Birth injury profile: Perinatal asphyxia

Last week, we discussed how important it is to find representation as quickly as possible when your child is injured at birth. The statute of limitations in Kentucky limits the time you have to take action after the birth injury. Last week's post might have you wondering what types of birth injuries might occur.

There are several different types of birth injuries that can occur. Many of these birth injuries are associated with difficult labors and deliveries. When a woman is going through a difficult labor and birth, doctors can use technology available to determine how the baby is responding to the difficulty. One birth injury that Kentucky doctors might be able to prevent through careful monitoring is perinatal asphyxia.

Some babies suffer from perinatal asphyxia, which is a lack of blood flow to the tissues. Lack of oxygen in the blood is also a sign of perinatal asphyxia. In the case of perinatal asphyxia, determining the cause is vital in birth injury cases. This condition can be caused by a decrease in placental function. It can also be caused by genetic abnormalities, drug exposure before birth, sudden loss of blood, umbilical cord clots or pressure or an infection in the baby.

A baby who suffers from perinatal asphyxia can have lasting medical issues. Permanent signs of neurological damage, such as delays in learning or development, can occur. The baby might also suffer from diminished organ function, including reduced kidney function or seizures from abnormal brain function.

The parents of a baby born with perinatal asphyxia will not only have to deal with the knowledge of what happened to their baby, they might also have to deal with the emotional trauma of seeing their baby at birth. The baby might have seemed weak, lifeless, and pale. Some infants might need considerable support after the birth.

If negligence was a factor in a baby's precarious health condition following birth, parents may elect to pursue legal options.

Source: The Merck Manual Home Edition, "Birth Injury" Oct. 02, 2014

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