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What is an anoxic brain injury and can it occur during birth?

A woman and her unborn baby are under a lot of stress during labor and delivery. There are many variables that can affect how the labor and delivery progress. When things aren't going the way that they should or if they are heading in a dangerous direction, the medical staff attending to the labor and delivery must make decisions to help keep the woman and her baby safe. One issue that can occur during labor and delivery is when the baby isn't getting sufficient oxygen.

What is an anoxic brain injury?

An anoxic brain injury is one that occurs when the brain doesn't get enough oxygen. After only four minutes without oxygen, brain cells begin to die. This can occur during birth if the baby's umbilical cord is compromised and doesn't provide sufficient oxygen to the baby. It can also occur if the placenta is compromised.

What are some of the symptoms of a hypoxic brain injury?

A hypoxic brain injury can cause the baby to be in a vegetative state. It can also lead to loss of consciousness or seizures. As the baby gets older, delays in some skills can occur. These symptoms might be combated with oxygen therapy, cooling therapy, or medications.

If your baby suffered a hypoxic brain injury at birth, he or she will likely be in for a long course of treatment. In some cases, long-lasting effects might be present. You might decide to seek compensation to help you cover the costs of your child's medical care and to help hold the medical staff accountable for the actions that led to your child's injury.

Source: Mount Sinai Hospital, "Anoxic Brain Damage," accessed Feb. 12, 2016

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