Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is estimated to occur in about 2 to 3 of every 1,000 live births in the United States. This is a type of brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain, due to low oxygen levels in the blood or decreased blood flow to the brain. During a difficult labor and delivery, the risk of HIE is increased. If the baby does not get sufficient oxygen in the blood or enough blood flow to the brain during or after birth, he or she may be at risk of experiencing irreversible brain damage.
In some circumstances, HIE may be linked to medical malpractice. A delayed C-section, mismanagement of a birth complication, or failure to respond to fetal distress are examples of situations that could lead to this condition. Parents of children diagnosed with HIE or resulting medical conditions such as cerebral palsy, cognitive impairment, or developmental delays should consider whether malpractice was involved and what responsibility the at-fault medical professional has to pay for medical care, ongoing treatment, and more.
For more information on HIE and how a Rhode Island birth injury lawyer can help you assess your legal options, call (401) 200-4059. Your initial consultation is free and confidential.
Potential Causes of HIE
Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy may have various causes, including:
- Prolonged labor
- Umbilical cord compression
- Placental abruption
- Uterine rupture
- Shoulder dystocia
- Umbilical cord prolapse
- Trauma during delivery
- Low maternal blood pressure
Because there is currently no proven way to regrow or rehabilitate dead brain cells, treatment for HIE will be focused on preventing further cell death. One such method, which has met with some success, is therapeutic hypothermia. By way of a cooling cap or whole body cooling, the temperature of the brain is lowered. This is thought to slow and stop continued brain cell death. Other medical intervention may be required to treat seizures, support other organs, and address other side effects of HIE. If your child went through “head cooling” after birth, there may be a concern for a brain injury.
Due to the complexity of birth injury claims involving HIE, it will be important to work with a firm that has a track record of success in this field. Our Rhode Island birth injury attorneys have extensive experience and the resources it takes to build compelling cases against negligent doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals or facilities.
To find out how Decof, Decof & Barry, P.C. can help you, call (401) 200-4059.