What Is Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy?
Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is the damage to brain due to lack of oxygen supply to the fetus. If the damage to the baby's brain occurs during the delivery process, it is also known as perinatal encephalopathy. The injury may cause serious brain damage resulting in cerebral palsy or mental retardation of the baby, since the brain cells may start dying due to lack of oxygen. Generally, the longer the duration of oxygen deprivation for the child, the more serious are the conditions resulting from it. The brain of a fetus depends on the oxygen it is supplied to fulfill its needs. When the oxygen supply is cut or reduced for a baby, it has a risk of developing HIE.
If your child suffered an HIE injury because of a medical provider's negligence, your child may be entitled to compensation for both their physical injury and so they can receive the medical services they require and deserve. Depending on how the Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy occurred, this birth injury may have been preventable.
Call 315-479-9000 to schedule a free consultation with the medical malpractice lawyers at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano.
Oxygen Deprivation Can Cause Severe Brain Injury
A partial lack of blood flow from the mother to the fetus can result in fetal hypoxia due to oxygen deprivation. When doctors, nurses or midwives fail to monitor the condition of the fetus or wait too long to perform a C-section, the fetus may suffer oxygen deficiency and permanent brain damage.
Medical malpractice can also occur if doctors fail to order MRI studies if they suspect the fetus may have suffered oxygen deprivation. MRIs can clearly show brain injuries caused by fetal hypoxia and perinatal asphyxia.
Brain damage to an infant can cause a range of severe developmental disabilities. Cerebral palsy is a type of HIE birth injury. Children with cerebral palsy may have impaired motor skill function, learning disability, cognitive disability and emotional difficulties. Additional serious medical conditions, including seizures, epilepsy and autism, have also been linked to HIE brain injuries.
Causes of HIE
If the oxygen supply of the baby is restricted for a period of time, it may develop HIE. The reason for this restriction of oxygen supply maybe medical malpractice or the negligence of medical staff towards the possible indications of stoppage or restriction of oxygen supply. The causes of HIE may include:
- Compression of umbilical cord
- Uterine rupture of the mother
- Breech births
- Wrapping of umbilical cord around the neck of baby
- Low blood pressure of the mother
- Placental abruption
The most common measure doctors take to prevent HIE is a C-section delivery.
Complications of HIE
Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is a serious medical condition having profound implications. Mild HIE may result in developmental delays and learning disabilities. The moderate and severe case for HIE may result in the following conditions:
- Brain damage
- Cerebral palsy
- Cortico-visual impairment
- Mental retardation
In most cases, newborns having HIE get seizures after birth. Many of them may get seizures for a lifetime.
Did Medical Malpractice Cause your Child's Birth Injury?
For us to be able to pursue a medical malpractice case for a birth injury, we need to obtain a Certificate of Merit in New York. That means that we have obtained the relevant medical records and a physician has reviewed the records to confirm there is merit to the case. The medical experts that we use are all outside of the local area and they will give us objective opinions as to whether your case has merit. If you have a meritorious case, our lawyers have the knowledge and experience to provide quality legal services to you. Our clients also get the time and attention that they deserve.
If you have any questions please call us at 315-479-9000 or contact us online. Our law firm is experienced in handling all types of birth injuries. Consultations are always free and you will never be responsible for any legal fees unless we are able to recover compensation for your child.