Inhaling the Facts: Too Much Oxygen is Just as Deadly as Not Enough Oxygen

Take a deep breath. Now exhale. Feel better? Many people don’t stop to appreciate the endless supply of air on our planet – one of the necessities we absolutely cannot live without. We can go days without food or water but if there’s no oxygen entering our bodies every second, there’s no chance for survival.


So when a medical emergency arises, breathing and pulse rate are considered to be two of the most prime vital signs medical professionals tend to. Many conditions and health issues such as infection, congenital heart disease, brain blood vessel abnormality, and cardiovascular collapse can lead to oxygen problems.


What is Hypoxia and Hyperoxemia?

When the body is deprived of oxygen, it is called hypoxia. Interestingly enough, the ironic thing about needing oxygen to breathe is that although we need it, it can also be our kryptonite. You see, in some cases, oxygen can also be deadly. When a patient receives too much oxygen, they can suffer from hyperoxemia – a condition in which the body garners an excessive amount of oxygen.


Brain Damage at Birth from Hypoxia or Hyperoxemia

These conditions are often associated with birth injuries, sometimes due to medical mistakes. If the doctors neglect to monitor the baby’s oxygen supply, or fail to diagnose a low pulse rate, hypoxia may occur. In turn, if the doctor is attempting to resuscitate a baby, allowing oxygen into the lungs for a prolonged period can result in hyperoxemia.




Hypoxia and hyperoxemia are both deadly conditions and can result in severe brain damage, bringing about health conditions like cerebral palsy.
While checkup appointments are necessary for monitoring the baby’s growth throughout the pregnancy, labor is the most critical time for ensuring the baby’s health. Babies can experience hypoxia if:


  • The baby’s airway is blocked
  • The umbilical cord compresses or prolapses during labor or delivery
  • The birth process is long or difficult
  • The uterus ruptures
  • The mother’s blood pressure is too low or too high
  • The mother’s blood has an insufficient amount of oxygen
  • The infant has anemia


Once recognized, hypoxemia can be treated by:zev2

  • Performing an emergency C-section
  • Resuscitation
  • Hypo-or-hyperthermia management
  • Fluid management
  • Ensuring adequate ventilation
  • Cooling therapy


If your child suffered a brain injury at birth, it might be beneficial for you to speak with a cerebral palsy attorney to see if you have a case. Our law firm is highly experienced in representing cases involving birth injuries. Call us today to speak with one of our Baltimore-based cerebral palsy injury lawyers.

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