Cerebral Ischemia at Birth

The health of all cells in the body is affected by the amount of blood flow to that area of the body where the cell is located. Less blood flow to an organ generally equates to less oxygen supply to the cells of that organ. When there is a lack of “perfusion” (or blood flow) to the brain, it can result in the death of cells, also known as ischemia. If the brain tissue ischemia or death of cells in the brain is significant enough, it can result in a brain injury manifested by various neurological conditions. This cell and brain damage can result in a short period of time, especially in the fragile brain of a child during labor and delivery…or the brain of a newborn.

The injuries that can result from cerebral ischemia depend on a number of factors, including how many cells die and how long the brain tissue was deprived of oxygen (anoxia), or had a diminished supply of oxygen (hypoxia). Cerebral ischemia and its associated brain injuries may result in cerebral palsy, developmental delays, vision impairment, mental retardation, cognitive loss, hearing loss, seizure disorders, and even death.

A loss of blood flow and lack of oxygen to a fetus’ brain tissue, resulting in brain injury, is often the result of avoidable consequences which occur because of shortcomings in the child’s or laboring mother’s medical care. Contractions during labor and the blood pressure of the mother and other factors need to be controlled properly to preclude a fetus from going into “distress” when there is some compromise of the blood flow/oxygen supply to the brain. Improper use of medication during labor and delivery, a failure to timely administer proper medications, or a failure to expeditiously deliver a baby on an emergency basis when needed may result in brain injury.

Proper and timely prenatal and other care, including diagnostic testing and monitoring, is required to ensure the health of a baby before labor, during labor and delivery, and after the birth. Fetal heart monitoring both during the prenatal care and throughout labor and delivery can help determine the health of a fetus while in the uterus. It is important that any signs of fetal stress and/or hypoxia and its cause be recognized and acted upon pursuant to the standards of care for obstetric treatment. This care may include a timely caesarian section birth, the administration of medications, or even simply prescribed bed rest for the mother pre-labor with ongoing appropriate monitoring.

If you are concerned that your child has suffered a permanent injury because of the negligence of a medical professional, you and your child may be entitled to compensation for the injuries sustained and their associated costs. Damages may also include potential lost wages.

The experienced New Jersey birth injury lawyers at Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari are Certified Civil Trial Attorneys with extensive experience in handling matters involving birth injuries. We are available to discuss your potential claim at no cost. Please call (973) 635-5400.

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