The body requires oxygen to function properly, especially the brain. When the brain is deprived of oxygen for an extended period, the results can include permanent brain injury or even death in the most severe cases. These types of pediatric brain injuries come in two categories—hypoxic and anoxic—and are unfortunately a common cause of birth injury during labor and delivery.
If your baby sustained a hypoxic or anoxic brain injury during labor and delivery, our Indianapolis medical malpractice lawyers may be able to help you recover compensation from the negligent doctor or hospital. We have been helping victims of all types of brain injuries obtain justice for nearly 50 years. Our attorneys have published and lectured extensively on traumatic brain injury (TBI) litigation, and our firm is active with the Brain Injury Association of America and the Brain Injury Association of Indiana.
Hypoxic and Anoxic Injuries
Hypoxia and anoxia are technical medical terms used to describe the effects of lack of adequate oxygen to the body.
- Hypoxia: a lack of adequate oxygen to the body in general or to specific parts of the body
- Anoxia: complete deprivation of oxygen to the body or to a specific part of the body
In other words, hypoxic injuries occur when there is inadequate oxygen, while anoxic injuries occur when there is total oxygen deprivation. Both of these injuries can occur during child birth as a result of medical malpractice.
Brain Damage Caused by Lack of Oxygen ∙ Fetal Heart Monitoring (FHM)
During labor, the mother’s contractions squeeze the umbilical cord, causing the baby’s heart rate to go down because of lack of oxygen. After each contraction, the heart rate should rise back up to a normal level. This heart rate fluctuation is a natural part of the birthing process. Fetal heart monitoring (FHM) is the system that health care providers use to monitor the child’s heart rate during labor and delivery. There is a simple pattern when the child is losing too much oxygen during the mother’s contractions and the heart rate is not rising to a normal level.
The most important job of the nurses in the delivery room is to read and interpret the signals coming from the fetal heart monitoring system. In some cases, however, the nurses do not have the training or ability to understand the system’s signals, or they are negligently inattentive to the FHM during labor and delivery.
If the child’s heart rate is not rising fast enough and proper steps are not taken in a timely fashion, the child could suffer hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), or brain damage as a result of lack of oxygen or blood flow. In many cases, this lack of oxygen at birth will prevent the child and parents from ever being able to live normal lives, and in the most tragic of cases, the child may die.
You can also view our TBI Resource Guide for advice on dealing with the pain of living with a brain injury.
Contact Us Now for a Free Consultation; No Attorney Fees Unless We Win Your Case
At Doehrman Buba, our Indianapolis brain injury lawyers have represented many hypoxia and anoxia victims and their families, and we are here to help you. If your child suffers hypoxia or anoxia due to your doctor’s negligence, call us now for a free consultation. The medical malpractice statute of limitations is short and it is important to move quickly.