How does hypoxia affect an infant?

June 6, 2019 | Crandall & Pera Law
How does hypoxia affect an infant?

Birth, as common as it is, is actually a complicated process with much that can go wrong. Infants are at risk of developing brain injuries while in the womb, during delivery or even afterward if they don't receive the correct care.

Part of the reason that infants are likely to suffer brain injuries is that there is such a high probability of going without oxygen. The umbilical cord can wrap around the baby's neck, the delivery can take too long or other problems can happen that hinder the ability for the baby to receive the oxygen they need.

When an infant doesn't receive the oxygen they need to the brain before, during or after birth, it's called hypoxia. This condition may lead to serious brain injuries or death. It can cause permanent disorders including:

  • Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Cognitive deficiencies

How would a doctor know that an infant is at risk?

There are several risk factors that would let a physician know that an infant could be at risk of hypoxia. Some of these include:

  • Infections
  • Injuries to the umbilical cord
  • Placental insufficiency
  • Umbilical cord prolapse
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Cardiovascular collapse

There are other possible risk factors as well.

If your doctor believes that there is a risk factor that could lead to hypoxia, the pregnancy should be monitored closely. Treatment can include things such as:

  • Hypo- or hyperthermia management
  • Cooling therapy
  • Fluid management

If your baby suffers a brain injury during birth that has progressed into a permanent brain injury, it could mean that they'll live with cerebral palsy or other disorders. Fortunately, with swift care, many brain injuries can be managed and permanent damage can be avoided. There have been many advances in medicine, especially in the ability to recognize and treat hypoxia.

If your child suffers from hypoxia and does not receive the adequate treatment, then you may be a victim of malpractice. Medical professionals are required to adhere to the strict standards of their profession, including being able to provide the right care when any patient is in distress or at risk of a permanent injury.

Getting help for your child may be possible through a malpractice claim. This claim can help you receive compensation for their injuries, so that you can provide the lifelong biological and psychological therapies that they will need to live as normal a life as possible. It will help you and them cope with the emotional and financial consequences of this injury.