Anoxic brain injuries occur as a result of oxygen deprivation during the birthing process. There are a number of reasons a child might suffer anoxia or hypoxia, including strangulation by the umbilical cord or birth trauma. Though there is often little the delivery team can do to prevent the initial difficulty, prompt treatment can usually prevent oxygen deprivation from occurring long enough for brain damage to occur.
Dependent upon how long the brain was deprived of oxygen, the long-term deficits can be significant. Cell death that occurs due to anoxia is permanent, and though physical and occupational therapy can offset some of those issues, full function is often compromised for the rest of the person’s life if the labor and delivery professionals do not act quickly enough.
In best case scenarios, the damage to the brain may not even be symptomatic in any clear way, and the patient may live the rest of their life with no difficulties. In these cases, the person will likely marry, raise a family, and work a community job. But in cases where the damage is more significant, all of these traditional milestones of life may be unattainable.
If the brain injury results in the person suffering significant physical or mental impairments, raising a family becomes much more difficult, as caring for children can be an arduous process. Traditional employment may also be difficult to maintain, as many employers are not as accommodating of disability as they should be.
In many cases, people who suffer an anoxic injury spend much of their life in acute nursing facilities, unable to care for themselves, or in Day Treatment programs where staff monitor their safety and provide them with activities. In both cases, work and family may remain ongoing issues.
If your child suffered an anoxic brain injury at birth, and you are unsure whether the doctors or nurses could have done more to prevent the amount of damage that was done, please reach out to a qualified lawyer. An experienced attorney can help you obtain professional evaluation of the medical charts to determine whether more should have been done to help your child.