Florida Birth Asphyxia

Birth asphyxia is a devastating complication for many births. It frequently results from medical negligence. If your child is suffering from the long-term effects of birth asphyxia, you may be entitled to compensation. Freedland Harwin Valori Gander has over 20 years of experience handling birth asphyxia cases in Florida. Our compassionate Florida birth asphyxia lawyers provide legal guidance to grieving families on medical malpractice claims and maximizing compensation.

Written and edited by our team of expert legal content writers and reviewed and approved by Daniel Harwin

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The birth of a child should be a time of joy, but when things go wrong during delivery, devastating and lifelong consequences can occur. Birth asphyxia, or oxygen deprivation at birth, can result in severe health conditions for the baby, ranging from organ damage to developmental delays. This complication occurs in every two births per 1000. Florida families coping with these heartbreaking outcomes need legal guidance during a tough time.

Not all cases of birth asphyxia result from medical malpractice, but negligence by medical providers often causes or contributes to the condition. If your child has suffered a birth injury from oxygen deprivation, a Florida birth injury attorney may be able to pursue a medical malpractice case and seek compensation on your behalf.

Contact our Florida birth asphyxia lawyers at Freedland Harwin Valori Gander today for a free consultation on your case. We are here to support your family every step of the way toward securing the compensation you deserve.

What Is Birth Asphyxia, and What Are Its Causes?

Birth asphyxia occurs when an infant’s brain and other organs do not receive enough oxygen during the birthing process. If brain hypoxia, which is the death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen, occurs—even for a few minutes—it can cause severe damage with potentially lifelong effects.  

Several situations can disrupt oxygen flow to the baby before, during, or just after delivery:

  • Delayed C-section: When a cesarean delivery is necessary but the medical team waits too long to perform it, the baby may not get enough oxygen. The risk is especially high for larger babies.  
  • Umbilical cord issues: Compression, twisting, or entanglement of the umbilical cord can temporarily cut off oxygen.
  • Placental problems: Placental abruption, where the placenta detaches from the uterus, and similar issues can lead to an insufficient oxygen supply.

What Are The Common Complications of Birth Asphyxia?

Birth asphyxia can lead to a wide range of complications affecting multiple body systems and functions, with the severity depending on factors like how long oxygen deprivation lasts. Some of the most common issues experienced by children who suffered oxygen loss at birth include:

  • Neurological disorders like cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and intellectual disabilities
  • Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, or HIE, a type of brain damage
  • Seizures or other neurological problems
  • Muscle or reflex problems, including low or high muscle tone
  • Hearing loss or visual impairments
  • Liver or kidney dysfunction or failure
  • Heart disorders like low blood pressure, arrhythmias, or heart failure
  • Respiratory issues like asthma, pulmonary hypertension
  • Hematologic disorders like polycythemia from increased red blood cell production
  • Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar
  • Feeding difficulties, like aspiration, which require tube feeds
  • Developmental delays like speech and language delays

The earlier hypoxia is caught and treated, the less severe it is, and the lower the complication risk. However, even brief oxygen deprivation can cause problems, underscoring the need for prompt and appropriate care when fetal distress is detected. If you believe these devastating complications resulted from medical negligence, a birth asphyxia lawyer can help.

How Does Birth Asphyxia Impact Newborns, and What Are the Potential Long-Term Consequences?

When the oxygen supply gets disrupted during birth, a newborn’s still-developing systems can sustain severe injury within minutes. Immediate effects often involve:

  • Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy: Brain damage from oxygen loss, which can manifest as seizures, coma, or trouble breathing, feeding, and performing other necessary functions for survival.
  • Organ dysfunction: Decreased blood flow damages vital organs like the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys.  

Getting immediate therapeutic hypothermia treatment within six hours after birth can potentially protect the brain and reduce the risk of disabilities. However, if left untreated, birth asphyxia can contribute to long-term developmental issues, such as:  

  • Cerebral palsy: Linked to brain injuries, cerebral palsy causes a loss of motor control.
  • Cognitive and intellectual disabilities: Many physical or developmental delays can stem from a lack of oxygen.
  • Visual and hearing impairment: Nerve damage or sensory disorders resulting from asphyxia can cause eyesight and hearing issues.
  • Epilepsy and seizures: Brain damage increases an infant’s susceptibility to epilepsy and seizures.
  • Behavioral disorders: Conditions such as attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorders can result from birth asphyxia.  

The required multidisciplinary care for children with birth injuries is extremely expensive, with few assistance options. The experienced attorneys at FHVG can help secure compensation for these costs and other losses through a medical malpractice lawsuit. Our lawyers have handled many of these cases and understand how to navigate the complexities of both medical and legal issues.

Why Choose Freedland Harwin Valori Gander for Your Birth Asphyxia Case

With over 20 years of handling birth injury cases, FHVG handles even the most medically complex birth asphyxia cases. Our award-winning attorneys offer affected families guidance through legal processes with compassion and understanding. 

Our dedicated birth injury unit conducts a thorough investigation and consults nursing and medical experts to determine whether your health care providers violated the prevailing professional standard of care. They painstakingly examine prenatal records, looking for missed diagnoses or delays that may have caused injury. 

