What Is Hypoxia?
Hypoxia attorneys will tell you that in court the broadest definition possible is usually the best. Hypoxia means lack of oxygen. If you cannot get enough oxygen, you can get hypoxia or hypoxemia. This extremely dangerous condition can quickly kill or damage one of your main organs such as the brain, liver or heart.
When the oxygen levels in your blood are low, your tissues cannot get enough oxygen to sustain their functioning. This can occur rapidly, bringing about death quickly, or it can happen slowly, such as when climbing a mountain without proper breathing equipment.
How Many Types of Hypoxia Are There?
There are four types of hypoxia that healthcare officials and hypoxia attorneys should be familiar with and understand:
- Hypoxic Hypoxia: This can be caused by disease of by the environment. Diseases like emphysema and fibrosis can inhibit the blood stream from diffusing sufficient oxygen. Climbers on Mt. Everest or the early pilots and passengers of unpressurized aircraft are examples of environmentally caused hypoxic hypoxia.
- Anemic Hypoxia: This condition means that the blood is unable to carry sufficient supplies of oxygen. Carbon monoxide poisoning is an example of something that causes this condition.
- Circulatory Hypoxia: The lungs work well and the blood is able to carry sufficient amounts of oxygen if you suffer from this form. The heart, however, cannot pump enough blood to the organs. Arterial blockage and sickle cell anemia are examples of what causes this form of hypoxia.
The sometimes subtle differences among the types mean that hypoxia attorneys must work closely with medical consultants to understand the exact type and causes of the condition.
Each person reacts to hypoxia differently. Some of the most common symptoms are:
- Changes in skin color, including blue or cherry red
- Fast heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Shortness of breath
Any of these symptoms can result in death and must be treated as quickly as possible.
Asthma is one of the most common causes of hypoxia. During an asthma attack, your airway becomes constricted, making it difficult to breath and keeping oxygen from your lungs and tissues.
Lung disease, emphysema, and bronchitis also cause hypoxia. Other common ways a person can get hypoxia include:
- Medications that may restrict breathing
- Heart conditions
- Cyanide poisoning
Medical malpractice suits by hypoxia attorneys can be brought for improper duty of care surrounding the treatment or diagnosis of these causes.
The only treatment is getting more oxygen. This usually means an oxygen tank and a mask or small plug in your nose through which the oxygen is delivered. Someone suffering from hypoxia, once it is recognized, needs to keep track of his or her oxygen levels in some fashion. If the person exhibits any of the symptoms of hypoxia while under oxygen treatment, they need to call 911 immediately.
Inhalers or medicines are used to treat one of the most common causes of hypoxia, asthma. This opens up the airways and allows appropriate levels of oxygen to get to all the body’s organs and tissues.
Excessive oxygen can be dangerous, however. Too much oxygen causes eye injuries in infants. Divers can experience palsy and convulsions. Giving patients too much oxygen causes tissue damage.
Common Hypoxia Malpractice Lawsuits
Hypoxia attorneys most often try birth trauma cases. Doctors, particularly anesthesiologists, are very vulnerable to lawsuits surrounding hypoxia-related issues during childbirth or even pregnancy. Lifelong disabilities can result from this. The lack of oxygen can cause permanent brain damage. Cerebral palsy or mental retardation results from the oxygen deprivation.
The lifelong care needed often means large insurance company payouts and large fees for the victim and the hypoxia attorneys.