Brain Damage At Birth From Lack Of Oxygen


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Levin & Perconti: Leading Birth Injury Attorneys In The Nation

Studies underway to improve brain health in oxygen-deprived newborns

If you believe that your child suffered oxygen deprivation at birth due to a healthcare providers mistakes, please contact our national birth injury lawyers at 312-332-2872 or 877-374-1417 or fill out our personal injury case intake form and an attorney will get back to you shortly.

At Levin & Perconti, weve handled hundreds of cases that involved severe birth injuries. For example, our attorneys recovered a $2.3 million birth injury settlement for a newborn who suffered a serious brain injury at birth due to inadequate oxygen, resulting in cerebral palsy. In this case, the hospital staff failed to recognize that the childs mother was suffering a uterine rupture and failed to perform a caesarean in a timely manner, despite the mothers complaints of a tearing sensation in her uterus. If you or your child has been injured, we can help. Contact us today.

Birth Asphyxia And Hypoxic

Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy, often referred to as HIE, is a non-specific term used to describe improper function in the brain due to a lack of blood flow and oxygen. Hypoxia refers to a reduction in the supply of oxygen to organs including the brain. Ischemia refers to an inadequate supply of blood to the organs. Encephalopathy is a term used to describe any form of generalized brain dysfunction. In the simplest terms, HIE is a more generalized form of birth asphyxia.

Other Conditions Related To Oxygen Deprivation At Birth

Lack of oxygen at birth can cause other severe conditions. Infants suffering from oxygen deprivation frequently develop other disabilities including autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder , seizures, and behavioral problems.

Conditions like these will probably require long-term specialized care in the form of:

  • And possibly home modifications such as wheelchair ramps and safety rails in showers.

Naturally, these ongoing requirements can be very taxing on a family both emotionally and financially.

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Speak With A Providence Birth Injury Attorney

If your baby or child has suffered brain damage due to a lack of oxygen before, during, or after delivery and you suspect that it may have been caused by any type of medical negligence, the law office of Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell can help. Our team has the experience, and more importantly, the specialized knowledge required to successfully present a case involving such delicate and critical matters.

You can contact us online anytime or call to schedule an appointment for a FREE and confidential consultation. Well be happy to go over the details of your situation, give you an honest case evaluation, and discuss exactly what we can do to help you and your loved ones. We serve clients from Providence, Rhode Island and other nearby areas.

Preventing Brain Damage Due To Birth Asphyxia

Brain Injury at Birth

HIE affects as many as 12,000 newborns each year in the US. For the past decade, the standard treatment has been hypothermia of the newborn, which has been shown to help protect the brain from long-term damage. This treatment must be started within six hours of birth in order to be effective. According to researchers, cooling therapy helps about one in seven infants with HIE.

Newer research suggests that hypothermia coupled with a hormone called erythropoietin , administered in multiple high doses during the first week of an infants life, may help to protect a newborns brain from long-term damage. The human body naturally produces Epo, a hormone that stimulates the formation of red blood cells that carry oxygen. Epo plays a role in brain development prior to birth and appears to enhance brain regeneration and repair following a brain injury. Preliminary clinical trial results released in 2017 were positive, and a large clinical trial to test the neuroprotective effect of Epo is ongoing through 2022.

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Beware Of Maternal Infections

A mother with an infection requires immediate treatment because some infections may lead to a birth disorder. When you leave certain infections untreated, damage to the brain can occur. Some of the infections that can be dangerous to your child include:

Along with damage to the brain, maternal infection can also cause premature death.

Especially if your child develops cerebral palsy as a result of damage to the brain, you may need to seek financial help. Luckily, there are different government grants and assistance available. Supplemental Security Income is one form of assistance. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is another program that offers assistance. If your child has CP, it is recommended that you follow a special diet. In addition, medical bills can pile up quickly.

