If asked to list the most important elements for our bodies to function correctly, oxygen would likely be at the top. It fuels every process in our bodies to some degree. Consequently, lack of oxygen can cause significant and frightening injuries, even if only deprived for a very short time. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of hypoxia, or oxygen loss, so that immediate and long-term steps can be taken. If you or a loved one develops injuries from oxygen deprivation, you may be able to obtain compensation.
Severe Oxygen Deprivation Causes and Symptoms
Severe oxygen deprivation in babies and children usually stems from some injury sustained at birth. Head trauma is usually the most common cause, but other more specific problems may develop, such as Erb’s palsy, and in some cases, cerebral palsy, though most cases of cerebral palsy develop in utero. Some physicians allege a link between oxygen deprivation at birth and autism, but medical science has not conclusively confirmed that.
Mild and moderate oxygen deprivation, while something that requires monitoring, will not usually leave the sufferer with any long-lasting effects, though sometimes there will be a noticeable impairment in short-term memory. Cognitive deficits may appear in a moderate case, but it is not until severe deprivation has occurred that you begin to see symptoms such as seizures and brain injury.
What You Should Do
If you believe your child has suffered injury due to oxygen deprivation at birth, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice in Kentucky is defined as the instance when a physician does not adhere to the prevailing standard of care and their patient suffers injury as a result. The statute of limitations on filing an action is one year from either the date of the injury, or a date where the injury ought to reasonably have been discovered.
In most cases where an injury resulted from oxygen deprivation, especially in the case of babies, a case can be made that the standard of care has been breached. Kentucky has somewhat more lax rules than many other states, in that no special rules are imposed upon expert witnesses in malpractice cases. Nor is there a damage cap on what an injured patient can receive – many states impose limits on either actual or punitive damage amounts that can be recovered in the event of success at trial, but as of this writing, Kentucky has no caps. In this way, the state’s laws are a bit more friendly to plaintiffs than many others – the power of the medical lobby has led to very short statutes of limitations and sharp damage caps in many other states throughout the country.
Contact a Birth Injury Attorney
Birth injury cases can be extremely expensive to mount on your own, especially if you are dealing with the trauma of injury to yourself or your child. The attorneys at Meinhart, Smith & Manning, PLLC can help you. We have a history of excellence in malpractice cases, and will do our best for you. Contact us today.