Birth Injuries

How Hypoxia Happens

April 20, 2016 by Carrie Capouellez
perinatal hypoxia

Hypoxia occurs when the body or a certain portion of the body is deprived of oxygen. Because oxygen is vital for organs like your brain and your liver to function, permanent damage can occur after only several minutes of oxygen deprivation. With the potential to do such catastrophic harm, hypoxia during childbirth can be life-threatening for both the mother and the child.

Perinatal Hypoxia

Perinatal hypoxia is the deprivation of oxygen immediately before and/or after birth. There are a variety of reasons a newborn might suffer from hypoxia, but some of the most common causes include:

  • Problems with the umbilical cord
  • Prolonged or traumatic birth
  • Maternal anemia
  • Infection
  • Placental abruption
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Congenital heart disease

Hypoxia most commonly causes brain damage, with brain cells dying off due to lack of oxygen. There is a crucial window of time where the effects of hypoxia can be reduced if treated properly. Generally, the full effect of hypoxia occurs around 48 hours after birth. Treatments like neonatal therapeutic hypothermia can be utilized to reduce brain damage during this initial 48-hour timeframe. However, once brain cells have died from lack of oxygen, there is no treatment available.

Hypoxia Can Cause Life Long Conditions

Hypoxia can cause a variety of conditions including cerebral palsy, physical disabilities, blindness, and paralysis, among others. However, with proper medical care, a physician can and should diagnose birth-related hypoxia early, preventing or minimizing the damage to the baby.

Philadelphia Hypoxia Attorneys

We rely on physicians to keep us healthy and our children safe, so when their negligence causes birth-related hypoxia to go undiagnosed, leading to permanent damage, the effects are emotionally and physically devastating. Because the lifelong effects of hypoxia injuries come with an extreme financial burden, it’s important to seek the aid of experienced medical malpractice attorneys that can help you fight for the compensation you deserve for your child. The Philadelphia hypoxia attorneys at Lopez McHugh LLP help hypoxia injury victims and their families get justice. Call us today to discuss your case.

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