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Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension in Newborns (PPHN)

Babies still in the womb receive oxygen through the umbilical cord. Due to naturally high blood pressure in the lungs of infants, blood in the pulmonary artery is sent to other organs through a fetal blood vessel called the ductus arteriosus. After babies are born, their bodies naturally change; the ductus arteriosus closes, the lungs begin to work, and the heart pumps blood throughout the entire body. When a newborn infant’s circulation system is unable to adjust to breathing outside of the womb after birth, persistent pulmonary hypertension in newborns (PPHN) occurs. This means that the infant’s lungs fail to supply air to the rest of the body, which often results in hypoxemia, or low blood oxygen levels.

If your baby was born with PPHN, you may be able to seek compensation. Medical staff or even drug manufacturers may be responsible for your baby’s injuries. Let our Houston birth injury lawyers pursue justice.

Symptoms of PPHN

The symptoms of PPHN manifest in the heart or lungs and include the following:

  • Difficult breathing
  • Low blood oxygen levels
  • Heart murmurs
  • Rapid breathing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Bluish skin (cyanosis)

To determine whether or not a baby has PPHN, doctors will perform imaging and laboratory tests.

Tests may include the following:

  • Ultrasound of the heart or head
  • Complete blood count
  • Chest X-ray

Types of Treatment

Babies suffering from PPHN are treated in NICU. These treatments help babies gain normal use of their lungs and encourage blood flow.

Potential treatment options for PPH in newborns:

  • Oxygen Therapy: Your baby may receive 100% supplemental oxygen through a plastic hood or mask.
  • Assisted Ventilation: A ventilator takes over breathing via a tube inserted through the baby’s windpipe.
  • Nitric Oxide: This gas, shown to relax lung blood vessels and improve blood flow, is given through a ventilator.
  • High-Frequency Oscillatory Ventilation: If other forms of ventilation are ineffective, this type may help.

Even babies who undergo prompt treatment of PPHN may still be at risk of short and long-term injury. These injuries may include heart failure, shock, organ damage, hearing loss, or developmental disorders. Due to the serious and potentially long-term effects of PPHN, it is crucial that you seek legal counsel and guidance so that you can work to obtain the compensation that will cover care, medical expenses, treatments, and more.

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Involving PPHN

There are many reasons why a plaintiff could pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit involving PPHN. For example, a family could pursue a lawsuit if the doctor failed to recognize the symptoms of a PPHN complication. While failing to recognize PPHN is serious malpractice, new practitioners may be unable to catch the signs of PPHN promptly.

For instance, a delivery doctor may identify that a newborn infant is having trouble breathing because of the umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s neck. Because elongated asphyxia can cut off a baby’s supply of oxygen, the doctor may decide to wait to run tests since they believe the cause of the hypoxemia is already determined, rather than further investigate the cause of the infant’s hypoxemia.

If the cause of the hypoxemia is PPHN, the doctor may not realize that until the situation worsens. Time is of the essence, and their failure to take the symptoms seriously may cause the child to sustain permanent injury. In this situation, medical malpractice is easily identified as the cause of avoidable medical injury. Therefore, the family may have grounds to pursue a medical malpractice claim.

Billions of Dollars Won. Call Arnold & Itkin!

If your child has suffered PPHN, this is no doubt traumatic. Talk to your doctor about what might have caused PPHN. There are some instances in which the affected family may be able to take legal action to procure compensation. Many infants with PPH will recover normally in time, but around 25% of newborns with PPH will have lasting neurological developmental issues such as hearing loss. Talk to your doctor to learn more about this condition, and do not hesitate to seek legal advice from a capable Houston PPHN attorney at our firm. With years of experience and billions of dollars won on behalf of our clients, we are dedicated to fighting to make sure you and your loved ones are cared for.

Contact us to find out if you have a viable case. Our firm is ready to help.

Contact Arnold & Itkin

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