Birth Asphyxia Lawyer

This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by Founding Partner, Terry Crouppen who has more than 40 years of legal experience as a personal injury attorney. Our last modified date shows when this page was last reviewed.

No parent expects their child to suffer a birth injury, especially one as serious as birth asphyxia. If your child has experienced this type of oxygen deprivation injury during childbirth, you may feel angry, helpless, and overwhelmed. You are not alone. The experienced birth asphyxia lawyers at Brown & Crouppen are here to help your family seek compensation and justice.

Our award-winning law firm has recovered over $1 billion in settlements and verdicts for our clients. With decades of experience and a team of more than 250 legal professionals, we have what it takes to get the results your family needs and deserves. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss you and your family’s legal options.

What Is Birth Asphyxia?

Also known as perinatal asphyxia, birth asphyxia occurs when a baby does not receive enough oxygen before, during, or soon after labor. The lack of oxygen prevents cells from working properly and causes harmful acids to accumulate. This can damage the brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, bowels, or other organs.

The extent of harm to the baby depends on the amount of time they experience oxygen deprivation, how low oxygen levels become, and how quickly they receive treatment. Babies with mild or moderate birth asphyxia often recover fully, but permanent injuries are possible.

Birth asphyxia can be caused by a variety of factors, including medical malpractice during the birthing process. It is essential to seek legal representation if you believe your child’s birth asphyxia was caused by a medical provider’s carelessness.

Evidence of Birth Asphyxia

Birth asphyxia often shows symptoms before or immediately after birth. Abnormal fetal heart rate and low pH levels before birth may be signs of birth asphyxia. Meconium-stained amniotic fluid, pale or blue skin, low heart rate, weak muscle tone, gasping, and shortage of breath can also indicate birth asphyxia.

The newborn’s APGAR score is also a strong indicator, measured as a number between 0–10 to rate skin tone, heart rate, breathing, reflexes, and muscle tone. A score of 3 or less lasting longer than five minutes may be evidence of birth asphyxia. Neurological problems, comas, seizures, organ problems, and high acid levels may also be signs.

Birth asphyxia can occur imperceptibly and may only become apparent later in the child’s development. Potential long-term effects of birth asphyxia include:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Blindness
  • Hearing loss
  • Learning disabilities
  • Seizure disorders
  • Developmental delays
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders

Common Causes of Birth Asphyxia

Anything that decreases oxygen delivered to the baby during birth can cause birth asphyxia. Potential causes of birth asphyxia include:

  • Prolonged or difficult deliveries.
  • Umbilical cord problems, such as a prolapsed or compressed cord.
  • Placental abruptions, which occur when the placenta separates from the uterus too soon.
  • Maternal infections, such as chorioamnionitis.
  • Maternal blood pressure problems, such as preeclampsia.
  • Blocked or malformed airway in the baby.
  • Severe anemia in the baby that decreases the amount of oxygen that the blood cells can carry.
  • Anesthetic complications during delivery that lower oxygen levels in the mother’s blood.
  • Inadequate uterine relaxation, preventing oxygen from reaching the placenta.

Is Perinatal Asphyxia Common?

Perinatal asphyxia is more common than many people realize. It occurs in approximately 15 percent of births and is a leading cause of newborn deaths worldwide, accounting for approximately 900,000 deaths each year.

Developing nations have higher rates of birth asphyxia, but it is still a significant issue in developed nations. Estimates suggest that 1 in 500 babies in these nations (e.g., the United States) experience birth asphyxia.

Deviation from proper care and management during pregnancy, labor, and delivery increases the risk of perinatal asphyxia. However, access to maternal and neonatal care, as well as improvements in medical technology and techniques, have helped reduce the frequency of birth asphyxia. 

Proving Medical Negligence in a Birth Asphyxia Claim

Birth asphyxia is often completely preventable. Medical professionals have a duty to provide a minimum standard of care to their patients, and any failure to do so may amount to medical negligence. In cases of birth asphyxia, it is necessary to prove that the health care provider failed to uphold their duty of care and that the failure resulted in harm to the mother or baby.

When you turn to our birth asphyxia law firm, our skilled legal team will investigate the circumstances of your case to determine if medical malpractice played a role in your child’s injuries. This will likely involve help from other medical professionals who can review medical records and provide testimony regarding the standard of care, deviations from it, and the causal link with your child’s birth asphyxia.

Who Can Be Held Liable for Birth Asphyxia Injuries?

Determining liability in a birth asphyxia claim can be complicated, as there are often multiple parties involved in the care of the mother and baby during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Potentially liable parties include:

  • Doctors who fail to properly assess the health of the mother and baby or who do not respond appropriately to complications during pregnancy or labor.
  • Nurses who fail to monitor the baby’s heart rate, detect signs of fetal distress during labor, or intervene when necessary.
  • Anesthesiologists who administer improper doses.
  • Hospitals or birthing centers that fail to provide adequate staffing, equipment, or protocols for emergency situations.

Multiple parties may be simultaneously liable in some cases. For example, if a doctor failed to diagnose and treat a high-risk pregnancy involving birth asphyxia, but the hospital also did not have the necessary equipment to administer treatment, both parties may take on liability for resulting injuries. Our birth injury lawyers will evaluate your case and determine all liable parties. 

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Get started with a free consultation with one of our skilled Personal Injury Lawyers today.

Available Damages for Birth Asphyxia Cases in Missouri

Birth asphyxia injuries can have lifelong consequences for a child and their family. These may include physical, cognitive, or developmental disabilities requiring ongoing medical care, rehabilitation therapy, and accommodations. Parents may also experience a loss of income while caring for a child with disabilities.

In Missouri, families dealing with the aftermath of birth asphyxia may be entitled to seek legal compensation, which may cover things like:

  • Medical expenses, including past and future costs of treatment, rehabilitation, and assistive devices.
  • Diminished earning capacity caused by the injury’s impact on the child’s future employment prospects.
  • Pain and suffering of the child.
  • Lowered quality of life for the child due to disabilities.
  • Funeral/burial expenses and other wrongful death damages if the injury is fatal.

No two cases are the same, and the damages available in each case will depend on the specific circumstances. Our birth asphyxia attorneys in St. Louis and Kansas City will gather all available evidence to determine the full and fair compensation you and your family are legally entitled to. 

Count On Us to Fight For You If Your Child Suffered a Birth Asphyxia Injury

Our award-winning birth asphyxia lawyers in Missouri have recovered over $1 billion in settlements and verdicts for our clients. We are here to level the playing field between your family and powerful insurance companies backing the medical professionals responsible for your child’s birth injury. We will handle all communication and negotiations on your behalf so you can focus on your family’s well-being.

We are a full-service personal injury law firm and believe everyone deserves access to the best representation possible, regardless of their financial circumstances. That is why we handle all birth asphyxia injury cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning there are no upfront costs for our clients. We only get paid if and when we secure compensation for you and your family.

Contact us today by calling 800-536-4357 or filling out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. 

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