Birth asphyxia is a term that describes what happens when a baby’s brain and other organs do not get enough oxygen before, during, or immediately after birth.
Cells can’t work properly without oxygen. If oxygen is withheld for more than a brief period of time, brain cells start to die. This type of brain injury is known as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and the damage can lead to cerebral palsy, epilepsy, motor impairment, cognitive impairments, developmental delays, neurodevelopmental delays, and death.
Birth asphyxia can occur for a variety of reasons, including:
- The baby has a premature or improperly formed airway
- The baby’s airway is blocked
- A long or difficult delivery
- The placenta separates from the uterus too early
- Uterine abruption or rupture
- The umbilical cord collapses during delivery
- The umbilical cord wraps around the infant’s neck
- An infection or illness in the mother or baby
- Not enough oxygen in the mother’s blood before or during birth
- High or low blood pressure in the mother
- The baby has anemia and can’t carry oxygen in the cells
About 10 percent of cerebral palsy birth injuries are the direct result of asphyxia. While 10 percent seems a small amount, cerebral palsy due hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy affects about 1,000 infants each year. These families must live with the challenge of raising a disabled child.
Children with cerebral palsy require intensive medical care, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. They often need special educational services and speech therapy. Homes may need to be modified to accommodate the children’s needs. Some children need scooters or wheelchairs. These services are not cheap. The cost of medical and supportive care for a child with cerebral palsy can exceed a million dollars over a life time.
When cerebral palsy is caused by a birth injury, parents have the option of holding the doctor or hospital liable for medical negligence through a Texas cerebral palsy lawsuit. To learn more, request a free copy of our report, Cerebral Palsy and Medical Negligence, or contact the Dallas birth injury lawyers at Rasansky Law Firm at 1-877-405-4313.