What Is Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy In Babies?

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Few things are scarier in this world than bringing a new life into it. As a new parent, you definitely want your child to be perfect from their fingers to their toes, but the fact of the matter is that this doesn’t happen all the time.

Although sometimes babies suffering or missing basic necessities and ending up with diseases might be an issue with them having bad luck with the genetic lottery, other things might have gone wrong.

One of them is medical malpractice. It’s possible that if something happens to your baby, that it wasn’t genetics fault – it was the fault of the doctors who helped deliver the baby.

When it comes to babies and potential medical malpractice, one of the most common issues a baby might suffer from is called HIE, or hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.

 

Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

HIE is a severe type of oxygen deprivation that can occur in newborns. It happens when the body no longer regulates the air to the brain, meaning that this type of asphyxiation can result in brain damage, disabilities, Cerebral Palsy, and death. These are called anoxic brain injuries.

This is likely not the type of situation you’d like your child to have to live with. Doctors have crafted three different stages that are used to discuss hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.

Stage I

This is considered to be mild HIE. Mild HIE can show up in floppy muscles, fussiness, difficulty feeding, and sleeping, frequent crying, etc. Luckily, most of these symptoms should end up disappearing within 24 hours of birth. Still, it is essential to treat and monitor these symptoms very closely.

Stage II

This is considered to be moderate or severe HIE. If this is occurring in your child it can show up as lethargy, hypotonia (muscle weakness), fewer reactions to reflex stimuli, weak grip strength, trouble breathing, seizures, etc.

As you may be able to guess from the increased severity of the symptoms, it is of paramount importance that these symptoms are monitored and treated as effectively and efficiently as possible. The first few weeks are the most crucial for treating Stage II HIE in babies.

Stage III

This is the most critical of the three stages, and it’s the stage that carries the most danger. If your baby has Stage III HIE, they might show symptoms of falling into a coma-like stupor, no response to external stimuli, difficulty breathing, no muscle tension, vision problems, seizures, an irregular newborn heartbeat, etc. 

The only way to treat a child with Stage III HIE is to keep them properly monitored and treated. However, even with treatment and monitoring, extremely severe cases of HIE may cause permanent injury or even wrongful death.

Parts of the brain where anoxic injuries can lead to the different types of cerebral palsy – photo by Ceimile95, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

 

HIE and Medical Malpractice

HIE may occur naturally in your child. At this point, all you can do is monitor and treat them and hope for the best.

However, it is also possible that a child’s HIE was caused by an accident a doctor made – such as the umbilical cord being wrapped around the child’s neck (preventing it from breathing) and the doctor not recommending a C-section fast enough – in which case, you’ll have a case for medical malpractice.

If you have a child who has a birth injury, getting the legal help that can lead to potential financial aid can make a large difference in how the child recovers during the rest of their life. Because of how touchy these injuries can be, it’s important to act quickly if you think something might be wrong with the child.

Many attorneys specifically work in these cases where a child’s birth injury was caused by a preventable medical mistake. If this sounds like something you’re dealing with, reach out to an anoxic brain injury attorney at (866) 721-8431 and see what your options are.

 

Do You Need An Attorney for Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy?

Birth injury – which HIE falls under – is a specific type of medical malpractice. If you file a claim for a birth injury situation, the verdict (if it goes in your favor) can truly help the child going forward.

When it comes to this particular medical malpractice, whatever birth injury attorneys you choose will do most of the work for you. Experienced Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy Lawyers will do the work of consulting with medical experts, gathering information, and building the case for you, so that you have less to worry about.

Although winning a birth injury settlement case is unlikely to help your child be cured – if they can be cured – the settlement will typically be put into a specific sort of special needs trust that is meant to help the child receive lifelong care. The money will also often be able to gain interest, so you should hopefully end up with more money to help care for your child. Additionally, this money doesn’t count as taxable income for the child, which means that the child’s benefits will be preserved over the years.

Working with a medical malpractice attorney like those McEldrew  Your Purtell Merritt will help you find a way to not have to worry about how you’ll afford your child’s specialized care. Secondarily, it will also add to the system of accountability for medal practitioners to ensure that they are held responsible for any and all mistakes they make. Fill out our form today to get a free consultation on your case as soon as possible.