We understand this is an incredibly emotional time and make client experience our priority. Our lawyers are always available with advice and to answer questions. See why our clients have rated our compassionate legal services so highly.

How Do Birth Asphyxia Cases Typically Involve Medical Negligence?

Many birth asphyxia cases involve some level of medical negligence during labor and delivery. Our Florida birth asphyxia lawyers have seen many heartbreaking cases where poor medical judgment robbed the child of oxygen and contributed to a child’s lifelong disability.

The standard of care during childbirth is the level of skill and treatment a reasonably prudent health care provider would provide under the same circumstances. If the provider deviates from the standard of care, they may be found negligent. Some examples of negligence commonly found in birth asphyxia cases include the following:

  • Failure to adequately monitor fetal heart rate patterns during labor, looking for early signs of distress
  • Failure to respond promptly when abnormal heart rate patterns are detected
  • Delivery errors
  • Failure to order emergency C-sections when medically necessary, such as in case of prolonged labor
  • Errors during C-section procedures, like excessive time between anesthesia and incision
  • Delayed cord clamping, where the blood flow from the placenta to the baby is not swiftly cut off during delivery
  • Failure to recognize patients at risk for bleeding from the placenta
  • Failure to recognize rupture of the uterus   

Medical professionals are trained to look for specific indicators of asphyxia, including the following: 

  • Extreme acid levels
  • APGAR score of 0 to 3 lasting for more than five minutes
  • Evidence of coma and seizure, among other neurologic problems
  • Organ system dysfunction, including respiratory, digestive, and circulatory issues

Legal FAQs Related to Birth Asphyxia Cases

Dealing with the consequences of birth asphyxia is extremely difficult for families.  Making complex legal decisions while caring for the injured child’s extensive medical needs can be overwhelming. Our compassionate lawyers are always available to guide families through this challenging process. Below are some answers to commonly asked legal questions about birth asphyxia in Florida:

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims in Florida?

You have two years from the date the injury occurred or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence. Contacting a Florida birth asphyxia attorney is critical to ensure you file suit on time. 

How Does Florida Law Handle Damages in Birth Asphyxia Cases?

Florida laws allow recovery of economic costs, such as current and future medical bills, rehabilitation costs, loss of future earnings and benefits, and certain expenses incurred by parents. Injured children can also recover non-economic damages for pain, suffering, disability, disfigurement, and loss of capacity for enjoyment of life. 

Is There a Cap on the Amount of Compensation That Can Be Awarded in Birth Asphyxia Cases in Florida?

Florida has no cap on economic or non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. The state once capped non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases at $500,000. However, the Florida Supreme Court declared that cap unconstitutional in 2017. Consult a lawyer to determine what damages to seek in your particular case.

Additionally, some brain asphyxia cases are not eligible for lawsuits in Florida. Instead, the Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association, or NICA, provides compensation to families for certain types of birth injuries to the brain or spinal cord. 

There are exceptions to NICA and the birth injury lawyers at our firm have successfully navigated around the minimal NICA compensation so that our clients can be rightfully compensated for the negligence of obstetricians and hospitals

If your case is one of them, we can help you determine if you qualify for compensation through a lawsuit instead. 

Who Is Liable for Birth Asphyxia Injuries?

Those responsible for causing injury through negligence, such as doctors, nurses, hospitals, or birth centers, can be named defendants. Identifying all potentially liable parties is key to maximizing your compensation. Our lawyers use litigation tools like expert testimony to establish the negligence of multiple providers, if applicable.  

How Is the Value of My Birth Asphyxia Case Determined?

In the aftermath of a birth asphyxia injury, parents face severe physical, financial, and emotional burdens. Understanding the types of compensation available is important for families on this complex legal journey. If your child has suffered from birth asphyxia due to medical negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Medical Expenses: A lawsuit may seek reimbursement for all past, current, and future medical expenses to ensure the child receives necessary medical attention for as long as needed, including medical treatments, surgeries, and therapy sessions. 
  • Pain and Suffering: Emotional and physical pain due to birth asphyxia and its effects are taken very seriously in these cases. These damages compensate for the overall reduced quality of life due to the injury. 
  • Loss of Future Earning Capacity: If a birth injury results in long-term or even permanent disabilities, the child may encounter limitations preventing them from pursuing a career or supporting themself. These damages offset such losses and help the child receive necessary support throughout their lives.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire a Lawyer for a Birth Asphyxia Case in Florida?

At FHVG,  we take all birth injury cases on contingency fees, meaning legal services cost nothing upfront. We only collect modest fees if we obtain compensation for the child and family to cover our costs. We have recovered over $2.6 billion for our deserving clients. Get started on your case today with a free consultation!

Contact Our Experienced Florida Birth Injury Lawyers for a Free Case Review

Coping with birth asphyxia’s devastating consequences is incredibly hard without legal guidance. Our experienced lawyers at FHVG can explain your legal options, provide skilled, aggressive representation, and help you protect your child’s rights. We are committed to fighting for parents during this challenging time. 

We offer free, no-obligation case reviews, and you won’t pay a dime until we settle your case. Put our 20+ years of experience to work for you. Call us at (954) 467-6400 or fill out a form online today.

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