ERNST & YOUNG
Babies are born every day with no complications via a smooth delivery. However, in some cases, oxygen deprivation during birth can lead to numerous problems, resulting in lifelong physical and psychological medical issues -- and even death -- for a newborn. Oxygen deprivation in a medical setting is preventable and might happen due to the action or inaction of a doctor or other medical professional. If your loved one has suffered due to oxygen deprivation, you might have a medical malpractice case.
The Results of Oxygen Deprivation in a Medical Setting
If a baby or even an adult suffers oxygen deprivation in a medical setting, the results can be permanent and devastating, requiring lifelong care.
Some possible injuries include:
- Developmental challenges,
- A loss of brain cells,
- Cerebral palsy,
- Brain damage,
- Behavioral challenges,
- Learning disabilities,
- Loss of muscle function,
- Heart and lung problems,
- Loss of memory,
- Delayed speech,
- A reduction in IQ score,
- Autism and
- Attention deficit disorder.
This list is by no means exhaustive. Many problems might show up right away. However, other problems might not be immediately evident but can show up later when the person reaches the appropriate developmental stage. Examples include autism, speech delays and struggles with fine and large motor skills, such as walking.
Types of Brain Hemorrhages in the Brain
During complications in a medical setting, hemorrhages in the brain can lead to oxygen deprivation. Medical professionals identify four different types of brain hemorrhaging as follows:
Subdural hemorrhages -- These occur between the two layers of the brain and can result in undue pressure on the brain. They might lead to high levels of bilirubin in the blood or even seizures.
Subarachnoid hemorrhages -- These occur between the innermost membranes in the brain. They might result in seizures, but these infants usually recover.
Intraventricular hemorrhages -- These occur within the brain itself, often in very premature babies.
Intraparenchymal hemorrhages -- These also cause bleeding into the brain and occur in preemies. Intraparenchymal and intraventricular hemorrhages are usually not due to a birth injury.
Health Repercussions of Oxygen Deprivation in a Medical Setting
Individuals who suffer oxygen deprivation can require ongoing support via medication, equipment, therapy, changes to living arrangements and more. This can include:
- A respirator or ventilator,
- Physical therapy of varying degrees and types,
- Seizure medications,
- Heart medications, including blood pressure medication,
- A wheelchair and related equipment,
- Adaptations to the home, including ramps,
- Adaptations to bathrooms, including handrails in a tub and more,
- Intravenous nutrition,
- Psychological counseling,
- Professional nursing care at home or in a facility and
- A properly equipped vehicle.
This list of possible types of equipment and the related needs will vary widely in each situation. A competent medical malpractice attorney can provide you with further information.
Your Legal Options
With all these possible ramifications of oxygen deprivation, you will need a knowledgeable attorney. In order to secure compensation in a Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit, your lawyer must show medical negligence. In other words, a member of the medical team did something or failed to do something that contributed to the oxygen deprivation.
First, your birth injury attorneys will show the appropriate standard of care that patients should receive in similar cases. Next, they will demonstrate that the defendant's actions or lack thereof failed to meet that standard of care. Finally, they will show that the defendant's actions or negligence caused measurable harm to the victim in the case.
Sample Case Studies
In a 2016 case in Illinois, a Chicago family settled a birth injury case for the unprecedented sum of $53 million. The baby boy sustained injuries and suffered fetal distress, and the hospital failed to provide the needed medical care, an emergency C-section. At the time of the settlement, the child, age 12, could not speak or walk. Medical professionals have determined that his issues with neurological impairment will continue throughout his life.
In another case in Wisconsin, a family secured $22.5 million in a settlement after their 6-week-old son suffered permanent brain damage due to oxygen deprivation during an operation. The baby's spinal cord adhered to surrounding tissue. During the operation, his blood pressure dropped to dangerously low levels, and an anesthesiologist failed to respond appropriately. At the time of the settlement, the child, age 3, could not talk or walk and would likely remain at the level of a 2-year-old. He will require life-long care, and the settlement was intended to .
Finding an Effective Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney
Oxygen deprivation can result in a birth injury with lifelong consequences. If you or a loved has suffered oxygen deprivation in a medical setting, you will need assertive legal representation to protect your rights. At Weltchek, Mallahan, and Weltchek, we can provide you with counsel as to the best course of action and seek the maximum allowable compensation on your behalf. Contact our law offices today as these cases are time-sensitive. We look forward to working with you.