How Much Compensation For Lack of Oxygen at Birth
While doctors, midwives and other medical staff are trained to spot problems during labour, sometimes mistakes are made. Sadly, when these errors cause a baby to be deprived of oxygen, there can devastating consequences.
If a midwife incorrectly interprets a baby’s heart rate and delivery is delayed, for example, the baby might be starved of oxygen. In the most serious of cases, this can cause brain damage, stillbirth or neonatal death.
If the way a baby’s birth was managed caused them to experience lack of oxygen at birth, they might be left with a serious life-altering condition. Oxygen deprivation can be caused by:
- Problems with the umbilical cord, for instance, if it becomes wrapped around the baby’s neck
- Failing to recognise that the baby is in distress and perform a Caesarean section
- The baby getting stuck in the birth canal
- Shoulder dystocia (where the baby’s shoulder gets stuck during birth)
Consequences of lack of oxygen at birth
If a baby is without sufficient oxygen, for whatever reason, this can have long-term effects on the infant and their family. Lack of oxygen at birth can cause a number of birth injuries and medical conditions including:
- Cerebral palsy (the most common brain injury associated with birth trauma)
- Attention deficit disorder (ADHD)
- Impaired sight
- Developmental disabilities
- Permanent injury to the brain, heart, lungs or other organs.
The lasting effects depend on how long the baby was without oxygen and how quickly they were treated afterwards. However, in more serious cases, it can lead to severe brain damage, including cerebral palsy.
Claiming compensation for lack of oxygen at birth
Sadly, the consequences of lack of oxygen at birth can last a lifetime. In cases of cerebral palsy or other more serious conditions caused by lack of oxygen at birth, children will usually need life-long support from a multi-disciplinary team. They will also require specialist treatment and equipment to help manage their condition and allow them to live as normal a life as possible.
Claiming compensation can help relieve the financial burden often associated with brain injury, by helping families meet the lifelong expenses associated with their child’s care.
It is impossible to predict how much compensation might be awarded in these kinds of claims without assessing the individual circumstances of each case. However, given the severity of brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen at birth, compensation settlements tend to be considerable. When calculating the value of a birth injury claim, a medical negligence solicitor will take into consideration:
- The severity of the child’s brain damage; while some children may experience slight learning difficulties, others may suffer from severe cognitive disorders with serious physical limitations.
- Any lost earnings, if the parent has taken time off work or stopped working completely to care for their child. The future loss of earnings of the child may also be taken into consideration if their employment prospects have been affected by their condition
- Medical and therapy costs
- The cost of adapting the family home
Specialist care, equipment and accommodation is very expensive. In the absence of a successful compensation claim, most families will struggle to cover the cost of these things.
Making a birth injury compensation claim with First Personal Injury
If your child has suffered as a result of lack of oxygen at birth, you may be entitled to compensation.
At First Personal Injury, our birth injury solicitors are experienced in dealing with this kind of claim. We will guide you through the legal process and be on-hand to address your emotional or practical concerns.