Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)

Ava Lawson | December 14th, 2012 | Posted in Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit News

Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) involves irreparable damage to the brain and spinal cord due to an inadequate oxygen supply. Also associated with birth asphyxia, HIE results when the fetal brain is deprived of oxygen either before or during the birth process.

This oxygen deprivation causes cell death and damage within the brain, which may lead to long-term health problems such as cerebral palsy, developmental delays and other catastrophic birth injuries.

If your newborn has suffered from HIE-related birth injuries, it’s crucial to find out the primary cause of the oxygen deprivation. In some situations, medical mistakes by inexperienced health care practitioners can lead to such preventable birth injuries.

At Balkin & Eisbrouch, we represent victims of birth injury malpractice, giving hope to parents and children who have suffered through no fault of their own. A birth injury attorney will determine if hospital error was the leading factor in your child’s impairment and may suggest an HIE lawsuit if negligence played a role.

Causes of HIE

There are several possible factors that may cause fetal oxygen deprivation, including:

  • Frequent/strong uterine contractions induced by Pitocin
  • Fetal distress
  • Delayed or untimely C-section
  • Complications linked to shoulder dystocia
  • Umbilical cord injuries
  • Ruptured uterus
  • Placental abruption
  • Prolonged labor
  • Doctor negligence

A lack of oxygen may harm other organs besides the brain. In addition to symptoms of brain injury, delivery room staff must also look out for cardiac arrhythmia, elevated liver enzymes, kidney damage, unusual feeding, or impaired breathing in an infant that experienced prolonged asphyxia during labor. Babies who experience HIE may develop complications with heart, liver or kidney function.

HIE diagnosis and treatment

HIE injuries are often immediately evident with symptoms ranging from seizures to unconsciousness. The degree and location of the brain injury will determine whether the child develops cerebral palsy, or other types of health complications. Doctors may order CT scans, MRIs, EEGs, and other tests to help diagnose the underlying causes of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.

Treatment for HIE is largely supportive care, which may include hypothermia treatments, medication for seizures, and rehabilitation – depending on the severity and extent of the condition.

Birth injury attorney

If doctor error or hospital negligence is the suspected cause of your child’s injuries, you may be entitled to compensation. Monetary damages awarded in an HIE lawsuit can help recover the significant expenses that come with raising a special needs child.

Balkin & Eisbrouch have more than 40 years experience litigating cases involving birth injury malpractice. Our dedicated birth injury attorney team understands the emotional and economic hardships you have endured. Please contact us today for a free consultation.