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Hypoxia: causes and treatments

| Jul 6, 2018 | birth injuries

Residents of Texas who know that their baby was injured sometime before, during or after delivery may want to learn all they can about a condition called hypoxia. This refers to a lack of oxygen at the tissue level and results in injury to the brain. If the baby is left untreated for too long, it can lead to permanent cognitive deficiencies, cerebral palsy or hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.

There are differences between mild, moderate and severe hypoxia; babies run less of a risk for permanent disabilities if they have incurred a mild or moderate form of the condition. Various causes can be at work with neonatal hypoxia, including infection, umbilical cord injuries, placental insufficiency, which is the inability of the placenta to supply adequate oxygen to the baby, and shoulder dystocia, which happens when a baby’s shoulder gets stuck in the mother’s pubic bone during delivery.

Treatment begins with resuscitating the baby and stabilizing oxygen flow. There are various methods for treating the condition after this initial step, such as brain cooling therapy. The baby is wrapped for several days in a plastic blanket that has water circulating inside it; this slows down brain swelling and cell death. Permanent disabilities will require lifelong treatment, usually a combination of medicine with biological and psychological therapy.

Costs and emotional burdens can quickly pile up for families, but there may be a way to obtain compensation. Under malpractice law, families can file a claim if there is clear proof that birth injuries were caused by the negligence of the individual doctor or the medical center. Hypoxia identification and treatment methods have greatly advanced in the past 15 years, so any delay might reasonably be attributed to negligence. A lawyer may request a medical inquiry and negotiate for a settlement on the family’s behalf.