalf of some doctors and their lawyers to claim that cerebral palsy is unavoidable and/or is the result of unknowable and unnamed conditions that occur at times other than delivery.
Birth asphyxia can also cause damage to other organs, including the heart, blood vessels, gastrointestinal tract, lungs and kidneys.
Proof of the link between oxygen deprivation and harm such as cerebral palsy requires a familiarity with and use of experts to educate a jury on the science and literature of birth injuries. At Purchase and George, we use highly qualified experts to establish the link between asphyxia and cerebral palsy and also to establish whether and when the baby was exposed to asphyxia. This proof often requires a thorough analysis of electronic fetal monitoring strips, placental pathology, ultrasound, CT scan, MRI imaging, laboratory results and clinical records.
We Want to Help
Birth asphyxia is a complex condition and it is not always the result of medical negligence. However, there are times when it can be predicted or prevented and, even when it cannot be prevented, immediate diagnosis and treatment is both possible and required. If your baby was injured by birth asphyxia and suffered brain damage or other organ damage, the Erie birth asphyxia lawyers at Purchase & George will investigate your baby's case and help you to determine whether your child is entitled to compensation for medical expenses, long term care and other harms.
Call today for a free consultation with an Erie medical malpractice attorney, toll free at 877-505-9548 or locally at 814-580-5017.