Hypoxia is another word for oxygen starvation, and often used by the medical profession when talking about babies who have suffered a lack of oxygen supply during their mother's pregnancy or labour, or at the time of their birth. New born babies, being as extraordinary and as tough as they are, can cope and compensate for a brief period of time when they are not getting enough oxygen. It depends on whether the oxygen supply is completely cut off - an "acute insult", or partially cut off - a "chronic partial insult" as to how long a baby can cope. Once that point is reached and the baby can no longer compensate, brain tissue starts to be damaged and can cause cerebral palsy and other health problems. The longer the period of oxygen starvation, the worse the damage can get.
There are a number of events during pregnancy, labour and birth that can lead to a cut off of the oxygen supply to your baby. The important thing is whether the doctors or midwives should have recognised this and acted sooner to deliver your baby to prevent brain damage setting in. This is how many claims made by children with cerebral palsy begin - the medical professionals failing to respond to signs that they were suffering with hypoxia during their mother's labour and at their birth.
When babies have been born following a period of hypoxia, they are often in poor condition. Sometimes they are described as "floppy" or "grey/blue", and often require resuscitation. In the newborn period, they can develop abnormal movements and fits, which indicates that there has been some damage to the brain. Doctors often describe this condition in newborns as 'hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy' or 'HIE'.
If any of this sounds familiar and you would like to discuss it with one of our experienced solicitors, then contact us and let us talk to you about how we can help you get the answers and compensation you deserve.