Reduced Oxygen Malpractice

Baby with perinatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) on oxygen maskA study from the US National Library of Medicine identifies perinatal asphyxia, more appropriately known as perinatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), as an essential cause of brain injury in newborns. To simplify this, birth asphyxia or the reduction of oxygen before, during or right after birth has damaging effects on the baby.

This happens when there is a decrease in the supply of oxygen, or worse if it’s cut-off emtirely. In this situation, the body then diverts the oxygen from the brain to the heart and lungs. The same study points out that should this happen, there are long-term implications for the newborn’s health resulting from this birth injury.

Perinatal HIE occurs in one to three per 1000 live and full-term births. The same study further notes the following statistics:

  • 15 percent to 20 percent of newborns who experience oxygen reduction will die during the postnatal period
  • 25 percent of newborns will develop severe and permanent neuropsychological damage

Causes of Reduced Oxygen at Birth

Most of the time, the extent of oxygen deprivation will affect the gravity of the child’s injury. It’s important to note that even short-term reduction of oxygen to a newborn will have dire consequences. Take note that permanent brain damage can be a result of oxygen reduction for just a matter of minutes.

There are various causes of oxygen deprivation. In fact, the causes for reduced oxygen at birth may also be in combination with an unfortunate event. Below is a list of the most common causes for reduced oxygen in childbirth:

  • Placental problems such as premature separation of the placenta from the uterus
  • Trauma to the infant while still inside the utero
  • Prolapsed umbilical cord
  • Preeclampsia and eclampsia
  • Too much medication of the mother
  • A complication called shoulder dystocia. This occurs when the baby’s shoulder becomes wedged in the mother’s pubic bone.

Yes, some of these causes may be out of the control of the attending physician, the midwives or the labor and delivery staff. But, you have to remember that they are trained to manage these kinds of situations and accurately identify if there is a problem with the delivery. Failure to diagnose the problem and quickly act on it may result in damaging effects to both the mother and the baby.

Effects of Reduced Oxygen in Newborns

When a newborn experiences oxygen reduction, it may have long-term effects that can affect the entire family. Infants who suffered a reduction in oxygen often develop disabilities which include cerebral palsy, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), seizures and even behavioral problems. These types of conditions will, more often than not, require long-term specialized care which can include the following:

  • Medication
  • Therapies, e.g. occupational, physical or behavioral
  • Specialized educational methods
  • Home modification(s)

These requirements can take a toll on a family’s financial and emotional status. For individuals with cerebral palsy and/or other intellectual disabilities, the lifetime cost is estimated to be close to $1 million. On the one hand, conditions such as autism and epilepsy may also require a significant amount of financial resource to maintain a functioning quality of life for the diagnosed individual.

The consequences of oxygen reduction are unlike most illnesses. This is because while other illnesses only last for a certain amount of time, those who suffered from oxygen reduction at birth will live with their illnesses for a lifetime.

If you believe that your child is suffering from a damaging and lifetime illness due to medical malpractice related to oxygen reduction, then it’s best to get in touch with an expert legal advisor to know about your rights.

Looking for Perinatal Encephalopathy Malpractice Lawyers in Michigan?

Reduced oxygen in childbirth is an unfortunate event that no mother or child should ever experience. However, if you or someone you know has a child suffering from Perinatal Encephalopathy due to medical malpractice, then it’s best to look for a lawyer who can properly fight for you.

Here at The Clark Law Office, we take pride in representing our clients with compassion and determination to win their case. We have over 30 years of experience plus we have won millions of dollars for our client’s damages. You may call us at (517)-347-6900 or email us at for an initial consultation. Don’t worry, the initial consultation is free, and you don’t have to pay any fees until we win your case.

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