Anoxia is a severe case of hypoxia, a medical term used to describe a lack of oxygen to a body part.
In the birth injury context, hypoxia occurs when the newborn’s brain lacks oxygen. Anoxia is more serious – it occurs when the baby’s brain fails to get any oxygen, which can cause lifelong disability or death.
Often, a baby in an anoxic state is not breathing at birth. When that happens, doctors and nurses immediately try to deliver oxygen to the child with an oxygen mask or by placing them in a hyperbaric chamber. Babies born in an anoxic state must receive immediate medical attention to address their oxygen deficiency.
With prompt medical treatment, children can recover from anoxia, but some babies never make a full recovery. After four minutes without oxygen, brain cells begin to die, resulting in permanent brain damage. The longer a baby goes without oxygen, the more advanced their symptoms become, and the higher the chance of suffering long-term effects. If untreated, anoxia can result in one or more serious disorders, including cerebral palsy or, in the worst cases, the death of the child.
A diminished oxygen supply can lead to severe impairment of cognitive skills and physical functions. Children who suffer oxygen deprivation during birth may exhibit common signs of brain damage. While some symptoms may not be observable immediately, infants who suffer brain damage at birth may experience deficiencies later in life involving:
• Gross motor skills such as walking, running, standing still, sitting, and other larger actions and movement.
• Fine motor skills that require more precise control like eating, writing, grasping small objects, getting dressed, and other activities.
• Ability to communicate, including talking in a clear voice, using inflection while speaking, and other verbal skills.
Some children who suffer brain damage can recover partially or completely through intensive treatment programs, including physical and occupational therapy. Unfortunately, that is not the case for all children, and some must live conditions that can only be managed but not cured.
Consult With a Michigan Medical Malpractice Attorney
If your child has a serious disorder resulting from an injury at birth, his or her condition may be due to the negligence of a medical professional. The choice of a birth injury law firm to represent your family may be the most significant decision you make.
At the Michigan medical malpractice law firm of Sommers Schwartz, we proudly represent families who have fallen victim to doctors’ errors, misdiagnoses, and wrongful acts. Our team of dedicated personal injury lawyers is well known and respected for our accomplishments in medical malpractice lawsuits in Michigan and across the United States. We have earned an unparalleled reputation for professionalism, knowledge, and skill, and we frequently present to lawyers and even doctors at medical-legal conferences nationwide.