Valenzuela Law Firm, PA | Trial Attorney
Attorney Henry E. Valenzuela

Lack of oxygen at birth may cause infant brain damage

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

About 1.7 million people in the U.S. develop brain damage every year and a large number of these are infants.

Lack of oxygen at birth may contribute to infant brain damage, but how does this happen?

Newborn lack of oxygen

If an infant suffers a lack of oxygen at birth, brain damage may follow. Common causes of inadequate oxygen include:

  • A knotted or twisted umbilical cord. If the cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck, the medical team must unwrap it quickly or oxygen deprivation will occur. The physician might also cut the cord too soon before the baby is breathing on its own.
  • During a difficult labor, the infant may become stuck in the birth canal. Medical intervention must occur quickly, or the baby may lose oxygen.
  • Mucous can lodge in the infant’s lungs, which will constrict the airways and require swift medical intervention in order to prevent long-term medical issues including brain damage.

Long-term effects

There are two kinds: anoxia and hypoxia. The latter occurs due to an insufficiency of oxygen, which results in mild to moderate brain damage. The former results from a total lack of oxygen and the resulting brain damage is normally severe. Both anoxia and hypoxia can lead to a variety of medical issues including cerebral palsy.

Financial outlook

The injuries a child suffers from lack of oxygen at birth may require a lifetime of care. That would also mean a lifetime of ever-increasing financial responsibility. If malpractice played a part in the birth injury, the family has a right to pursue compensation in order to provide the child with the best care available.