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Birth Asphyxia and the Newborn Heart

Birth Asphyxia and the Newborn Heart

Birth Asphyxia

Asphyxia is a condition in which insufficient blood flow to the brain results in the brain not receiving enough oxygen.1 When this type of oxygen deprivation results in what is known as birth asphyxia in newborns, it can cause damage not only to the brain (in the form of a serious condition known as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, or HIE), but also to multiple other organs. This multiple-organ damage can involve the lungs, liver, kidneys, and heart.2 With specific regard to the heart, infants with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy may have both cardiovascular damage and related circulation problems. 3

Birth asphyxia can be caused by a number of conditions, and can occur before, during, or after pregnancy and delivery. Birth injuries that are a result of it often result in death or major long-term disabilities, not to mention the physical, financial, and emotional toll they take on parents and families. Depending on how long a baby’s brain is deprived of oxygen, combined with the area or areas of the brain that were most affected, a variety of symptoms may occur and persist, including weak or absent reflexes, lethargy, seizures, visual impairment, an abnormal EEG, or others.3

Asphyxia related birth injuries that are due to provable medical malpractice negligence often result in legal action. Proving medical malpractice negligence in birth asphyxia cases requires efficiently demonstrating that the current established standard of care was unmet, and as a result it caused injury to the baby. Hiring an expert attorney or legal team experienced in birth injury cases of this type is critical to ensure that fair compensation is received by parents for their birth injury negligence settlement. Costs for care and services for a child who has been injured due to birth asphyxia can be substantial, especially when the child’s required care and services will be extensive and ongoing. These can include breathing support, kidney dialysis, hypothermia treatments, IV feedings, and medications for blood pressure and seizures.5

In cases of provable medical malpractice negligence involving birth asphyxia, consulting with an experienced Florida birth injury lawyer for an initial consultation to discuss your child’s birth injury is an important step. It can be beneficial to research information about lawyers who specialize in birth injuries, or if possible, who specialize in birth asphyxia cases or the particular type of birth injury affecting your child.

Many expert lawyers and experienced legal teams provide free initial consultations. At Mallard & Sharp, P.A., we specialize in a variety of heart-related birth injuries both in Miami Florida and throughout Florida, including those involving birth asphyxia. To schedule a complimentary initial consultation with our expert legal team call 877.662.5527 or 305.461.4800.



3 Kluckow M. Functional echocardiography in assessment of the cardiovascular system in asphyxiated neonates. J Pediatr 2011; 158(Suppl):e13–e18



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