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Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy explained

On Behalf of | Aug 30, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

When you enter a hospital or birthing center to give birth, you expect your healthcare team to be competent and experienced. You do not expect to experience significant medical errors or birth injuries.

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) occurs when an infant experiences reduced blood flow of oxygen during labor or delivery, which can lead to serious brain damage.

HIE causes

There are several ways an HIE birth injury can happen, but many occurrences are a result of preventable medical mistakes. A few common causes include:

  • The placenta detaching from the uterus before delivery
  • The baby getting stuck in the birth canal
  • The delivery requires an emergency c-section
  • Doctors, nurses or midwives fail to monitor maternal blood pressure and vital signs
  • Medical staff fails to identify fetal distress signals
  • The birthing team improperly uses labor-inducing drugs

In some cases, a baby will show symptoms of HIE right away, and doctors can perform therapeutic hypothermia to slow the effects of the damage and allows the brain to heal. However, this treatment must occur within six hours of birth to be effective.

Resulting conditions

Brain damage from an HIE event may not be apparent immediately following birth, but it can ultimately lead to permanent disability or death. Without timely intervention, the infant is at risk of developing serious conditions such as:

  • Cerebral palsy (CP)
  • Seizure disorders
  • Developmental delays
  • Learning disabilities

Babies who suffer from HIE because of medical malpractice may have lifelong difficulties as a result.

You deserve to bring home a healthy baby. When medical professionals make mistakes, they can derail your family’s future in major ways. It is important to understand your rights to claim compensation for your injured child.