Brain Damage Caused By Physical Trauma

Physical injury to the head is another potential cause of brain injury to newborns. These injuries often occur as a result of medical negligence particularly the misuse of forceps and vacuum extraction devices.

In extreme cases, forceps and vacuum extractor injuries can fracture the skull and damage underlying structures in and around the brain. Potential complications affecting the brain that are associated with these injuries include:

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Treating Oxygen Deprivation Injuries

It is important that infants are treated for a lack of oxygen as soon as possible. Just 10 minutes without oxygen is enough to cause brain damage. Twenty-five minutes can be fatal. By initiating treatment immediately, doctors may be able to stop additional brain damage from occurring. The most common method of doing this is neonatal therapeutic hypothermia. This is a treatment method that cools the babys body in a controlled environment for around 72 hours. The babys body temperature is lowered to around 32-34 degrees , or 90 to 94 degrees . During neonatal therapeutic hypothermia, doctors closely monitor the babys brain activity, metabolic rates and overall vital signs. Research shows that therapeutic hypothermia is one of the best treatment options for newborns with brain injuries.

Risk Factors For Birth Asphyxia

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Birth asphyxia, or a lack of oxygen during labor and delivery, can be prevented if healthcare providers recognize risk factors and take action right away. Some of the risk factors for birth asphyxia that healthcare providers and expectant parents should be aware of include:

  • The mother is 20-25 years old at the time of pregnancy
  • The mother is pregnant with multiples
  • A history of birth asphyxia during previous pregnancies
  • The mother does not attend prenatal appointments
  • During delivery, the fetus is positioned abnormally
  • The mother has preeclampsia or eclampsia

Recognizing risk factors and adjusting prenatal or perinatal care accordingly is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of birth asphyxia. Healthcare providers must monitor women who are considered high-risk carefully to ensure they account for all risk factors and possible outcomes.

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Two Types Of Oxygen Deprivation

There are two primary types of oxygen deprivation anoxia and hypoxia. Lack of oxygen to the babys brain at birth can have long-term effects for the infant and their family. Hypoxia or anoxia can cause brain damage with long-term medical consequences. The difference between anoxia and hypoxia are:

  • Anoxia: Anoxia occurs when oxygen to the brain is completely cut off for a period of time.
  • Hypoxia: Hypoxia occurs when oxygen levels are restricted, but the baby does receive some oxygen flow.

When oxygen is restricted, the babys brain cells become damaged. This brain damage can occur quickly, and without restoring oxygen, brain cells may begin to die. In the most severe cases, oxygen deprivation can be fatal. Anoxia and hypoxia both can cause long-term medical conditions, including permanent brain damage and cerebral palsy.

Treatment Of Birth Asphyxia

Prompt treatment can minimise the effects of birth asphyxia and can completely avoid brain damage, particularly in less severe cases. Before birth, this may include giving the mother extra oxygen or quickly delivering the infant by an emergency caesarean if the baby has an abnormal heart beat pattern.

Immediately after birth, treatment for the infant may simply involve stimulating the baby to breathe in less severe cases. But as severity increases, the baby may require artificial breathing support and in very severe cases the infant may require both artificial breathing support and chest compressions as well as adrenaline administration.

Hudson Institute research is focused on providing support for vulnerable infants as soon as possible after birth to reduce the possibility of long-term damage. Finding ways to improve resuscitation is particularly critical in restoring cardiac function safely and rapidly.

Hours to days after birth, treatments may include reducing the babys internal body temperature, medication to support heart function and/or control blood pressure, intravenous nutrition, general anaesthesia to control seizures, or mechanically supporting the baby to breath.

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Can A Baby Recover From Brain Damage Due To Lack Of Oxygen

Home » Birth Injury Causes » Birth Asphyxia Lawyer » Can a Baby Recover from Brain Damage Due to Lack of Oxygen?

Although there is no way to reverse the damage, a baby can recover from brain damage due to a lack of oxygen during the birthing process. During recovery, the child will undergo treatment and therapy to help them manage symptoms and overcome as many limitations as possible.

