You had complete faith and trust in your care team during your pregnancy and delivery, but now, you’re not so sure. Your baby has been diagnosed with Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, and while many things could have contributed to this, you now know it could have been caused or exacerbated by your healthcare provider or care team.
How do you know what caused your child’s HIE? And what can you do if it was a matter of medical negligence? Do you have any legal recourse? This is why it is critical to get the guidance of a Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy law firm to understand your rights.
What is Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)?
HIE is a type of brain injury that occurs when a baby’s brain doesn’t receive enough blood or oxygen pre or post-natally. The severity of the HIE will depend on how long the brain was deprived of oxygen. A baby with mild HIE can recover relatively quickly with proper and immediate intervention, but a more severe case can lead to developmental delays, cerebral palsy, or even, in the most severe cases, death.
What Can Cause HIE?
HIE can be caused by numerous things, including preeclampsia, lack of adequate placental blood flow, umbilical cord problems, abruption, or heart or lung disease in the baby. It can also be caused by a provider’s negligent care before, during, or after birth.
Not only can HIE be caused by the negligence of the care team during the pregnancy or delivery, but a delayed response to a suspicion of HIE can lead to its progression. The most effective treatments for HIE, such as therapeutic hypothermia, must be started within the first few hours after birth. If the healthcare team suspects HIE after delivery and can make a rapid diagnosis, tests will be administered, and treatment will be provided to allow the HIE baby’s brain to heal. However, a delayed diagnosis and treatment can mean missing this critical window for treatment, potentially leading to even more serious outcomes.
What are the Long-Term Implications of HIE?
Depending on the severity, a child affected by HIE may require long-term, ongoing medical care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and specialized educational interventions. There may also be a higher risk for medical complications and associated conditions such as feeding difficulties, hearing or vision problems, or respiratory issues. For the family, this is not only emotionally stressful, but the need for medical care, therapies, and other additional support services can be financially devastating.
Unfortunately, as time goes on, it can be challenging to link the events of pregnancy and delivery to a diagnosis of HIE, impacting the family’s ability to seek legal recourse and get the care their child needs. That is when having skilled legal representation is essential.
What is the Role of a Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Law Firm?
Understanding and proving the medical cause of HIE requires specialized medical and legal knowledge and proof of a direct link between the quality of your medical care and your child’s diagnosis. An HIE lawyer has an experienced and in-depth understanding of medical negligence and what is involved to protect the rights of new parents.
If you suspect your child’s HIE was caused by or could have been prevented by your care team, you may be entitled to file a medical malpractice claim. This allows you to hold your medical provider liable so you can recover compensation to help offset the financial cost of caring for your child.
At Kuhlman Law, our highly experienced HIE lawyers in Bend, OR, will conduct a full medical review to understand the events that led to your child’s injury. You pay no attorney fees until we recover compensation on your behalf. Contact us at (503) 479-3646 or through our website contact form to schedule a no-cost consultation.
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