Many things are out of your control during pregnancy, labor and childbirth. If you have given birth in a Texas hospital, you no doubt understand that women entrust their own health and the health of their infants to a medical team during labor and delivery. They should be able to trust that their healthcare providers have their best interests at heart and are following the safety rules to ensure the safety of mother and baby.
When complications do arise during labor and delivery, healthcare providers must be trained to respond in a timely manner and get the right people involved. Perhaps your labor is not progressing at a rate that your obstetrician (OB) thinks is safe for you or your baby. Maybe your child experiences fetal distress, prompting your OB to order an emergency C-section. These and other urgent issues call for swift thinking and action on the part of your OB. Critically, nursing staff must be monitoring the wellness of the baby and report any significant or concerning changes to the OB. Tragically, severe birth injuries, such as an anoxic brain injury, may occur if nursing staff fails to recognize signs that your baby is stressed and notify your doctor. It is also important that your doctor is responsive to nursing staff’s concerns and takes appropriate action after a problem is identified.
Anoxia means that a baby’s brain has been deprived of oxygen
You may have heard the term “hypoxia” in relation to childbirth, which means oxygen deprivation to the brain. If your baby has suffered an anoxic brain injury, it means that his or her brain was 100% deprived of oxygen at some point, usually as a result of hypoxia. When the brain is harmed by a lack of oxygen, it’s called a hypoxic-anoxic injury.
Several issues can be a root cause of anoxia, including an umbilical cord wrapped around an infant’s neck, or fetal distress that goes unrecognized. If you go into labor prematurely, your baby’s lungs might be undeveloped. This issue, compounded with other birthing complications, might cause severe oxygen deprivation to an infant’s brain.
Fortunately, with proper use of modern medicine, the majority of hypoxic-anoxic injury are preventable. If your child has suffered a hypoxic-anoxic injury, you deserve to know if your child’s disability is due to negligent healthcare and you have the right to investigate its cause and know the options you have.
What are the after-effects of an anoxic brain injury?
If a child survives hypoxia or anoxia during labor and delivery, he or she might develop cerebral palsy (group of disorders that affect movement, muscle tone, balance, and posture). Cerebral means having to do with the brain. Palsy means weakness or problems with using the muscles. Depending on which areas of the brain are affected, one or more of the following movement disorders can occur: Stiff muscles (spasticity); Uncontrollable movements (dyskinesia); or Poor balance and coordination (ataxia) This is a lifelong condition but occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and physical therapies, along with early intervention and a team of medical professionals to work with the child, give the best chance for the highest quality of life possible. Unfortunately, an appropriate treatment program is incredibly expensive and time-consuming. If you think your child is not meeting movement milestones or might have CP, it is important to get in the hands of specialists who can do a more in-depth evaluation of your child and assist in making a diagnosis.
A child who suffers an anoxic brain injury during childbirth might need daily assistance for the rest of his or her life. If you believe that your child’s injury was preventable and caused by medical negligence, it might intensify your sorrow and perhaps spark feelings of anger or frustration. Parents have recourse through state law to act on behalf of a brain-injured child to seek legal accountability against a hospital, OB, midwife, nurse or other medical team member whose negligence was a direct cause of injury.