The best way to ensure a baby has a good outcome is to prevent them from ever facing neonatal asphyxia. If the baby does experience oxygen deprivation, a study of more than 1,200 babies published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine shows that hypothermia treatment effectively limits brain injuries and death.

While this treatment helps, many children still suffer from brain injuries and complications related to birth asphyxia. Improving their symptoms and quality of life requires medication, therapies, and other treatments to address their condition.

For a free legal consultation, call

Birth Injury Treatment Statistics And Outlooks

Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) and Seizures

All birth injuries have different prescribed treatments and rates of recovery. Some will require intense, lifelong treatment.

  • Cerebral Palsy: As we mentioned above, there is no cure for Cerebral Palsy . Lifelong treatments can help a child manage the condition and prevent deformities.
  • Erb’s Palsy: Erb’s palsy has a substantial rate of complete recovery. Anywhere from 80% to 96% of children born with this nerve condition will recover.
  • Brain Damage: Newborns suffering from brain injuries likely experienced oxygen deprivation at birth. In cases of moderate or severe brain damage, treatment will last months or years. These babies may face lifelong complications.

Every birth situation is unique, as is every child. And we still have a lot to learn about birth injuries and oxygen deprivation.

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Treatments For Brain Damage From Lack Of Oxygen At Birth

Research shows that therapeutic hypothermia is a possible treatment for babies who suffer brain damage from birth asphyxia. The treatment, also referred to as therapeutic cooling, involves cooling the babys body temperature to about 91 degrees F for up to 72 hours. This is shown to protect the babys brain from damage during the second stage of asphyxia by restoring normal blood flow and oxygen. For this treatment to be successful, medical professionals must begin treatment within 6 hours after birth.

Signs And Symptoms Of Brain Injury In Babies

The signs and symptoms of brain injury vary and depend on the severity of the injury. Generally speaking, the more serious the injury, the more obvious the symptoms.

Doctors use a grading scale to classify the severity of brain injuries at birth. There are 3 grades: mild , moderate and severe . More severe injury normally means the initial symptoms and long-term effects will be more serious.

A mild injury ) may not be obvious immediately after a babys birth. Parents of babies with mild brain injuries may notice their baby is irritable and has problems sleeping or feeding. Other signs include hyper-alertness or if the babys eyes are wide open. Normally, the symptoms of a Grade 1 injury last for the first 24 hours after babys birth. If your babys birth was particularly difficult, or you suffered complications during delivery, your caregivers may ask you to look out for these symptoms.

Severe brain injuries can cause serious symptoms immediately after birth. These may be immediately noticeable. For example, babies who are born very poorly may be pale and floppy when theyre born.

Symptoms of a moderate injury include:

  • reduced muscle tone
  • clinical seizures

In very sad cases, a hypoxic brain injury can even lead to a babys death.

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Signs Of Brain Damage From Lack Of Oxygen

The brain requires a continual flow of oxygen in order to function properly. When the body suffers a lack of oxygen, brain injury can begin to occur. The length of time that the body goes without oxygen and how quickly treatment was provided in part determine the outcome. Reduced oxygen to the brain is also known as cerebral hypoxia or birth asphyxia. The longer the body goes without oxygen, the more severe the injury is likely to be.

Speak With A Rhode Island Birth Injury Attorney

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If your baby or child has suffered brain damage due to a lack of oxygen before, during, or after birth and you suspect that it may have been caused by any type of medical negligence, the law office of Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell can help. Our team has the experience, and more importantly, the specialized knowledge required to successfully present a case involving such delicate and critical matters.

You can contact us online anytime or call 204-1438 to schedule an appointment for a free and confidential consultation. Well be happy to go over the details of your situation, give you an honest case evaluation, and discuss exactly what we can do to help you and your loved ones.

