Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy: The Role of Law Firms in HIE Cases

While Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy can be an unfortunate and unavoidable birth injury, it can also be caused by the substandard care of doctors and other attending providers before, during, or after the birth process. One of the cornerstones of personal injury law is proving negligence, which is one of the key roles of a Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy law firm when pursuing a medical malpractice claim. However, HIE cases are medically complex, and proving negligence can be challenging. 

Was your child diagnosed with HIE, and do you suspect it may have been caused by your physician or birth team?  If so, you may be entitled to pursue compensation from the negligent provider or facility to help you care for your child’s needs. At Kuhlman Law, our experienced Bend, OR, Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy law firm will be your strongest ally.


When is HIE Typically Detected?

HIE is typically detected through observation, diagnostic testing, and continuous monitoring beginning shortly after birth through the first few days of life. 

  • Immediately after birth, Apgar scores measure the baby’s Appearance, Pulse, Grimace response, Activity, and Respiration (APGAR). Lower scores may indicate the need for further evaluation. The baby’s first physical examination may also reveal immediate signs of HIE, such as abnormal reflexes, poor muscle tone, or respiratory distress. 
  • During the first few hours, the team will continue to look for symptoms of HIE, including seizures, breathing difficulty, cyanosis, abnormal movements, or other neurological, respiratory, or cardiovascular symptoms.
  • Over the next 24 to 48 hours, the team will continuously monitor vitals, feeding difficulties, and the baby’s neurological status for further indications of possible HIE. Blood tests for metabolic acidosis and imaging may also be conducted to confirm a diagnosis. 
  • If symptoms of HIE weren’t immediately apparent after birth, parents may seek further evaluation by their pediatrician or a neonatologist. The physician may conduct additional imaging and neurological testing to assess for HIE and the extent of the injury.

Fortunately, the earlier the diagnosis and treatment, the better the outcome and prognosis can be for a baby with HIE. 


What You Need to Know If Your Child Has Been Diagnosed With HIE

Raising a child with HIE can present both physical and financial challenges for a family. 

Depending on its severity, if you’ve received an HIE diagnosis, your child could experience:

  • Delays in reaching critical milestones and slower progress in cognitive, motor, and social skill development
  • Physical disabilities affecting their mobility and coordination, as well as difficulties with fine motor skills
  • Cognitive impairments involving learning, memory, attention, and problem-solving
  • Speech and language delays or impairment
  • A higher risk for epilepsy or other seizure disorders
  • Behavioral and emotional challenges such as anxiety, ADHD, or difficulties with social interaction and impulsivity
  • Difficulty eating resulting in nutrition issues
  • Sensitivity to sensory input and difficulty processing that sensitivity 
  • A higher risk of other chronic health issues like respiratory problems and infections
  • A need for highly individualized educational and teaching strategies, assistive technology, or other adaptive equipment at school

To manage these needs, families of children with HIE often must rely on a team of providers for their child’s ongoing medical care, physical and speech therapies, and special educational assistance. In addition, one parent may need to stop working to provide full-time care for their child. This is not only emotionally stressful to a family, but it can be economically devastating. This is why getting fairly compensated for your provider’s medical negligence can be critical to both your and your child’s long-term welfare. 


How Do You Know If Your Child’s HIE Was the Result of Medical Negligence?

What happens if you suspect your doctor, or another provider, caused your child’s HIE? 

Pursuing and proving a medical negligence case requires a thorough understanding of the law and a detailed investigation into the circumstances surrounding your pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Getting the assistance of an experienced Bend, OR, Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy law firm will be crucial to your success. 

An experienced HIE lawyer will:

  • Obtain and review your prenatal, labor, delivery, and postnatal medical records to identify any documented signs of abnormal vitals, signs of fetal distress, or any deviation from standard medical actions and protocols.
  • Consult with medical specialists who will interpret records to determine whether the injury is consistent with a hypoxic event and provide insight into whether the standard of care by the provider was met.
  • Identify other potential points of failure, including missed prenatal diagnoses, inadequate risk factor management, improper use of delivery tools, mismanagement of monitoring, and lack of timely decision-making and interventions.
  • Create a chronological timeline through your pregnancy, labor, and delivery to pinpoint how and when the negligence occurred.
  • Match the existing evidence with known common causes of medical negligence in HIE cases.
  • Establish the standard of care that a competent provider would have followed in a similar situation, prove a breach of that standard of care, and provide a clear link between the breach and the injury. 
  • Research and calculate your damages by understanding the full extent of your child’s injury, the effect it has had and potentially will have on your child’s life and calculate the economic and non-economic damages you may be entitled to, including any current and future medical costs, treatments, rehabilitation, surgery, future care, or pain and suffering.

If you decide to pursue a medical negligence claim against your provider, your attorney will use this evidence to establish a causal link between your provider’s actions and the injury. Your lawyer will attempt to negotiate a fair settlement with the defendant’s insurance company or mediate or arbitrate if appropriate. If a settlement can’t be reached, your attorney will pursue the case in court before a judge or jury to ensure your best possible outcome and recover the compensation you deserve. 

Kuhlman Law is a highly respected Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy law firm in Bend, OR. We are dedicated to helping parents get the resources they will need to take care of their children’s needs and their future after a devastating birth injury. Because we work on contingency, you pay no attorney fees until we recover compensation for you. Call us at (503) 479-3646 to schedule a free consultation or contact us through our website contact form.



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