| Read Time: 2 minutes | Medical Malpractice
Understanding Brain Hypoxia Birth Injuries

Hypoxia in the brain occurs when a baby does not receive adequate oxygen or blood flow to the brain during childbirth or pregnancy.

Restricting oxygen and blood supply to the baby’s brain causes the brain cells to decay and die.

Hypoxia in the brain is also referred to as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). HIE can cause severe issues if not addressed immediately.

If a medical professional fails to act right away to avoid permanent disability or injury due to HIE, they may be liable for medical malpractice. Contact Poulos & Coates today to discuss your potential claim.

Symptoms of Brain Hypoxia

Babies with hypoxia brain damage may present symptoms such as:

  • A lack of movement,
  • Poor muscle tone,
  • Weak crying,
  • Difficulty breathing,
  • Bluish or pale skin, or
  • Neonatal seizures.

An early indicator of hypoxia in newborns is an irregular or erratic heartbeat. Labor and delivery physicians should closely monitor a baby’s heart rate, so they can react quickly if the newborn lacks sufficient oxygen.

Brain Hypoxia Treatment for Newborns

The primary treatment for HIE is therapeutic hypothermia, also known as body and head cooling. Therapeutic hypothermia brings the baby’s body temperature down below normal to slow cellular decay and brain damage.

Therapeutic hypothermia cannot reverse HIE, but it can minimize the damage by slowing down the pace of the deterioration. Therapeutic hypothermia treatment typically must be given within six hours of birth and lasts about 72 hours.

In severe cases, brain damage from HIE is irreversible and inflicts life-long disabilities on the patient.

Do I Qualify for a Medical Malpractice Claim If My Baby Suffered Hypoxia in the Brain?

Signs of newborn brain hypoxia may present throughout the pregnancy or when labor and delivery start. Doctors and other medical personnel are trained to watch for these symptoms and make necessary decisions to preserve the baby’s life.

If they miss these signs and their failure causes your baby’s injuries, they may be liable for medical malpractice. A medical malpractice claim requires proof of three elements:

  • The plaintiff and defendant had a doctor-patient relationship that imposed a duty of care on the defendant;
  • The healthcare provider deviated from the generally accepted standard of care; and
  • The patient suffered injuries due to their deviation. 

In the case of brain hypoxia, you must prove the doctor’s breach of the generally accepted standard of care resulted in your child’s brain damage. 

Need Help Understanding Brain Hypoxia Injuries? Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer at Poulos & Coates 

With years of experience in the medical malpractice industry, our team of medical malpractice attorneys at Poulos & Coates knows what it takes to hold negligent healthcare professionals accountable for their harm.

Our staff employs a medical doctor and a nurse who will help evaluate the details of your case, offer their professional opinions, and prepare your case for trial.

We are compassionate advocates who put your needs at the forefront of our minds while we pursue a favorable outcome in your case.

Contact our office today to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced attorneys.

Author Photo

Greig Coates, M.D., J.D.

Over the last thirty years, Dr. Coates has successfully represented plaintiffs in every conceivable type of medical malpractice lawsuit–from single-physician cases to complex litigation involving over a dozen doctors and several hospitals. Dr. Coates has taken several thousand physician depositions in his career involving every known physician specialty and sub-specialty, and almost as many depositions involving hospital personnel such as nurses, techs, and administrators. He has tried several dozen cases to successful verdicts.

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