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Scientists Must Find Out Whether They Can Achieve A Similar Effect In Humans

According to Rinholm, their data suggest that HCAR1 is an important factor in the repair of brain tissue following hypoxic-ischemic injury in newborn mice.

The treatment currently used in humans is to cool the babies down.

Nevertheless, many of these babies continue to suffer from long-term brain damage. So new drugs are needed that can protect the brain and help to generate new brain cells, says Rinholm.

She emphasises that further studies are necessary in order to find out whether HCAR1 has a similar, beneficial effect in humans.

Therapies Can Help Your Child Adapt To Their Challenges

Many therapies can help a baby recover from brain damage due to a lack of oxygen. While treatment cannot repair the damage to your babys brain, prescribed therapies can help children recover abilities and learn new skills, albeit in an adapted way in some cases. Some therapies available to children with brain damage include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Speech and language therapy
  • Early intervention

Many everyday tasks necessary for an independent life, education, self-care, and more can be affected by brain damage from birth asphyxia. With the right combination of therapies, as well as other treatments, many children may be able to learn how to overcome challenges to:

  • Bathing and toileting
  • Speech or alternative communication methods

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Brain Damage Due To Oxygen Deprivation In Cook County

One of the most common causes of brain-related birth injuries is delayed delivery of the baby. A baby that stays in the birth canal too long can suffer permanent brain damage due to lack of blood flow and oxygen. Oxygen deprivation can also result from umbilical cord problems or other complications during birth. The technical term for oxygen deprivation at or near the time of birth is birth asphyxia.

As a result of oxygen deprivation during birth, two to three out of every 1,000 babies born in the US are diagnosed with a condition known as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy . Breaking down this term: hypoxic = lack of oxygen, ischemic = restricting blood flow, and encephalopathy = affecting the brain. Children with HIE can have cognitive impairments as well as deficits in motor skills.

Caring For Women In Labour

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There are protocols and guidelines that caregivers should follow when caring for women in labour. These are in place to protect the health of the mother and baby and ensure that any problems are detected at an early stage. They cover, for example:

  • what an initial assessment of the woman should include
  • the frequency maternal observations
  • how the babys heart rate should be monitored and how to interpret the results
  • how frequently vaginal examinations should be performed
  • the use of pain relief
  • what should be done if things are not progressing as they might
  • interventions that may be taken to help deliver the baby

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Learn More About Birth Injury And Oxygen Deprivation

Birth injuries involving oxygen deprivation are devastating. If your child suffered a birth injury due to oxygen deprivation, contact us.

The experienced Birth Injury Lawyers at D’Amore Personal Injury Law have successfully recovered life changing compensation for children with Cerebral Palsy. We will help you understand your options if your newborn was injured due to oxygen deprivation. You’ll be facing a lifetime of medical care and services, and our birth injury attorneys can help your child win.

Beyond the courts, we will connect you with the services and programs your child needs. Reach out to our team for a no-cost, no-pressure consultation. We won’t charge you a cent unless we win. Learn more with our free resource for families: A Birth Injury Guide.

Treatment For Birth Asphyxia

If a doctor suspects that a baby has experienced a lack of oxygen during labour and delivery and is at risk of neonatal asphyxia, then an emergency c-section is typically necessary to prevent or minimize brain damage and possibly save the babys life. Once a baby has been diagnosed with HIE, the next step is to administer therapeutic hypothermia or whole-body cooling. Generally, hypothermic therapy must be administered within 6 hours of neonatal asphyxia.

The process involves using a cooling cap or blanket to lower a newborns body temperature to 33.5 degrees Celsius. This lower body temperature is maintained for a period of 72 hours. Therapeutic cooling slows the babys metabolic rate, which gives cells the chance to recover, preventing further brain damage.

A failure to administer cooling therapy in a timely fashion may be another form of medical negligence. Therapeutic hypothermia is considered the best treatment for HIE and is shown to reduce the likelihood of adverse outcomes.

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