Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)
Posted in Medical Malpractice on May 24, 2021
When a child sustains a birth injury during labor and delivery, he or she can develop permanent complications that require lifelong care. Many of these injuries occur due to the negligence of a medical professional, such as failure to diagnose a condition in a timely manner or failure to properly monitor the child’s vital signs.
One serious condition, known as persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), can result in life-threatening complications without prompt treatment. If your child develops PPHN and your doctor fails to adequately treat his or her condition, you can hold him accountable through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
What Is PPHN?
PPHN is a rare congenital heart defect that can lead to long-term complications. Without prompt identification of the condition, PPHN can be fatal. When a child is in the womb, he or she receives oxygen from the mother’s placenta. After birth, he or she must receive this oxygen from the air. PPHN occurs when a child does not adjust to breathing air after he or she is born. This prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching vital organs, such as the lungs and the heart.
There are certain factors that increase the risk of PPHN, including the following.
- Low blood sugar
- Inadequate oxygen during birth
- Maternal infections
- Low blood pressure
- Respiratory distress syndrome
- Congenital heart defects
- Preexisting lung defects
Failure to take in oxygen can result in permanent damage to the brain and other internal organs, and if a doctor fails to detect the condition in time, PPHN can be fatal. However, a medical professional can reduce the risk of death and permanent disability if he or she intervenes as soon as possible. Unfortunately, not all healthcare providers take the necessary steps to check for this condition, leaving a child without necessary treatment for a period of time.
Legal Options for PPHN Victims
If you lost your child or if your child developed permanent complications due to PPHN, you could experience significant hardship. You may need to pay for long-term medical care, miss weeks of work to care for your child, and provide accommodations for your child. The physical and emotional impact of PPHN can also be difficult to bear.
In these situations, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim. Through a lawsuit against the negligent doctor, you and your family can secure the compensatory damages necessary to treat your child’s condition and recover from the impact of the delayed PPHN diagnosis. These damages may include the following.
- Past and future medical expenses
- Disability accommodations
- The cost of live-in care
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Chronic pain and disability
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of care, love, and companionship
To recover these damages, you will need to prove that the at-fault party’s actions contributed to your child’s injury or death. Under Missouri law, you will need to have a healthcare provider to submit an affidavit stating that the at-fault doctor’s actions deviated from the accepted medical standard of care. You will also need to provide sufficient evidence to establish that the doctor owed your child a duty of care, breached his or her duty, and caused your child’s injury or death.
In these situations, a medical malpractice attorney can help. Your lawyer will understand how difficult the aftermath of a PPHN misdiagnosis can be and will handle all aspects of the claim so you and your family can focus on healing. Contact a Missouri birth injury lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.