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Naples Personal Injury Attorney > Blog > Personal Injury Lawyer > Can A Parent Sue For Birth Asphyxia In Florida?

Can A Parent Sue For Birth Asphyxia In Florida?


Most parents love their children so much that they develop a built-in function that helps them foresee danger and find effective ways to prevent it. However, some dangers are not always foreseeable and out of parents’ hands. Quite a number of unforeseeable dangers occur during or right after a baby’s birth.

The day an individual is bringing their child into the world is usually one of the happiest days of their lives. Some parents value this day so much that they even chose to have the birth recorded. Apart from being happy, parents rarely expect complications during labor or delivery. But, complications during labor and delivery are far more common than people would care to accept. Doctors often do their best to prevent birth injuries, but, sometimes, these injuries happen, either because of circumstances beyond a doctor’s control or negligence. A birth injury such as birth asphyxia is, however, often preventable.

What Is Birth Asphyxia?

Asphyxia, as a term on its own means “lack of oxygen.” Birth asphyxia, therefore, is a condition that occurs when a baby is deprived of oxygen during or directly after birth. Another simple definition of birth asphyxia by the WHO is “the failure to establish breathing at birth.” Other names for birth asphyxia include neonatal asphyxia and perinatal asphyxia.

A baby’s brain, organs, and muscles highly depend on oxygen. Generally, a sufficient flow of oxygen is key to successful delivery. When a baby is deprived of oxygen, his or her cells cannot function properly. As a result, acids build up in the cells and cause damage.

Birth asphyxia can either be mild, moderate, or severe. Often, babies fully recover from mild and moderate cases of birth asphyxia. On the other hand, recovering from severe birth asphyxia can be hard. Severe birth asphyxia often leads to lifelong birth defects, disability, or death.

It is the duty of a medical professional to detect and treat birth asphyxia, and, often, doctors recognize birth asphyxia before or during delivery and take prompt action. Usually, when a doctor detects birth asphyxia, they choose to, among other things;

  • give the pregnant individual extra oxygen if the asphyxia occurs before delivery
  • perform emergency or cesarean delivery
  • put the newborn on a respirator

According to research, the rate of perinatal asphyxia is high in developing countries and low in developed countries. Research suggests that the rate is 2 in 1000 births in developed countries but ten times higher in developing countries where access to maternal and neonatal care is limited.

Causes of Birth Asphyxia

Birth asphyxia can be a result of several factors. Some cases of birth asphyxia occur due to unavoidable circumstances, while others occur due to negligence. Some of the common causes of birth asphyxia include:

  • Blocked or defective airway
  • Lengthy, strenuous, or difficult birth
  • Compression of the umbilical cord
  • Infection during labor
  • Premature birth
  • Anemia (baby’s blood cells being too low or unable to carry sufficient oxygen)
  • Lack of enough oxygen in the pregnant person’s blood
  • Uterine rupture
  • Hypoxemia (very little oxygen in the pregnant person’s blood)

Signs of Birth Asphyxia

Some of the recognizable signs of birth asphyxia include;

  • No breathing
  • Blue or pale skin on the infant
  • Weak reflexes
  • Weak breathing
  • Poor muscle tone
  • Fecal matter in amniotic fluid

Can You Sue for Birth Asphyxia in Florida?

Medical professionals and facilities owe their patients a duty of care. For example, a doctor owes you the duty of care to notice symptoms of birth asphyxia and provide the necessary treatment. When a hospital or medical professional causes harm to a baby because of acting in a manner below a generally accepted standard of medical care, a lawsuit can be filed. Generally, you can sue a medical professional or facility for birth asphyxia if medical negligence is involved.

Some examples of acts that constitute medical negligence in the case of birth asphyxia include;

  • Staff failing to provide oxygen to a baby on time
  • A doctor prescribing unsafe medication to a pregnant person
  • A doctor failing to perform a necessary emergency or cesarean delivery
  • A hospital allowing an incompetent staff member to provide care

It is important for you to speak to an attorney with experience in birth-related injuries if you believe your child’s birth asphyxia condition occurred due to medical negligence. An experienced attorney can assess the circumstances surrounding the birth of your baby and determine if all possible steps to prevent asphyxia were taken.

Contact a Naples Personal Injury Attorney

Even though each case’s details are different, the bottom line is that birth asphyxia can have expensive, long-lasting, and difficult effects on a child and their parent(s). If you believe medical negligence caused your baby’s asphyxia and the resulting damages, contact one of our Naples personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro, P.A., today at 239-649-8050 to discuss your case. If you are eligible for compensation, we can help you file a successful lawsuit and obtain the compensation you deserve.



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