What Are Hypoxia and Asphyxia Birth Injuries?

Having children and raising a family is a common dream throughout the country. In some cases, pregnancy is an unexpected blessing. In others, it is carefully planned down to the last detail. Whatever the circumstances, many people are drawn to Oregon precisely due to its great reputation as a state that values and nurtures children and family life.

Certainly, when planning a family, most people presume that the process will proceed normally and that the parents will ultimately welcome a happy, healthy baby into the world. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Sometimes, nature intervenes in ways that we simply may not understand. In other instances, medical negligence causes harm. Both situations are devastating. In this article, we will discuss hypoxia and asphyxia birth injuries.

Understanding Hypoxia and Asphyxia Birth Injuries

Birth asphyxia and hypoxia refer to conditions experienced when inadequate oxygen reaches a baby’s brain or other organs during birth, or just before or just after birth. This lack of oxygen can cause serious problems. 

Another related term often heard when discussing these conditions is “hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE).” HIE can result when inadequate blood flows to the baby’s brain. One research article published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) reports that 40-60 percent of infants with HIE either die or develop severe disability by the time they reach two years of age. 

What Causes Hypoxia and Asphyxia Birth Injuries?

A number of issues can lead to hypoxia and asphyxia birth injuries. Some include:

  • Placental abruption (separation of the placenta from the uterus)
  • Issues caused by anesthesia
  • Mother’s heart problems
  • Mother’s respiratory problems
  • Mother’s low blood pressure
  • Umbilical cord compression

While some of these problems can occur without fault, they can also be the result of medical malpractice. For example, a pregnant mother may not have received proper care during her pregnancy or at the time of birth of the child. In other instances, a doctor may miss important signs of distress, or recognize the signs but take the wrong responsive action. Another example is the failure to give the appropriate hypothermia treatment to a baby. Many other types of medical malpractice can result in birth injuries.

Considering a Medical Malpractice Action

Determining whether a medical care professional has committed malpractice can be a complicated issue. Doctors are required to meet the appropriate standard of care when providing medical services. If the doctor fails to meet the standard of care and causes harm, the injured victim is entitled to recover damages and be made whole.

However, proving that a doctor failed to meet the applicable standard of care requires careful investigation of the circumstances, the medical records, and the testimony of other medical care providers. This process can be expensive and time consuming. Therefore, it is important to confer with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to help you navigate this process. At Nelson MacNeil Rayfield, we handle medical negligence claims all over Oregon and would be happy to assist you.

Call with Questions

If your child has suffered a birth injury, we understand that you may be distressed and unsure of your rights. Please give us a call so that we can answer your questions in a free consultation. The experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield are familiar with birth injuries and other forms of medical malpractice. We know how to investigate claims and get to the bottom of things. We know the legal system and stand by our clients every step of the way.

Our firm is driven by the belief that the only way to keep society safer for all of us is by holding negligent professionals accountable for the harm that they cause.


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