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Fetal Hypoxia

Upstate New York Lawyers Assisting Injured Children

Fetal hypoxia occurs if a fetus is deprived of sufficient oxygen while being born. Fetal hypoxia can cause significant complications that can follow a baby throughout their life. Your health care provider should be carefully monitoring the fetus while you are delivering. If you believe that your baby suffered a birth injury as a result of fetal hypoxia that your doctor failed to diagnose or treat, you should consult the Upstate New York birth injury lawyers at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano. We represent people in Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, Buffalo, and other areas of Upstate New York.

Fetal Hypoxia

Asphyxia and hypoxia are terms used to describe inadequate oxygen supply. A fetus may be deprived of oxygen for many reasons during labor or pregnancy. Fetal hypoxia can be a result of a placental infarction, low maternal oxygen levels, or umbilical cord prolapse. It might be caused by a doctor who misuses or over-administers Pitocin. Fetal hypoxia can cause intrauterine growth retardation or brain injuries.

Doctors may be able to detect fetal hypoxia through monitoring; a baby’s lack of oxygen may show up as a reduced or erratic fetal heart rate, or there may be less movement. When fetal hypoxia is a result of medical negligence or left untreated, it may be possible to recover damages by bringing a birth injury lawsuit.


To hold a health care provider liable for birth injuries arising from fetal hypoxia, your attorney will need to prove that each of the following is more likely than not: the defendant owed your child a professional duty of care; the defendant departed from the professional standard of care; and the departure caused your child’s injuries and damages. The professional standard of care depends on what other Upstate New York providers in the same specialty as the defendant would have done under similar circumstances.

Health care providers may depart from the professional standard of care in many different ways. For example, a doctor who allows a mother with gestational diabetes to go beyond her delivery date risks the placenta not functioning; the placenta provides oxygen-rich blood to the baby. For another example, a nurse’s failure to monitor a mother’s blood pressure might result in her failing to notice a risk to the baby’s oxygen levels.

When a baby is born with fetal hypoxia, they may have breathing trouble, pale or blue skin, weak muscle tone, a weak cry, and bad reflexes. A doctor should notice these issues and treat them immediately. If fetal hypoxia is not addressed or treated as quickly as possible, the result may be brain injuries, such as cerebral palsy or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. The amount of time that a baby does not breathe determines how much the oxygen is reduced. When a child stops breathing for longer than six months, they are declared medically brain dead. Sometimes fetal hypoxia results in death.

Damages for Injuries Arising from Fetal Hypoxia

Once brain damage sets in as a result of severe hypoxia, the treatment costs may be immense, and the toll that it takes on your family may be serious. However, tangible costs can be recovered by establishing liability. You may also be able to recover an amount that attempts to quantify the emotional harm sustained as a result of the undiagnosed or untreated fetal hypoxia. Compensatory damages can include economic losses, such as medical care, rehabilitation, therapy, or around-the-clock care. They can also include non-economic losses like pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life. Parents may experience significant emotional distress and need therapy to address difficulties in caring for a child with brain damage; these losses may also be recovered.

Discuss Your Case With an Upstate New York Attorney

Your baby’s oxygen supply should be a priority for your medical team. Fetal heart monitoring is used to keep track of a fetus’ oxygen levels. A doctor or nurse’s misinterpretation or ignoring of signs of fetal hypoxia can result in a brain injury. After a baby is born, their health care team should also be alert to the possibility of fetal hypoxia. If your baby was injured due to your health care provider’s failure to diagnose or treat fetal hypoxia, you should consult the experienced attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano. Contact us at 833-200-2000 or via our online form.

Client Reviews
Mr. Falgiatano was very professional and did an incredible job when he worked with my family on our case. He met with us numerous times and was available when we called with questions. He explained the whole legal process to us and made sure we made the correct decision for my family! I could not thank Mr. Falgiatano enough and he is the only lawyer for my family! Jeff M.
Jeff Defrancisco and his team represented me after a bad fall while working on a construction site. They were always available to answer any and all questions and they genuinely cared regarding my health and were very sincere in helping me attain a settlement that far exceeded my expectations. My family and I received an amazing outcome and they are by far the best in the business. I highly recommend hiring their firm. Justin M.
I cannot thank DeFrancisco and Falgiatano enough! Charlie Falgiatano took my case and i couldn't have done it without him. I highly recommend this team of lawyers especially, Charlie. I will forever be grateful for him and because of him, all the time and effort he put into my case, my son can have a much easier life. Charlies understand, patient, kind, and one of the best people I know. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Katie C.