Birth Asphyxia

Birth asphyxia is a medical condition that is caused by a lack of oxygen to a newborn infant that lasts sufficiently long during birth to bring about physical harm, generally to the brain.

Hypoxic injury, or damage caused by deprivation of oxygen, can take place in the majority of an infant’s organs, including the heart, lungs, gut, liver, and kidneys. However, brain damage is of the utmost concern, and perhaps has the lowest probability of rapid and full recovery. In more distinct instances an infant will live, but will be marked by brain damage that is evident as either mental, such as intellectual impairment or developmental problems, or physical, such as spasticity, which is a characteristic of modified skeletal muscle action, as well as with paralysis and a rise in tendon reflex activity.

The most frequent cause of birth asphyxia is a decrease in the blood pressure of the mother, or another significant impediment to the blood flow to an infant’s brain at the time of birth. This can take place because of poor circulation, weakened respiratory exertion or insufficient ventilation. Birth asphyxia occurs in two to 10 out of 1,000 newborns delivered at term, and more often for those who are delivered prematurely.

Generally, an infant who is afflicted with serious birth asphyxia has deficient color, or cyanosis, muscle tone and responsiveness, as indicated by a low five-minute Apgar score, which is a technique used to provide a summary of a newborn’s health. Acute cases of asphyxia can lead to cardiac arrest and death.

If your child suffered birth asphyxia due to the negligence of a doctor or other health care provider, call the attorneys at Chalik & Chalik. You may be able to obtain damages arising from a settlement or jury verdict.