Apnea and bradycardia are birth injuries that can potentially lead to serious complications. If your newborn has been diagnosed with apnea and bradycardia, it is important to understand what to expect. In some cases, doctor malpractice can lead to apnea and bradycardia or worsen the condition. If you believe provider malpractice led to your infant’s condition, contact a Connecticut apnea and bradycardia lawyer right away to review your legal options.
Apnea is a medical condition that is characterized by periods of not breathing for 20 seconds or longer. While it is most common during sleep, newborns can experience apnea at all times of the day. During periods of apnea, a newborn’s skin may turn pale or begin to turn blue. With preemies, apnea is also commonly called apnea of prematurity (AOP).
Bradycardia is the medical term for an unusually low heart rate caused by a drop in a newborn’s blood oxygen level. A typical heart rate for a newborn is anywhere from 120 to 160 beats per minute, which is two to three times the normal rate for a healthy adult. In a typical case, a newborn will experience intermittent periods of bradycardia for up to the first two or three months of life.
Apnea and bradycardia are linked because not breathing (apnea) can reduce a newborn’s blood oxygen level, which can in turn lower his or her heart rate (bradycardia). In fact, they are so closely linked that the medical profession often refers to apnea and bradycardia as “As and Bs.”
Apnea and bradycardia can have a number of different causes. They are most common among premature babies who are born without fully developed nervous systems and who, generally speaking, are more vulnerable to health complications. However, they are potential risks for all newborns. The causes of apnea and bradycardia include:
In many situations, apnea and bradycardia can be avoided with appropriate medical care. By the same token, improper medical care can cause – or worsen – the effects of apnea and bradycardia. For example, common medical errors associated with apnea and bradycardia include:
Newborns diagnosed with apnea and bradycardia can typically avoid long-term effects with appropriate management of their medical care. Once babies’ central nervous systems fully develop, they can effectively “outgrow” the breathing challenges they faced during their first few weeks or months. However, if not properly managed, apnea and bradycardia can cause lasting, and potentially permanent, complications. In particular, the reduced oxygen flow associated with apnea and bradycardia can lead to brain damage and developmental disabilities.
In relatively rare cases, apnea and bradycardia can also increase a newborn’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other potentially fatal complications.
If your newborn has been diagnosed with apnea and bradycardia, you should:
You will need to take your child to a new doctor. To ensure that your doctor is able to assist with your family’s medical malpractice claim, we recommend that you contact us for a referral. We can recommend several specialists who have offices throughout Connecticut.
We can help you get an appointment scheduled quickly. This is important for both protecting your child’s wellbeing and preserving your family’s legal rights. Once you have an appointment scheduled, be sure to go and get there on time.
After obtaining treatment for your child, your next priority should be pursuing your family’s medical malpractice claim. While our apnea and bradycardia lawyers will be able to handle the majority of this process for you, they will also need your help. Our lawyers will explain everything you need to know, and they will guide you through the process of helping them fight for the compensation your family deserves.
If your child has been diagnosed with apnea and bradycardia, we strongly recommend that you speak with an attorney about your family’s legal rights. Even short-term treatment costs can be significant. And if your child is at risk for long-term or permanent complications, the financial toll could become insurmountable.
At Berkowitz Hanna, we represent families throughout Connecticut in birth injury claims against their health care providers. We are intimately familiar with the medical issues associated with apnea, bradycardia, and other birth injuries, and we have an extensive record of helping families secure just compensation. We work with trusted doctors who can accurately diagnose the cause and potential long-term effects of your newborn’s condition, and our Connecticut apnea and bradycardia lawyers will work with you one-on-one to explain your options and make sure you remain fully informed every step of the way. Schedule a free consultation today to get started.