Phoenix Birth Injury Lawyers Handling Oxygen Deprivation Claims
Assisting Arizona families whose children suffered brain damage from medical negligence
One of the most serious medical complications during pregnancy and childbirth is oxygen deprivation. It often leads to catastrophic injuries that will have life-long repercussions on the child and the family. If an act of medical negligence caused your baby to be deprived of oxygen during gestation or labor, the Phoenix birth injury lawyers of Plattner Verderame, P.C. will fight for you. Contact us today for honest, practical guidance about your next steps, and for assistance finding the resources and tools you need to secure your child’s future.
Umbilical cord injuries and oxygen deprivation
When a fetus is in utero, its only source of oxygen comes from the umbilical cord, which passes nutrients and oxygen through the blood. If there is a problem with the umbilical cord, the child could be at risk.
- Umbilical cord prolapse. Prolapse occurs when the umbilical cord drops into the cervix before the baby does, and becomes trapped alongside the baby. This puts stress on the cord, which in turn puts stress on the child. If it is not diagnosed and treated quickly, the child will be deprived of oxygen, and may dies as a result.
- Cord length. The average umbilical cord is between 22” and 24”. Short cords are linked to life-threatening conditions like placental abruption, while long cords can wrap around the neck of the baby, or develop knots. All of these conditions can lead to oxygen deprivation.
- Nuchal cord. When an umbilical cord wraps around a child’s neck, it is called nuchal cord. It often happens for no reason whatsoever, but it must be monitored carefully, because it can constrict airflow during labor and delivery. Often, a C-section will be required.
- Vasa previa. Vasa previa, per the March of Dimes, is a life-threatening complication which “occurs when one or more blood vessels from the umbilical cord or placenta cross the cervix underneath the baby. The blood vessels, unprotected by the Wharton's jelly in the umbilical cord or the tissue in the placenta, sometimes tear when the cervix dilates or the membranes rupture. This can result in life-threatening bleeding in the baby. Even if the blood vessels do not tear, the baby may suffer from lack of oxygen due to pressure on the blood vessels.”
- Cord stricture. This is the tightening or closing of the umbilical cord. No one knows why it happens, but almost 20% of all fetal deaths present with cord stricture.
At least 20 fetal deaths in 2018 were the result of complications of the umbilical cord, membrane, and placenta.
Other causes of oxygen deprivation
Not all oxygen deprivation is the result of an umbilical cord injury or issue. Some complications like uterine rupture or placental abruption cannot be anticipated (though some mothers are at greater risk), and sometimes genetic complications, like Rh incompatibility, may be the cause.
Untreated infections, prolonged labor and/or delivery, mistakes made during a C-section, the failure to order a C-section, and spikes and drops in maternal blood pressure can also lead to oxygen deprivation. In these cases, it is possible that medical negligence is to blame for why the child was deprived of oxygen during gestation or delivery.
What happens when a newborn loses oxygen?
While a baby can still survive despite being deprive oxygen for a certain amount of time, it often leads to permanent disabilities and injury. A child is at risk of any of the following conditions if he or she is deprived of oxygen:
- Cerebral palsy
- Seizure disorders
- Spectrum disorders
- Developmental delays
- Cognitive delays
- Neonatal stroke
These types of birth injuries can necessitate a lifetime of medical care. Some children may never walk or talk. Others may struggle with education, or finding a job.
My child was deprived of oxygen. Who can help me?
Raising any child is difficult. Raising a child with brain damage is even more so. There are some local resources available that may be able to help you:
- Phoenix Children’s Hospital offers resources to help parents and children with brain damage.
- Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona offers support and resources to families throughout the state, but is based in Phoenix.
- The Brain Injury Association for America also offers a free pamphlet with guidance and advice for caretakers.
- The Social Security Administration offers Disability benefits to adults with certain qualifying conditions, as well, and has two offices in Phoenix.
The other person who can help you is your Phoenix birth injury lawyer.
Birth injuries, especially those which will require life-long treatment and care, are incredibly expensive. The financial strain on you and your family is not limited to the medical costs. Often, one parent will stay home to care for the child, which means one income may be lost. If a child’s injuries are catastrophic, it may require the assistance of a live-in nurse, or the costs of a facility designed to care for people with devastating injuries.
Calculating these costs is a complex process, based not only on your current expenses, but your anticipated expenses as well. And while no amount of money is going to give your child back the life that you had dreamed he or she would have, it will eliminate the strain of worrying how you will care for this child during your life and after you pass. That is why working with an experienced Phoenix birth injury lawyer is in your best interests.
How much is my child’s oxygen deprivation claim worth?
Without knowing the extent of your child’s injuries, there is no way to say how much your case is worth. When you partner with us, we look at your medical and financial records, so we can honestly assess what your current expenses are, and what types of costs may be anticipated for your child’s future care. Aside from medical expenses, we can also value for your claim for:
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning potential for you
- Loss of future earning potential for your child
- Pain and suffering
Oxygen deprivation is often preventable. Because there are serious side effects that can occur when a baby does not receive enough oxygen, medical professionals must be held accountable when their actions cause such harm.
Experienced Phoenix birth injury lawyers on your side
At Plattner Verderame, P.C., we want to help you and your child. We have been fighting for families living with birth injuries for decades; let us fight for you, too. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Phoenix birth injury lawyer, please call 602-783-8793 or fill out our contact form.