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Perinatal Asphyxia

Medical Malpractice Attorneys Serving Upstate New York

Perinatal asphyxia occurs if a baby is deprived of oxygen and does not breathe normally before, during, or after birth. It can lead to brain or cardiorespiratory damage. In some cases, asphyxia is fatal because brain cells may start dying within five minutes of being deprived of oxygen. Perinatal asphyxia can also cause long-term damage, such as cerebral palsy, seizures, delayed development, or intellectual disabilities. If your baby was harmed by perinatal asphyxia and related disorders because of a health care provider’s medical negligence, you should talk to the Upstate New York birth injury lawyers at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano about your situation. We have more than 30 years of experience representing injured children and their families in cities such as Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, and Albany.

Perinatal Asphyxia

Babies with perinatal asphyxia may be born limp or quiet. They may experience acidosis, which can lead to other problems. If a baby stops breathing for any length of time, there is a risk of brain damage that results in cerebral palsy or seizures. The length of oxygen deprivation and the part of the brain that is affected will influence the extent of the damage.

Liability for Birth Injuries Resulting from Perinatal Asphyxia

To hold your health care provider liable for failing to diagnose or treat perinatal asphyxia, you will need to prove that your health care provider breached the professional standard of care, and the breach caused your baby’s perinatal asphyxia. In most cases, your lawyer will need to retain an expert or experts to provide their opinions about whether these elements are met.

The professional standard of care in a birth injury case will be determined by looking at the accepted medical practices of providers who are in the same specialty and geographic location as the defendant. If, for example, it is the accepted medical standard for an obstetrician to conduct an emergency C-section in response to fetal distress arising out of a pinched umbilical cord during labor in Upstate New York, and your obstetrician failed to do that, this is a breach of the professional standard of care. An expert will need to review your medical records, the baby’s medical records, and the facts to determine whether there has been a breach of the professional standard of care.

Severe asphyxia can manifest as breathing difficulty, seizures, poor arousal, or cyanosis. Once a baby has signs of perinatal asphyxia, they should be tested. It may be necessary to consult a specialist about which treatments are needed. A doctor’s failure to test a baby with signs of perinatal asphyxia may breach the professional standard of care, since asphyxia may worsen without treatment.

Similarly, if your doctor fails to treat diagnosed perinatal asphyxia appropriately, there may be a breach of the professional standard of care. Other treatments that may be needed include nitric oxide, a breathing tube, hypothermia, kidney support with dialysis, IV nutrition, seizure medication, and blood pressure medication. When signs of severe perinatal asphyxia are noticed, a health care provider may attempt to reverse brain damage by placing the infant in a hyperbaric oxygen tank so that their body can be flooded with as much oxygen as it can be. A failure to do so may constitute medical malpractice.


Perinatal asphyxia can vary in severity. Babies with mild asphyxia may recover fully, but when there is a longer period without oxygen, a baby may sustain damage to their brain, lungs, heart, bowels, and other organs. If we can establish liability, we may be able to recover compensatory damages on behalf of your baby and you. The amount of damages that you can recover in a birth injury lawsuit depends on the severity of the injuries and the treatment that is needed. Damages may include concrete expenses, such as medical bills, rehabilitation, surgery, therapies, and lifelong care, as well as intangible losses like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Consult a Dedicated Birth Injury Lawyer in Upstate New York

Perinatal asphyxia can have devastating consequences. Your family may not be prepared for the emotional or financial costs of a catastrophic injury. If your baby suffered from perinatal asphyxia as a result of medical negligence in Upstate New York, you should consult the seasoned birth injury 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.