New Jersey Perinatal Asphyxia Attorneys
Perinatal Asphyxia, also known as birth asphyxia or neonatal asphyxia, occurs when a baby is does not receive adequate oxygen before, during, or immediately after birth. The term “asphyxia” simply means “lack of oxygen.” There are a variety of ways in which birth asphyxia can occur, including insufficient blood flow or blood that does not contain sufficient oxygen. In some cases, errors made by obstetricians and other medical professionals during the course of labor and delivery lead to neonatal asphyxia and the catastrophic complications that may result.
When medical malpractice causes birth injuries like perinatal asphyxia, victims and their loved ones can hold negligent parties accountable. Our skilled New Jersey birth injury lawyers fight for the justice that these victims deserve. If your child suffered complications related to perinatal asphyxia, contact us today at (866)-708-8617 for a free consultation.
What is Perinatal Asphyxia?
Birth asphyxia happens when one of the baby’s organs, most often the brain, is deprived of oxygen. Fetuses and newborns require a continuous flow of adequate oxygen for their cells to function. If cells in the brain or elsewhere in the body experience oxygen deprivation, they stop working and then die. If there is not enough oxygen delivered to a baby’s tissues around the time of birth, otherwise healthy organs can suffer serious and sometimes, permanent damage. Perinatal asphyxia can negatively impact the brain, lungs, kidneys, heart, and other organs.
Birth asphyxia occurs in two distinct phases. In the first few minutes of oxygen deprivation, the cells become damaged and soon die. In the second phase, a condition called reperfusion injury occurs, where the cells release toxins that have built up due to cell damage. This condition, also known as reoxygenation injury, creates tissue damage when blood supply returns after a period of lack of oxygen. It may last for weeks or months after the child is born.
How Does Birth Asphyxia Happen?
Neonatal asphyxia occurs in approximately four out of every 1,000 newborns delivered at full term. It may occur more often in premature infants. Some of the potential causes of perinatal asphyxia include:
- Prolonged or difficult delivery
- Insufficient oxygen in the mother’s blood prior to, or during birth
- The placenta separates from the uterus prematurely
- Umbilical cord issues
- Infection that affects the mother or baby
- High blood pressure in the mother (hypertension)
- Low blood pressure in the mother (hypotension)
- The infant’s blood cells cannot carry enough oxygen
- A blockage in the baby’s airway
Potential Complications of Neonatal Asphyxia
Generally, the amount of time that the baby was deprived of oxygen, the extent of the asphyxia, and the immediacy of treatment will determine the extent of the organ damage. In some cases, the damage is temporary, and the newborn will recover and move on to live a normal life. In other cases, neonatal asphyxia can lead to permanent neurological damage. Damage to the brain may result in a variety of conditions and complications, ranging from developmental delays to Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) and Cerebral Palsy. Some of the other potential complications of perinatal asphyxia include: cognitive impairment, learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and vision problems (including blindness). In the most severe cases, birth asphyxia can cause organ failure and death.
Birth Asphyxia and Medical Malpractice
In some cases, birth asphyxia may have been prevented if a doctor fails to provide the appropriate standard of care. Essentially, this means that a doctor in the same specialty would have provided alternative treatment in the same scenario to ensure a successful outcome. Some examples of medical negligence as it relates to neonatal asphyxia are as follows:
- Poor fetal monitoring (failure to recognize fetal distress)
- Failure to monitor maternal blood pressure
- Failure to order an emergency C-section
- Delayed cesarean section
- Misuse of Pitocin, Cytotec, and other labor-inducing drugs
- Improper management of respiratory status after delivery
Contact NJ Birth Injury Lawyers for Neonatal Asphyxia Victims
If your baby suffered complications related to oxygen deprivation, contact our experienced birth injury attorneys to discuss your specific case. We represent victims of birth asphyxia and medical malpractice throughout New Jersey, and we are available immediately to assist you. Our New Jersey perinatal asphyxia lawyers understand that each and every case in unique, and we will take the time to thoroughly investigate your case to identify all instances of negligence. We charge nothing for the consultation and no fees until we recover compensation for you. Call (866)-708-8617 for a free case evaluation today.