Was Your Child Diagnosed With Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy? We Can Help
Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy (HIE) is a type of brain damage that occurs typically during the labor and delivery process. It is also spelled ischemic, but the accepted medical spelling is ischaemic. The brain damage occurs due to deprivation of oxygen (hypoxia) and lack of blood flow to the brain (ischaemic). This can cause catastrophic brain damage, forever altering the life of the newborn and their parents. While brain damage can be reversed in some cases, often it is permanent. Babies with HIE often face a lifetime of disabilities. The extent of the injury as well as the type greatly depends on the location in the brain that the brain damage occurred. While some cases of hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy may occur at the fault of no one, there are cases in which the condition occurs as a result of a physician or other healthcare provider’s error.
In fact, there are too many instances when a healthcare provider’s mistakes and errors result in unnecessary injuries to infant and neonates. This includes any diagnosis of HIE which can be life-changing and catastrophically disabling for an infant. This type of birth injury is almost always avoidable too.
What is a Birth Injury?
A birth injury is an injury that occurs to the infant during or shortly after the labor and delivery process. Some of these injuries are not preventable, while other injuries are. While there are some more minor birth injuries, such as bruising or swelling of the head, there are more serious injuries that may have lifelong consequences for the mother and baby, including nerve damage, brain damage, fractures, scarring, cerebral palsy, paralysis, facial paralysis or hemorrhage amongst other injuries. As mentioned above, hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy is considered a birth injury. In fact, it is considered to be one of the most serious birth injuries due to it’s catastrophic effects for the infant and their loves ones.
What is Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy?
As mentioned above, hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy is a specific type of brain damage that occurs during labor and delivery. The injury is due to a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the brain, causing brain damage. This is a very serious type of brain damage and babies impacted by this condition will likely face great struggles in their lives as a result of the brain damage that occurred during their birth. HIE
What Causes HIE?
There are a number of things that can cause HIE. Causes of this condition include the following:
- Placental insufficiency
- Placental abruption
- Umbilical knots
- Uterine rupture
- Umbilical cord compression
- Trauma during delivery
- Shoulder dystocia
- Cord prolapse
- Cardiac arrest
- Aneurysm rupture
Symptoms of HIE
A baby with HIE may present with the following symptoms:
- Low or no heart rate
- Low muscle tone
- Cyanotic (blue) skin
- Reflexes that are absent or diminished
- Low Apgar score, less than 3
- Irregular, slow, depressed or absent breathing
- Stained meconium
Is There Any Treatment for HIE?
Babies who are found to be affected by hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy may be eligible for cooling treatment, which has been shown to reduce brain damage and death. This type of therapy must be done immediately or it will be ineffective.
What Are Potential Complications of HIE?
Children with severe HIE may experience the following disabilities and complications:
- Developmental disabilities
- Cerebral Palsy
- Fetal Stroke
- Learning disabilities
- Vision impairment
- Hearing impairment
- Speech impairment or delay
- Brain hemorrhages
- Nutritional impairment
- Behavioral disorders
- Mental health issues
- Sensory processing impairment
These are just a few of the many potential complications and disabilities from HIE.
How Can Medical Malpractice Cause HIE?
While as mentioned above HIE can be unavoidable, there are many cases that occur every year which are avoidable. HIE should never occur as the result of someone else’s error. This error can permanently alter a newborn’s life and cause great trauma to the parents. Common causes of medical malpractice related HIE include the following:
- Failing to identify signs of fetal distress
- Failing to respond to signs of fetal distress
- Choosing a vaginal birth when a cesarean is indicated
- Inappropriately managing issues at birth involving the umbilical cord, placenta, or uterus
- Anesthesia errors
- Overuse of Pitocin (labor enduring drug)
- Failing to properly monitor contraction rhythm strips
- Failing to intervene when excessive contractions occur
- Failing to monitor fetal heart rate appropriately
- Failing to treat a baby with HIE in a timely manner to minimize brain damage
- Failing to identify prior to deliver issues with the mother’s birth canal or with fetal presentation
These are just a few of the many ways that HIE can be caused by medical malpractice.
Who is Liable for Your Child’s Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy?
If your baby is found to have HIE, it is important to speak with experienced attorneys who can identify if your child’s HIE injury was caused by medical malpractice. If it is found to be caused by medical malpractice, our attorneys will work to find who is at fault for your child’s injury. People at fault for your child’s injury may include the following:
- Doctors – doctors are often the most at fault for birth injuries as it is their responsibility to oversee care and prescribe care that is safe for the mother and infant. Doctors are the people who make the decision to intervene in the setting of a labor and delivery complication. If they fail to monitor the mother and infant, miss serious complications occurring or fail to make safe decisions such as a c-section in the midst of a complication, they can be held liable for medical malpractice.
- Nurses – Nurses are responsible for monitoring contraction rhythm strips, fetal heart rate and maternal vitals. If they fail to properly monitor the newborn and mother, they may miss a serious complication occurring, leading to injuries such as HIE.
Ask Our Oregon Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy Lawyer for Help
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.