Statistically, birth injuries occur in approximately 7 out of 1,000 births in the United States, or about three per hour across the country. Birth injuries can occur at any point throughout a pregnancy, not just during delivery. Moreover, a baby can suffer harm in-utero and it is usually a physical harm or trauma which causes the injury, resulting in long-lasting health and developmental problems.
The most common cause of birth injury to a baby, however, is when he or she does not receive appropriate levels of oxygen. Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), the medical term for a loss of oxygen, can lead to permanent damage to a baby’s brain. Moreover, it can be fatal.
Several factors can lead to HIE including intrauterine asphyxia brought on by circulatory problems such as clotting of placental arteries, placental abruption, or inflammatory processes. HIE is noted to be an “evolving” event of gradual brain cell deterioration caused by an initial negligent act. If an attending doctor improperly monitors a baby’s vital signs/heart rate in order to detect stress, and a brain injury occurs, a medical malpractice suit may be merited.