My niece was born several months ago after a difficult delivery. The doctors in the NICU later told her parents that she had perinatal asphyxia and would haveto stay in the hospital. What is perinatal asphyxia?

Perinatal means the period of time immediately before and after birth.  Asphyxia is a lack of oxygen to the brain.  The diagnosis of perinatal asphyxia means the baby's brain wasn't getting enough oxygen just before or after birth.  Perinatal asphyxia can be a life threatening condition and can cause severe brain damage to the baby.  We have seen this diagnosis in some of our medical malpractice cases, and it can cause cerebral palsy, paralysis, blindness and other conditions in the baby.