John J. Hopkins & Associates

How lack of oxygen leads to cerebral palsy

One of the most common birth-related injuries that new mothers wind up facing in their infants is cerebral palsy. This developmental condition has been documented and studied in medical literature for over 150 years, during which time the debate over the role of birth asphyxia as its cause has continued. While there have been many theories about how and why it plays a role over the years, medical science now realizes that oxygen deprivation during birth is one of several causes of cerebral palsy.

Events that can lead to birth asphyxia

There are a variety of ways that an infant's oxygen supply can be endangered during labor and the birthing process:

  • Umbilical cord complications, including when the cord is wrapped around the neck
  • Excessive hemorrhaging during pregnancy or birth
  • Maternal shock, which is caused by heavy bleeding and distress during labor
  • Prolonged or traumatic delivery
  • Abnormal presentations, including breech births
  • Deliveries in which the shoulder impedes birth

Most of these problems have direct solutions and responses written into birthing protocols at major hospitals because while they are uncommon, they occur frequent enough that standard procedures have been prepared to deal with them. In the event of an emergency during birth that threatens an infant's oxygen supply, following those protocols early and thoroughly is usually the best way to prevent or minimize the long-term effects that can lead to conditions like cerebral palsy.

If a baby develops cerebral palsy after a birth injury

In the event that you or someone you know has a baby who developed cerebral palsy after a birth complication, there may be some recourse to help cover the child's medical expenses during his or her childhood. While there is no guarantee that damages can be recovered in any particular case, birth injuries where common protocols that are known to minimize or prevent damage have been compromised or disregarded do have clearer arguments to support them. If you are currently facing such a situation, it is not in your best interests to sign or settle anything without getting advice from someone whose job is to look out for your interests.

When you are facing the consequences of a birth injury, you need to know all of your options so that you can make the best possible plans for your child's future. That includes assessing whether or not there are damages that can be recovered and that will help pay for your child's future care. An attorney with experience helping families recover damages related to birth injury should be able to give you more information after reviewing your specific case.

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ALTON —Like any successful trial lawyer, John Hopkins knows the importance of preparation. But he usually doesn’t write out the questions he plans to ask witnesses in depositions or in court.

“I like to react to what the witness is saying—not only what they’re saying, but how they’re saying it,” Hopkins says.

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John J. Hopkins & Associates
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Alton, IL 62002

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