Lack of Oxygen at Birth Delivery

NewbornThe causes of traumatic brain injuries are many. Repeated blows to the head - which are the focus of "Concussion," the feature film about brain injuries suffered by players in the National Football League - is one high-profile cause.

Complications at delivery from substandard medical care are another cause of traumatic brain injuries. When things go wrong during labor and the baby is deprived of oxygen, serious injures may occur. If severe enough, the deprivation can lead to the baby's death.

Human Error Found to be Leading Cause of Birth Asphyxiation

A lack of oxygen before, during or right after birth is called birth asphyxiation. A 2013 Norwegian study cited human error as the leading factor for this terrible outcome. After reviewing 161 instances of birth asphyxiation, researchers found:

  • 50 percent were caused by inadequate fetal monitoring
  • 14 percent were due to lack of clinical knowledge
  • 11 percent were due to not following clinical guidelines
  • 4 percent caused by drug error

Of those 161 birth asphyxiation cases, 54 infants died and 96 suffered from some type of neurological disability.

Even Mild Oxygen Deprivation at Birth can Lead to Serious Developmental Problems

Oxygen deprivation at birth doesn't have to be severe to cause chronic brain injuries. Irish researchers in 2014 reported babies who suffered mild birth asphyxiation to be experiencing serious consequences five years later, including:

  • Speech problems
  • Autism
  • Attention deficit order
  • Dyspraxia - a neurological disorder in the brain that includes impaired memory and judgment

There is evidence that birth asphyxiation is one cause of the traumatic brain injury known as cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a disorder of the portion of the brain that controls muscle movement. It may not be diagnosed until a child reaches 2 or 3 years old. It does not worsen over time but it is a lifelong condition. Some with cerebral palsy also suffer from other serious conditions, including seizures, vision problems, or learning disabilities.

Child delivery, almost considered routine in this country, can become difficult. If the medical team is not responsibly monitoring the delivery or is not adequately prepared to react to challenging circumstances, labor complications can turn tragic and long-lasting. Children with brain injuries due to delivery errors may require costly lifetime medical care.

If you lost a baby during delivery or if your child suffered severe harm during the process and you believe a medical mistake was the cause, you may to consult an attorney who handles child delivery malpractice cases to determine who is responsible and pursue just compensation on your behalf.

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