When a child is deprived of oxygen during childbirth, it can lead to health issues that can affect the child and the family for years to come, and sometimes forever. The effects can be devastating – physically, emotionally, and financially. As many as 20 to 30 percent of children deprived of oxygen develop epilepsy and many need regular antiepileptic treatment. Epilepsy can affect a person’s cognitive performance, quality of life, and life expectancy. But a new cooling treatment known as therapeutic hypothermia has changed the equation.
A new study indicates that cooling treatment can reduce the number of children who will develop epilepsy later in childhood. Before cooling therapy was used, a poor outcome was expected for children suffering oxygen deprivation – with 32 percent of cases resulting in death, and 34 percent resulting in a moderate to severe disability. However, those born after 2007 who have experienced this treatment, only 11 percent of cases resulted in death and 23 percent resulted in disability.
Signs of Oxygen Deprivation
If difficulties during childbirth are not properly addressed immediately by healthcare providers, or symptoms of oxygen deprivation are not recognized, there are many things that can go wrong. Symptoms may include:
Seizures – These can occur within 24 to 48 hours after delivery
Apnea – This is when babies hold their breath for any amount of time, or they demonstrate other breathing difficulties
Feeding difficulties – This includes the inability to latch, suck, or swallow milk
Difficulty waking baby – Baby is lethargic or difficult to wake.
Low cord pH – This means that there is too much acid in the umbilical cord, which is often caused by a lack of oxygen
Low Apgar score – A low score may indicate that a baby has been oxygen-deprived
How Oxygen Deprivation Can Occur
There are several ways oxygen deprivation can happen during childbirth, including:
Position of baby in birth canal – During a difficult labor, a baby may become lodged or may rest in the birth canal for too long. If medical intervention does not happen immediately, the baby can be deprived of oxygen
Umbilical cord around neck – During movement in the birth canal, the cord can become wound around the neck
Umbilical cord twisted or crushed – The umbilical cord supplies nutrients and oxygen to the baby. When the cord becomes twisted or compressed, the baby will show signs of distressWith proper medical care, a birth injury can be avoided. Unfortunately, there are often incidents of medical negligence during childbirth. If you believe that your child has suffered a birth injury because of negligence, please call the New Jersey birth injury lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP at 732-777-0100. You can also contact us online. We will provide the knowledgeable guidance you need to recover compensation. Our offices are conveniently located in in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River, and we represent clients throughout the state of New Jersey.