Birth injuries make for tragic and emotionally turbulent experiences, especially if those injuries could have been prevented. In some cases, including those involving birth asphyxia, the failures of attending physicians, nurses, and medical professionals can lead to irreparable harm and life-altering repercussions for victims and families.
In these situations the support of caring and compassionate attorneys is crucial, as is the experience and insight they can provide when pursuing a birth injury lawsuit. At Cullan & Cullan, our birth injury team is comprised of nationally recognized trial attorneys who are also medical doctors. In such complex cases, this level of legal and medical experience is invaluable to families who depend on their attorneys to fight for justice and full compensation.
Discuss a potential birth injury case and your rights during a FREE and confidential consultation. Cullan & Cullan serves families throughout Phoenix, Arizona, and nationwide. Contact us today.
What is Birth Asphyxia?
Birth asphyxia – also referred to as perinatal asphyxia or neonatal asphyxia – occurs when infants suffer physical harm due to oxygen deprivation during labor, delivery, or shortly after birth. While a lack of oxygen and blood flow during or after birth can damage most of an infant’s organs (i.e. heart, kidneys, lungs, and liver), it is most concerning in terms of its significant potential for causing irreversible brain damage.
Birth Asphyxia & Birth Injuries
Due to increased risks of serious, long-term harm, birth asphyxia requires the immediate attention of medical professionals with an appropriate response. This is because the extent of harm suffered by infants depends largely on these factors:
- How long a baby was deprived of oxygen;
- The severity of oxygen deprivation;
- How quickly adequate treatment is provided.
In the early stages of birth asphyxia, babies can suffer from hypoxia, a condition characterized by insufficient oxygen levels in the blood and tissues. Such a state can eventually cause acidosis (or acidic blood) that can lead to decreased function of the heart, low blood pressure, decreased blood flow to the brain (ischemia), and permanent brain damage.
Common birth injuries associated with perinatal asphyxia include:
- Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
- Seizures/fetal stroke
- Cerebral palsy
- Developmental and learning disabilities
- Motor disorders
- Feeding, hearing, and visual impairment
In cases where asphyxia is severe, prolonged, and/or improperly treated by medical professionals, the risks of life-altering injuries and impairment increase dramatically. This can include life-long physical, mental, and emotional disabilities, as well as increasing needs for medical treatment or full-time attendant care over the course of a child’s life, all of which can be emotionally and financially taxing on families.
Is Medical Negligence to Blame?
Determining whether medical negligence is the underlying cause of a birth injury is one of the most essential first steps in any birth injury case. Through meticulous investigations driven by our medical and legal knowledge, our doctor-lawyers carefully evaluate the circumstances surrounding the birth and the treatment provided by attending medical professionals to determine if they failed to meet their duty of care and provide treatment with the immediacy and skill required by professional standards.
Investigations involving birth asphyxia and birth injuries may focus on a various forms of negligence and potential causes, including:
- Failure to accurately identify and address known complications or risk factors, including placental or uterine rupture, umbilical cord complications, preeclampsia, shoulder dystocia, and more.
- Failure to perform a C-section, or delayed C-sections, when warranted by given circumstances or prolonged or difficult birth.
- Failure to monitor fetal vitals during labor and delivery to identify signs of fetal distress and respond appropriately.
- Failure to properly treat birth asphyxia and related injuries, including failure to perform hypothermia therapy (brain cooling), which must be administered within several hours following asphyxia to protect brain cells and prevent more serious or lasting injuries.
- Improper use of labor-inducing drugs such as Pitocin, or improper use of forceps and vacuum extractors, particularly in difficult or prolonged deliveries.
Let Proven Doctor-Lawyers Protect Your Rights
Our doctor-lawyers and entire legal team are passionate about protecting the rights of victims and families throughout Phoenix, Arizona, and states across the country. With thousands of case investigations handled, and ample medical experience and insight, our firm is equipped with the necessary tools to guide families through difficult legal and personal situations, and fight for the financial compensation they need. Let our family help yours.
Discuss a potential birth injury lawsuit personally with a member of the Cullan & Cullan team. Contact us for a FREE and confidential case review.