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When Should Parents Sue for Birth Asphyxia?

By Molly Zilli, Esq. on June 11, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

It sounds odd, but most of us parents love our kids so much, we've imagined all sorts of terrible and tragic ways they could get hurt. It's actually a sort of built-in function that allows us to anticipate danger and find ways to prevent it. Unfortunately, some danger and injuries are out of our hands.

One very early and potentially devastating injury a child can experience is birth asphyxia. However, there are a number of factors which can cause the condition, and not all of them are the result of someone's negligence. Therefore, it's not always clear when parents should sue for birth asphyxia.

What Is Birth Asphyxia?

Birth asphyxia occurs when the baby doesn't receive enough oxygen before, during, or right after birth. The extent of the damage depends on factors like how long the baby went without enough oxygen, and how quickly the appropriate treatment is administered.

There are a number of ways birth asphyxia can happen, such as problems with the umbilical cord or a defect in the baby's airway. But it can also be caused or significantly exacerbated by the negligence of medical professionals. This is when you might want to sue for birth asphyxia.

Who Can You Sue for Birth Asphyxia?

All hospitals and medical professionals have a duty to care for their patients in a competent, professional manner. To prove they failed in that duty you generally have to show that their conduct fell below a generally accepted standard of medical care, and that their failure caused harm to the baby.

Some examples of medical negligence include:

  • When staff fail to provide oxygen to the baby in a timely manner;
  • When a doctor prescribes unsafe medication during a patient's pregnancy (a pharmaceutical company may also be at fault for providing inadequate warnings in these situations);
  • Failure to perform a necessary cesarean section;
  • When a hospital allows a doctor or other staff member to provide care despite knowledge of their incompetence.

While the exact details vary from case to case, the bottom line is that birth asphyxia can have long-lasting, difficult, and expensive effects on a child and family. If your child suffered an injury at birth or during pregnancy, consult an attorney who can assess the facts of your case and whether or not you're entitled to compensation.

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