The birth of a child should be one of the most exciting and momentous occasions in a new parent’s life. Unfortunately, an inexperienced, fatigued, or negligent obstetrician can quickly turn this moment of joy into a heartbreaking and traumatic experience.
Medical staffers have many important responsibilities during the birthing process. One of their most important duties is monitoring a baby’s condition and checking for signs of oxygen deprivation and fetal distress. When a medical professional fails to uphold this standard of care, a baby could suffer a devastating and fatal medical condition known as birth asphyxia.
turn to a Birth Injury firm with over 50 years of experience
Contact the New Jersey birth asphyxia attorneys at The Donnelly Law Firm if your baby has been harmed by the actions of a negligent medical professional. Our award-winning legal team has over 50 years of collective experience and the resources to effectively investigate and represent your claim in Summit, NJ and across the state.
With our assistance, you can recover compensatory damages that safeguard your child’s quality of life. As leaders in the burgeoning field of birth injury litigation, our mission is to help each client recover a settlement or verdict that facilitates their child’s ongoing recovery process. Likewise, we also want the outcome of every case to inspire institutional changes that protect other babies and families from suffering similar tragedies.
What is birth asphyxia?
Birth asphyxia is responsible for approximately 900,000 fetal deaths each year, making it the fifth leading cause of infant mortality in the world. This medical condition occurs when a baby’s brain and other organs are deprived of oxygen before, during, or immediately after birth.
The lack of oxygen triggers a cell injury known as necrosis, which can lead to temporary or permanent brain damage, heart failure, and paralysis. Sadly, most cases of birth asphyxia are considered preventable incidents and the tragic result of medical negligence.
Recognizing the Signs & Symptoms of Birth Asphyxia
Birth asphyxia can lead to the development of debilitating and permanent medical conditions, including:
- Cerebral palsy
- Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)
- Seizure disorders
- Various learning disabilities
Ideally, a medical professional should be able to recognize the early signs of birth asphyxia simply by monitoring the baby’s vital signs. If the baby starts exhibiting hints of fetal distress or oxygen deprivation, the doctor needs to reevaluate their existing plan and take immediate steps to protect the mother and child.
For example, umbilical cord complications are a leading cause of birth asphyxia. If a physician fails to monitor the baby’s distress, they may not realize that an emergency c-section is necessary. Consequently, if the baby is left in utero for too long, it may suffer birth asphyxia.
Common causes of birth asphyxia include:
- Shoulder dystocia
- Long or difficult delivery
- Airway blockages or defects
- Early placental abruption
- Underdeveloped lungs
- Fetal anemia
- Prolapsed or pinched umbilical cord
- Infection in the mother or baby
- Meconium Aspiration Syndrome
Advancements in prenatal care have reduced the risk of birth asphyxia during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Obstetricians in the United States are trained to use the most advanced treatments and services in the world. Quite frankly, there is no excuse for the annual number of birth injuries and fatalities associated with birth asphyxia. Unfortunately, to err is human, so it’s vital that new parents carefully observe their newborns after the birthing process is complete.
Parents and doctors need to evaluate a newborn for the following symptoms of birth asphyxia:
- Skin discoloration (blue or pale)
- Weak breathing
- Low heart rate
- Poor muscle tone
- Weak reflexes
- Blood-clotting abnormalities
Establishing Medical Negligence
Birth injury claims can be incredibly challenging to litigate because the burden of proof is on the plaintiff and their legal team. To obtain a positive case result, your legal representatives need to prove 4 critical facts: a doctor-patient relationship existed; the doctor acted negligently and breached the medical standard of care; your newborn suffered a birth injury due to this act of negligence; the birth injury caused your baby physical and/or cognitive harm.
A medical professional can – and should – be held accountable for the following acts of negligence:
- Failure to notice and remedy the signs of fetal distress.
- Failure to recognize the symptoms of oxygen deprivation.
- Failure to safely utilize medical instruments or equipment.
- Failure to order a timely c-section.
- Failure to properly administer medications and/or labor-inducing drugs.
- Failure to diagnose potential pregnancy complications.
- Failure to use resuscitation techniques.
- Failure to properly administer anesthesia.
Before filing a claim, it’s critical that you discuss your case with an experienced birth injury attorney in New Jersey. At The Donnelly Law Firm, we can listen to your story, investigate your case, and review your baby’s medical records to determine if an act of medical negligence is responsible for their condition.
Once we understand your legal objectives and financial needs, our attorneys can start collecting evidence and consulting with medical experts to develop a litigation strategy that aims to maximize your claim. Our legal team is comprised of skilled litigators who are armed with extensive trial experience and a comprehensive understanding of this challenging legal process. If you require legal representation, call today!
Schedule a Free Consultation with our Award-Winning Birth Injury Lawyers in Summit, NJ
Per the statute of limitations in New Jersey, a plaintiff has two years from the date of the birth to file a birth injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Of course, there are exceptions to this law, including the discovery rule, so contact an attorney at our firm as soon as possible. If you fail to file a claim by this deadline, the court may refuse to hear your case, meaning that your path to damages may be eliminated.
Contact the New Jersey birth asphyxia lawyers at The Donnelly Law Firm if you have questions about your legal rights or want to file a claim. Our legal team has over 50 years of experience and a proven track record of success that includes numerous million- and multi-million-dollar case results.