Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, or HIE, occurs when an infant’s oxygen supply is cut off and/or blood flow is limited during delivery, resulting in brain damage. HIE, also known as birth asphyxia, is not always noticeable right away; as brain cells begin to die, a chain reaction occurs, leading to additional cells dying over a period of a few hours or days. Furthermore, doctors may not realize that a child has suffered a brain injury in the immediate aftermath of a difficult delivery, causing them to fail to begin crucial treatment right away. Parents may not even realize that their child has suffered an injury until he or she begins to show signs of developmental delays, leading to a delayed HIE diagnosis.
If you believe your child may have suffered a brain injury, such as HIE, due to a doctor’s negligent conduct during labor or delivery, contact LawMD. We have attorneys on staff who are also doctors, meaning we have a rich, in-depth understanding of both the legal and medical aspects of your situation. Our legal team is here to answer your questions and address your concerns as we help you assert your right to a fair recovery. While no financial recovery can ever “compensate” for the injuries your child has suffered, rightful compensation can allow you to provide your child with a better quality of life moving forward.
Call(888) 695-2963 to speak to A Washington, D.C. HIE attorney or contact us online for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation. We serve clients throughout the United States and have recovered millions for victims of birth injuries and medical malpractice.
How Does HIE Occur?
In the most basic sense, HIE occurs when a baby’s oxygen supply and/or blood flow is reduced or cut off. There are many ways in which this can happen.
Some relatively common causes of HIE include:
- Failure to monitor/respond to signs of fetal distress during labor/delivery
- Failure to order an emergency C-section
- Prolonged labor
- Premature birth
- Problems with the umbilical cord (such as compression)
- Placental abruption or placental previa
- Uterine rupture
- Medication errors (primarily with medications used to induce labor)
- Mismanagement of maternal complications, such as preeclampsia or gestational diabetes
- Failure to properly treat jaundice and other neonatal conditions
While HIE is not always the result of a doctor’s mistake, medical negligence does play a large role in HIE diagnoses. HIE is treatable, most often with therapeutic hypothermia, in which the infant’s body/brain is cooled down in order to stop the spread of dying cells. While this can be an effective treatment, it must be carried out promptly after the baby is born, typically within 24 hours of birth.
What to Do If You Believe Your Baby Has Suffered HIE
If you notice symptoms of HIE, such as issues breathing or eating, seizures, lack of normal reflexes, lack of alertness, or unusual muscle tone (both low and high), you should first seek medical attention. A doctor can provide testing and a proper diagnosis, as well as potential treatment or HIE management recommendations. If your child receives an HIE diagnosis and you believe a doctor or another medical professional is at fault, contact LawMD for a free and confidential consultation. Our attorneys can help you determine your legal options and pursue the justice you, your child, and your family deserve.
We are here to help. Call us at (888) 695-2963 or submit an online contact form today.