Hypoxia and the threat of long-term disability in children

| Jun 25, 2020 | Firm News

The birth of a child is a celebrated event for many new Seattle parents. However, even the healthiest mothers-to-be can have complicated birth processes when unexpected difficulties come up. During labor and delivery, doctors and medical staff must be prepared to respond to significant medical threats that can put the lives of a mother and her unborn child at risk.

One such risk that can threaten the life and future of a child is hypoxia. Hypoxia occurs when oxygen flow to a baby’s brain is impeded during development, birth, and after. There are many ways that hypoxia can develop and a number of interventions that doctors can undertake to alleviate the risks associated with the condition.

For example, one way that hypoxia may afflict a baby during the pre-birth and labor and delivery processes is through damage to or insufficiency of the placenta. The placenta is an organ that grows to support a fetus in utero and it provides it with nutrition and oxygen. In some cases the placenta may not adequately grow to allow for normal development and may inhibit oxygen intake. Similarly, the detachment of the placenta or damage to it before or during birth curtail access of oxygen to the developing child. Medical evaluations can provide doctors with information on these and other conditions to prevent damage from a lack of oxygen.

A child who is born suffering from the complications of hypoxia may experience a range of medical outcomes. While some children are able to completely recover, others may suffer from lifelong disabilities. Cerebral palsy and permanent brain injuries are possible consequences of hypoxia.

Though not all cases of hypoxia are the result of medical malpractice, many children suffer serious and sometimes fatal injuries due to the negligent practices of their doctors and other providers. Prevention is possible for some hypoxia cases, and when medical professionals fail to meet their duties of care to the patients, tragic outcomes can result. This post is only offered as information and does not contain any legal or medical advice.