Skip to main content

View more from News & Articles or Primerus Weekly

Written By:  James C. Lewis, Esq.

Shapiro, Lewis, & Appleton

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Imagine you’re in the hospital and you or a loved one is giving birth. Nine months have been spent nurturing the fetus and making sure that your child will arrive in this world as safe and quickly as possible. But something goes wrong; an error is made and your child is deprived of oxygen during birth. Sadly, such an event can have permanent, disabling effects on your newborn baby.

Oxygen deprivation at birth, also known as hypoxia or hypoxic injury, routinely leads to your newborn suffering permanent injuries such as brain damage, kidney damage, liver damage, or a whole host of other awful injuries. How does hypoxia occur? Well, it can be brought about by the negligence of clinicians who fail to look out for maternal or fetal complications capable of initiating a series of events that inhibit normal blood flow to the brain of your child during birth.

Some examples of complications that can lead to your baby’s oxygen deprivation injury include:

(i) Hypertension

(ii) The expecting mother develops high blood pressure and protein in the urine late in the pregnancy

(iii) Type I diabetes

(iv) Deficiency of amniotic fluid

(v) Growth impedance of the child during pregnancy

(vi) Post-dated pregnancy or

(vii) Insufficient blood flow to the placenta

If you or your loved one has a child who suffered an oxygen deprivation injury during birth, you should consider speaking to a medical malpractice lawyer to determine your legal options. There may have been a complication or mistake made during the birth that could have been prevented by the doctor and/or nurses.

Below are some potential negligent acts that may have contributed to your child’s hypoxic injury:

  • Failure to take proper and timely medical evaluations during the antepartum period and labor to assess the health of your newborn.
  • Failure to identify high-risk factors for hypoxia.
  • Failure to notice fetal distress in your newborn’s fetal heart rate pattern
  • Failure to address the cause of the fetal distress.
  • Whether the physician should have reasonably anticipated the oxygen deprivation that led to your child’s brain damage, given the abnormal patterns shown by the electronic fetal monitor.

Our medical negligence law firm understands the pain and agony associated with a birth injury. We represented a mother whose child suffered a life-altering, permanent shoulder injury and we were able to establish that the nurse-midwife was negligent during the birth. We successfully tried the case in front of a jury and secured a $2.3 million jury verdict for the child and mother.

For more information about Shapiro, Lewis, & Appleton, please visit or the International Society of Primerus Law Firms.