If you live near Halifax, Nova Scotia and your newborn child has been injured by birth asphyxia, schedule a legal consultation as quickly as possible to find out if your child’s injuries may have been caused by medical negligence. You can speak with a Halifax birth injury lawyer at no charge.

Birth asphyxia, also referred to as perinatal asphyxia, is a medical condition that results from a newborn infant not receiving enough oxygen that lasts long enough to cause harm or physical injury. Deprivation of oxygen can damage the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, and blood vessels.

What can a parent do if medical negligence caused your child’s birth asphyxia? When should a parent contact a Halifax medical malpractice lawyer? If you’ll read this brief discussion of birth asphyxia, medical negligence, and your family’s rights, you may find the answers you are looking for.

What Are the Statistics?

The World Health Organization reports that birth asphyxia is a leading cause of newborn deaths in developing countries, where four to nine million cases of birth asphyxia are reported each year. Globally, over one million children die every year from complications of birth asphyxia.

Thirty-eight infants in Nova Scotia died from reasons related to birth asphyxia in 2019, according to the most current figures available from Statistics Canada, the national statistical agency, and forty-six infants in Nova Scotia died from birth asphyxia complications in 2020. These numbers don’t include the dozens of children that survived, but suffered permanent and disabling injuries like cerebral palsy.

What Causes Birth Asphyxia?

Medical mistakes may cause birth asphyxia. Medical negligence is always avoidable with proper neonatal and obstetric care. Birth asphyxia may affect a victim’s quality of life, the ability to work, and even the capacity to live independently.

If the birth asphyxia is severe, the result may be fatal, or the child may suffer life-long neurological disabilities such as cerebral palsy. Birth asphyxia can happen for a number of reasons. It may occur before or during a child’s birth for reasons including but not limited to:

  1.  Insufficient oxygen in a mother’s blood;
  2.  Mother’s low blood pressure;
  3.  Premature separation of the placenta from the uterus (called “placental abruption”); and
  4.  Umbilical cord compression (which decreases blood flow).

Birth asphyxia can also happen after a child’s birth for reasons that include but are not limited to:

  1.  Severe anemia;
  2.  Low blood cell count or low blood pressure;
  3.  Respiratory difficulties that reduce oxygen intake; and
  4.  Lung or heart disease.

What Should You Do if Your Child Has Suffered Birth Asphyxia?

A failure to treat birth asphyxia in a timely manner may prompt a medical malpractice claim. If a doctor does not meet the accepted professional care standard when diagnosing and treating birth asphyxia, and a misdiagnosis or the failure to diagnose causes injury or harm, that failure is malpractice.

If your baby’s doctor did not take appropriate steps to prevent or treat birth asphyxia, and if your baby then developed birth asphyxia that caused injury, you may have a compelling medical malpractice case, and you must schedule a legal consultation as quickly as possible with a Halifax birth injury lawyer.

Your lawyer can ask medical experts to determine what caused the birth asphyxia. Only a careful review of the delivery records, fetal monitor strips, and other medical evidence can determine if the actions of the doctor and the delivery team were responsible for a child’s birth asphyxia.

A lot of lawyers advertise that they represent individuals and families in medical malpractice cases, but only a small number of lawyers in Canada have the experience, knowledge, training, and resources to handle a medical malpractice claim arising from birth asphyxia. Consider retaining a lawyer who is a member of the Birth Injury Lawyers Alliance, the only group providing birth trauma litigation services across Canada.

Should You File a Claim for Medical Malpractice?

If your child has been diagnosed with birth asphyxia, you must take your case immediately to a Halifax medical malpractice lawyer with considerable experience advising and representing the families of birth asphyxia victims.

When a birth injury is the result of medical malpractice, parents have a right to reimbursement for the extraordinary expenses for their child’s treatment and other costs. Your lawyer will determine which person or persons are liable and will help you decide if filing a lawsuit is a practical and effective path forward.

The statute of limitations – that is, the deadline – for filing a medical malpractice claim in Nova Scotia is usually two years from the date you learned of the injury. But if your child is under a disability caused by medical negligence, the time limit to file a claim may be suspended as long as the child is under a disability. However, you cannot wait two years to speak about your child’s birth asphyxia with a medical malpractice lawyer.

Your medical malpractice lawyer needs to examine the medical records at once and to speak with the witnesses immediately. Over time, memories fade and evidence can disappear. Don’t wait two years or even two weeks. If your child is diagnosed with birth asphyxia, act at once.

How Does a Medical Malpractice Claim Succeed?

In or near Halifax, should a child’s parent or parents file a medical malpractice claim based on birth asphyxia, that claim will succeed only if a lawyer can prove that a health care provider’s negligence was a cause of the birth asphyxia.

Medical malpractice lawsuits are civil actions that seek financial damages to reimburse a family’s losses. To prevail with a medical malpractice claim, your lawyer must prove these three elements of the claim:

  1.  What is the standard of care required of the medical professional that delivered your baby?
  2.  That your medical provider (or medical facility) failed to meet the accepted standard of care; and
  3.  The patient’s health suffered, or the patient sustained harm or injury because of the medical provider’s failure to meet the standard of care.

Don’t Let Financial Concerns Stand in Your Way

You may be dealing with excessive medical expenses due to birth asphyxia, but do not let financial concerns prevent you from pursuing justice. Your medical malpractice lawyer will not charge any fees unless and until your lawyer wins compensation for your child.

Your lawyer’s fee is usually a percentage of the compensation your family recovers, and if you are not compensated at the end of the process, your lawyer doesn’t get paid. A first case evaluation is also offered with no obligation or cost to the parents of children who develop birth asphyxia.

That first evaluation is a parent’s chance to obtain personalized advice and to find out how the law applies in your own case. If your newborn has developed birth asphyxia, contact a Nova Scotia medical malpractice lawyer for a free initial case evaluation, and make that call today.