Perinatal asphyxia, more commonly known as birth asphyxia, refers to when an infant is deprived of oxygen at any time before, during, or immediately after birth. This is one of the most serious childbirth-related injuries, and it can be fatal or have consequences that will last the rest of the child’s life.

If your child has been a victim of birth asphyxia due to the negligence, carelessness, or incompetence of a medical professional, pursuing legal compensation may be the right course of action. Birth asphyxia can result from natural complications, and it can also be the result of negligence on the part of health care professionals. If you believe your child suffered birth asphyxia due to negligence, you need a qualified and experienced birth asphyxia injury lawyer to help you pursue justice.

Do not delay. The longer you wait, the harder it can be to achieve an optimal outcome in cases like these.

Get in touch with a qualified Philadelphia birth asphyxia injury lawyer at Wapner Newman today: (215) 569-0900

How a Philadelphia Birth Asphyxia Injury Lawyer Can Help

With decades of practical experience, Wapner Newman Attorneys at Law will help you to obtain the compensation you need and deserve. After a birth asphyxia event, your entire family will be in severe emotional distress. During this time, navigating the legal system and dealing with medical professionals can feel like trying to find your way through a labyrinth. Our team will do the difficult work of dealing with often adversarial professionals as you seek the compensation your family deserves.

The stress and mental anguish you feel can make it easy to make decisions that are not in your best interests or agree to terms that will result in justice not being served. That is why it is so important to work with experienced and qualified birth asphyxia injury lawyers at a time like this.

In recent decades, the parents and families of birth asphyxia victims in Philadelphia have been awarded hundreds of millions in wrongful injury and death compensation. Our team is made up of well-known and respected practitioners in this area of law and we will fight to get you the compensation you need and deserve.

Causes of Birth Asphyxia

Birth asphyxia can happen at any point during the process of childbirth. Its causes can be natural or they can be a result of incompetence or negligence. When birth asphyxia does occur, a full and complete investigation must be carried out in order to determine whether your child was harmed due to caregiver negligence.

All too often, the parents of birth asphyxia-injured children assume that their medical professionals did everything in their power to prevent the event, when, in fact, the opposite is the case. While most professional medical staff are caring and dedicated servants of the public good, those who willfully fall below the standard of care must be discovered and punished. Unfortunately, this can usually be done only after harm occurs.

Don’t let negligent medical professionals off the hook! Call our respected birth asphyxia injury lawyers today!

Before any medical professional can participate in a birth, he or she must be fully trained and certified in the tasks involved. They are trained to monitor the fetus closely throughout the entire process. Their job is to ensure that the fetus does not suffer from a lack of oxygen and to act promptly when issues do occur.

These professionals are strictly required to watch for the signs of birth asphyxia. These signs include:

Pre-Birth Asphyxia Signs

  • Elevated acid levels in the blood
  • Abnormal heart rate

Post-Birth Asphyxia Signs

  • Discoloration of the skin
  • Abnormally slow heart rate
  • Poor muscle tone
  • Poor reflexes
  • Weak crying or breathing
  • The infant’s first stool in the amniotic fluid
  • Low alertness
  • Seizures
  • A limp body.

Any time a person is deprived of the required amount of oxygen to support life, at any age, there will be only minutes before severe injury will set in. Typically, the human brain cannot go for more than five minutes without oxygen. After five minutes of asphyxia have passed, severe brain injury is the likely result. Once that amount of time has passed, the harm will increase by the moment and death is likely to occur, especially after ten minutes of oxygen deprivation.

Is My Doctor Responsible for My Child’s Birth Asphyxia?

As we have explained, the medical professionals who attend childbirth are trained and required to monitor the baby before, during, and after birth for signs of asphyxia. In some rare cases, their job may be impossible to do without inevitable harm resulting. However, if your child has been harmed due to circumstances that were avoidable, it can be discovered with a proper investigation.

With today’s technology, methods, and standard of care, it is rare that a case of birth asphyxia can occur without negligence or incompetence playing a role. The signs of birth asphyxia listed above are not difficult to watch for given the state of modern medicine. If your health care professionals do not detect these signs or do not act quickly enough to prevent harm, they will almost always be considered to have breached their duty of care and can be held accountable in a court of law.

Forms of Medical Negligence that Can Cause Birth Asphyxia

The first way a medical professional fails to prevent harm due to birth asphyxia is by failing to detect it. As mentioned, there are several robust means by which low blood oxygen levels in an unborn or newly born infant can be detected. It is rare that low oxygen levels can be present and not be detected, though it is sometimes possible.

Signs of Birthing Staff Negligence

One of the first signs to watch for is issues with the umbilical cord. Issues with the umbilical cord are well known and every professional birth attendant knows to watch for them.

Failure to monitor for infant distress is the second-most common form of negligence in events like these. Like anyone who is struggling for air, an infant will panic when its oxygen levels are low. These signs are clear, and anyone would recognize them as stress and fear.

Failure to monitor the condition of the mother is yet another way this kind of negligence can manifest. There are a number of signs and conditions that the mother will exhibit when her child is in distress. Issues like a uterine rupture, an amniotic fluid embolism, and more will be felt by the mother and she will show signs that should be detected.

Premature birth is a major indicator that issues may arise. Any time a child is being born prior to a full 37 weeks of pregnancy, hospital staff are expected to be especially alert for birthing issues.

Performing a caesarean section at the wrong time is yet another form of negligence that should be accounted for. These operations must be done at a specific period during the birthing process. Failure to perform a caesarean at the right time is considered to be a serious and avoidable error.

When one of the child’s shoulders has become stuck, this is known as shoulder dystocia. There are specific maneuvers that must be performed in a specific way to deal with this problem. These maneuvers are simple and well understood, and if they are not performed properly, injury to the child and to the mother is likely.

FAQs

Is Birth Asphyxia Always Treatable or Preventable?

In most cases, yes. The signs will be readily present and able to be spotted by doctors and birth attendants. When it is quickly spotted and recognized, it can usually be successfully stopped and treated.

What Are the Causes of Birth Asphyxia?

Birth asphyxia can be caused by conditions in the womb and birth canal before and during birth. It can also be caused by internal factors within the body of the unborn baby. In the vast majority of cases, conditions causing asphyxia occur during birth and can be remedied at that time.

How Is Prenatal Asphyxia Diagnosed?

Birth attendants are trained to watch for signs of distress in the infant. They are required to check the baby’s “Apgar” score, which is the best indicator of infant/newborn blood-oxygen levels.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Birth Asphyxia?

The possible long-term effects of birth asphyxia include blindness, cerebral palsy, neonatal encephalopathy, and epilepsy or seizure disorders.

Hire a Reputable, Experienced Philadelphia Birth Asphyxia Lawyer

If you believe your child’s birth asphyxia was caused by medical negligence, it is critical that you consult a birth injury lawyer as soon as possible. Your legal representative can reduce the stress associated with legal proceedings that you are certain to feel.

An experienced Philadelphia birth asphyxia lawyer can help you achieve justice. Our team will investigate the events surrounding the birth of your child and the injury that resulted. We will consult experts in this area of medicine and obtain the testimony of persons involved in the incident.

Through this process of discovery, our team can determine whether the harm caused by birth asphyxia was preventable. If we find that it was preventable and that your caregivers were negligent, then we can help you get the compensation that you deserve. Our attorneys will save you from dealing with the complexities of the system, and the red tape, and give you and your family the time you need to recover from such a terrible event.

No amount of money can repair the damage. But negligent medical professionals must be held responsible.

Get in touch with us today to learn more. (215) 569-0900