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What is hypoxia? When could it be linked to negligence?

If you've ever taken a basic biology or anatomy course, you no doubt learned about the important role oxygen plays in healthy development of the human brain and how necessary it is for daily life function. Hypoxia is a condition where a region of the body is deprived of needed oxygen. Organs can suffer damage within minutes.  

When can this happen? During the birth process in one time that serious injuries can occur if a delay deprives the infant's brain of oxygen. If you are having a baby, you need to be aware of the terminology. It can also occur in the case of delayed diagnosis or botched medical procedure. 

What happens to an oxygen-deprived brain?

If your child or loved one's brain does not get enough oxygen, there can be serious repercussions. Hypoxia may cause memory loss, or other cognitive problems, such as trouble focusing attention. The brain is also the hub component to full body movement, so lack of oxygen can impede the ability to move one or more body parts.

If an infant's brain does not get enough oxygen during the birth process, his or her brain cells can begin to die after just five minutes. The longer the oxygen deprivation, the more serious the symptoms and greater the long-term danger.

Other causes of brain hypoxia

Other situations that can place people at risk for severe brain hypoxia include near drowning episodes, suffocation, stroke or heart attack.

The brain is at risk of from hypoxia during a choking incident, drug overdose, in those with irregular heartbeat or if trauma affects the windpipe or lungs. For instance, if a loved one is in a car accident, he or she may experience lack of oxygen to the brain due to blunt force trauma injuries. In these cases, the amount of time is crucial. Seconds and minutes can make the difference in the severity of the injury. Delay can even prove fatal. 

Life after a brain injury

If you are the parent of an infant who survived a brain hypoxia or have a loved one who suffered this type of injury in a collision or during a surgery, the weeks and months following the injury may become a blur filled with worries as you gather a specialized team to provide initial and rehabilitative care. These injuries can be permanent, life-changing event and some do not fully recover.

When another person's negligence was a causal factor, financial compensation may be available to defray the costs of medical treatment as well as offset lost earnings potential and provide something toward pain and suffering. It is important to get legal advice as soon as possible to ensure that all potential legal claims can be heard. 

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310 Grant St. Suite 820
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Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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