Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a type of brain damage that occurs when an infant experienced reduced oxygen and blood flow to the brain and vital organs. HIE is very dangerous and requires immediate medical attention, though the aftereffects can range from mild to severe. While statistics show that about 20 out of every 1,000 full-term babies suffer HIE, the risk is particularly high for premature infants. As many as 60% of all premature infants experience HIE.
If your child suffered this type of brain damage and you believe medical malpractice or negligence is the cause, contact our firm for a free consultation. Our New Hampshire HIE lawyers can help you understand your legal options and work to recover the full compensation you are owed.
Reach out to us at (603) 323-4622 to learn more about how our team can help you. We have decades of experience handling highly complex medical malpractice and birth injury cases.
HIE Symptoms & Treatment
There are a variety of symptoms used to diagnose HIE, including:
- Weak or no breathing
- Very low heart rate
- Abnormally pale or “blueish” skin
- Poor muscle tone
- Irregular amniotic fluid
- High acid levels in the blood
HIE can also lead to cerebral palsy. Typically, doctors will confirm HIE through MRIs, CT scans, ultrasounds, and/or echocardiography. They may also conduct EKGs or EEGs for further testing and diagnosis. HIE can range from mild to moderate to severe, and treatment will depend on the degree of injury. Common treatments for HIE include medical intervention to assist with breathing (mechanical ventilation), reducing high bodily temperature (reversing brain hypoxia), and/or hyperbaric oxygen treatment. The infant may also require treatments to control blood pressure and seizures or assist with heart function.
How Is HIE Caused by Medical Negligence?
Sadly, HIE is commonly caused as a result of medical errors during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Negligent care can result in a child being deprived of oxygen in utero or during the birth process.
Common examples of how HIE can be caused by medical errors and/or negligent care include:
- Failure to properly monitor fetal heart rate
- Anesthesia mistakes, leading to maternal blood pressure problems
- Failure to respond to signs of fetal distress in a timely manner or at all
- Prolonged labor/failure to order a timely C-section
- Failure to properly address issues with fetal presentation
- Mismanagement of issues with the umbilical cord, uterus, or placenta
- Failure to provide treatment to a newborn with signs of HIE
These are just some examples of how medical malpractice can lead to HIE brain damage. If your child was diagnosed with HIE after a difficult delivery, you may be able to take legal action against the negligent parties. Depending on the unique circumstances involved, a nurse, doctor, or even the hospital itself may be liable for the pain, suffering, and other damages incurred by your child and your family.
Let Our Team Fight for You
At Abramson, Brown & Dugan, our team comprises incredibly experienced New Hampshire birth injury lawyers, registered nurses, and other healthcare professionals. We understand not only the legal complexities involved in pursuing birth injury claims but the intricacies of related healthcare issues as well. Our award-winning firm has won more medical malpractice cases than any other law firm in the state. Most of all, we truly care about you and your family. Our attorneys can help you fight for the maximum compensation you are owed to get the vital care your child needs.
Call our office at (603) 323-4622 or fill out an online contact form to schedule a complimentary consultation today.