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Definitions

Birth asphyxia- also known as asphyxia neonatorum, it is the inability of an infant to establish regular respiration following birth. The condition results from an inadequate supply of oxygen to an infant while in the womb or during the delivery process. It is considered a medical emergency and immediate steps must be taken to establish respiration. Prompt treatment is essential to preventing long-term damage and fatality.

Hypothermia- condition in which core temperature drops below what is required for normal metabolism and body functions that is defined as 35○C (95○F).

Neural rescue- clinical treatments to reduce brain damage after birth asphyxia.

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)- a medical condition in which an inadequate oxygen supply causes damage to the cells of the brain and spinal cord. This condition occurs most frequently during or just before birth. When HIE does develop, the condition is life threatening and has the potential to cause serious and permanent brain damage. When a child suffers HIE before, during or just after childbirth, it is possible that medical malpractice is to blame.

Encephalopathy- literally means disorder or disease of the brain. Does not refer to a single disease, but rather to a syndrome of global brain dysfunction.

Standard of care- a diagnostic and treatment process that a clinician should follow for a certain type of patient, illness or clinical circumstance. The medical malpractice plaintiff must establish the appropriate standard of care and demonstrate that the standard of care has been breached.

Cerebral palsy (CP)- an umbrella term encompassing a group of non-progressive, non-contagious motor conditions that cause physical disability in human development, chiefly in the various areas of body movement.

Cool-cap system- an FDA-approved device for the treatment of HIE in term infants. Administered to newborns within the first six hours of life, treatment with the cool-cap system can prevent or significantly reduce the severity of neurological injury associated with HIE.

This resource page is provided by Dr. Bruce Fagel for your information. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.