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Birth Injuries: what is Pennsylvania birth asphyxia?

Expectant parents in Pittsburgh are anxious and excited about the upcoming birth of their child. A new family member is one of the most momentous occasions in a family’s life. Most births go as planned, but occasionally, an unexpected birth injury occurs. These can be scary and traumatic for families as full trust is often put into medical providers.

One birth injury that can occur is called birth asphyxia. Birth asphyxia happens when the baby does not receive adequate oxygen before, during or right after birth. The brain and other organs do not receive enough oxygen, which can result in a serious injury that may cause permanent damage.

There are many causes of birth asphyxia. These include having the placenta separating from the uterus too early, a lack of oxygen in the mother’s blood, umbilical cord complications, long labor, infection in the mother or baby, high or low blood pressure in the mother and other conditions.

Birth asphyxia is diagnosed by checking the baby’s acid levels or if the baby has an Apgar score of 0 to 3 for longer than 3 minutes. There may be evidence of brain issues, including the baby having a seizure or being in a coma. Moreover, there can be problems with the baby’s respiratory, circulatory or digestive organs.

If a medical provider fails to recognize the signs of birth asphyxia, the baby can suffer severe injuries. A family who believes their baby suffered because of a medical provider failing to recognize the fetal distress may want to speak with a legal provider skilled in medical malpractice. An attorney can review the medical records and investigate what happened to cause the injury. Compensation may be available for medical expenses, pain and suffering, future medical expenses and other damages.

Source: HopkinsChildrens.org, “Perinatal asphyxia,” accessed on July 27, 2015