Diagnosing Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy: Portland Birth Injury Lawyers

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Portland Birth Injury Lawyers Explain Diagnosing Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy 

One the worst birth injuries that a newborn could suffer is hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, or HIE. This catastrophic birth injury results in brain damage from a lack of oxygen caused by decreased blood flow. While there are many different causes of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, our Portland birth injury lawyers know that preventable Oregon medical malpractice is a common cause. Far too often negligent healthcare providers such as family care practitioners, OB/GYN physicians, Labor and delivery nurses, and other hospital staff members make serious and careless mistakes which result in catastrophic personal injuries to a newborn.

Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is a very dangerous birth condition which can cost a whole host of other birth injuries. Some of the other types of birth injuries caused by hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy include cerebral palsy, developmental disabilities, developmental delays, and other types of serious birth injuries. Families who have a new born diagnosed with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy maybe entitled to compensation including the pain and suffering of the baby, medical bills, future medical bills, future therapy needs, future surgeries or medical procedures, future need for braces or other ambulatory devices, loss of enjoyment of life, and many other types of personal injury damages that are related to the birth injury caused by the hospital’s negligence.

Diagnosing Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy 

The first step to treating hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is diagnosing it. As with any other type of birth injury, diagnosing hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is a very difficult task for healthcare providers. Quite frankly, it is also a task that they do not necessarily want to perform because it demonstrates there could have been medical malpractice caused either physicians and nurses. This is why it is important for parents to know some of the warning signs of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy to really press for certain testing to diagnose it. The longer that this birth injury is not diagnosed, the longer that serious personal injury could be happening to a newborns brain and body.

Warning Signs of HIE

There are several warning signs and symptoms of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy that could indicate immediate and emergency treatment is necessary. Some of these warning signs include the following:

  • Low APGAR scores, generally a 3 or lower after 5 minutes and again against 10 minutes
  • Pale skin coloration or blue skin coloration that takes a long time to regain some pigment
  • Weak or absent breathing patterns
  • Low heart rate or pulse
  • Acidosis of the blood
  • Poor muscle tone or hypotonia including flaccid muscles
  • Weak or absent reflexes, or abnormal reflexes
  • A lack of screaming or crying
  • A baby not reacting to stimuli such as pinching or poking,
  • Other abnormal signs.

How is Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Diagnosed

Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is a type of brain damage which results in lesions to the brain. The only way to see these lesions is through imaging equipment. This means that the only way to definitively diagnose hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is to conduct imaging studies on the newborn. While there can be many other signs and symptoms which give strong evidence for hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, confirming the suspicions through imaging studies is the only definitive way to diagnose this birth injury. Our Portland birth injury lawyers understand that many healthcare providers will not want to preform these diagnostic studies because it may confirm that they committed medical malpractice. However, as a parent is imperative to get these studies done so you know how to best treat your newborn.

Therefore, imaging studies such as MRIs and EEGs are the best way to detect and visualize lesions on the brain. Cranial ultrasonography and and endocardiography can also be used to confirm hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. At least one or more of these tests are required to confirm such suspicions.

However, it is important that healthcare providers perform other tasks including laboratory test to check for a babies blood components, liver functioning, renal functioning, and electrolyte levels. Other types of blood tests can also help to ascertain whether there are coagulation system issues or cardiac issues which also need to be immediately addressed. Further, these other tests will also be able to determine the exact oxygen saturation levels in the blood.

What Should I do if my Child is Diagnosed with Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy?

If you are a loved one was just diagnosed with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy the first thing you should do is make sure to give him or her whatever support is necessary to make your baby comfortable. You should also make sure to keep good records of what healthcare providers have been rendering you and your newborn baby care. When your child is stable, it might be a good idea to go to a different healthcare provider to get an unbiased evaluation of what possibly happened and how are your child is progressing. A newborn’s brain is rapidly developing and any delays could be catastrophic.

The next thing you should really do is contact our Portland birth injury lawyers. While it may be frustrating to see everything that is happening around you at the hospital, and you may only see expenses and medical bills adding up while you are away from work and therefore having lost wages, you should know that our Oregon medical malpractice law firm handles hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy cases on a contingency basis. This means that you do not pay our Portland birth injury lawyers until we collect money for you in a settlement for jury award. This is because we know you have added expenses and a decreased income while you are caring for your newborn. We understand that you need to focus on your family and not be paying lawyer bills. This is why we except cases on a contingency basis and only get paid a percentage of what we’ve recover after we recover it for you

Get Our Help Today

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice contact the Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form.  We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover. 

Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton,  Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles,  St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.  

We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take medical malpractice cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.  

Please act quickly, there is a limited time (Statute of Limitations) in which you can bring a claim under the law.

For a free case evaluation


(541) 385-1999 in Bend, Oregon
(503) 479-3646 in Portland, Oregon
(612) 444-3374 in Minnesota

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