What Is Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)?

What Is Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)?Discovering that your newborn has suffered a devastating birth injury, such as Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), can be a heartbreaking experience. These injuries, often caused by mishandling or oxygen deprivation during delivery, can have a profound and lasting impact on your child’s life. It is essential to hold the responsible doctors and hospitals accountable for the negligence that led to your child’s HIE and resulting injuries. They should be held liable for covering medical expenses, addressing pain and suffering, acknowledging any scarring or disfigurement, compensating for loss of function, and recognizing the significant changes in life expectations.

At Bailey & Greer, our compassionate team of birth injury lawyers in Little Rock is dedicated to fighting for justice on behalf of our tiniest clients. If you believe that a preventable medical mistake, such as inadequate monitoring or delayed intervention, caused your child’s HIE, we are here to help. Contact us to schedule a consultation where we can discuss your case in detail, evaluate the available legal options, and provide the guidance and support you need to seek the compensation and accountability your child deserves. Your child’s well-being and future are our top priority, and we are committed to navigating the complex legal process on your behalf.

HIE due to medical malpractice

HIE is a condition that occurs when an infant’s brain does not receive enough oxygen and blood flow during or shortly before birth. This lack of oxygen can lead to severe and potentially life-altering brain damage.

Parents may consider pursuing legal action and suing for HIE if they believe it resulted from medical negligence or malpractice during the birth process.

Some examples of medical malpractice that can lead to HIE include:

  • Failure to monitor the baby’s oxygen levels during labor and delivery.
  • Delay or failure to perform a timely C-section when necessary.
  • Improper use of delivery instruments (such as forceps or vacuum extractors) that may cause trauma or oxygen deprivation to the baby.
  • Inadequate response to signs of fetal distress.
  • Medication errors or incorrect administration of anesthesia during delivery.

What are symptoms of HIE?

Neonatal HIE manifests with varying symptoms that can differ from baby to baby, depending on the specific region of the brain affected. The severity of these symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include:

  • Altered state of alertness. Babies may exhibit unusual states of being awake and aware, such as being highly alert or experiencing low energy levels.
  • Breathing difficulties. Trouble with breathing can be observed in infants with neonatal HIE.
  • Feeding challenges. Babies may experience difficulties with feeding or exhibit a lack of interest in eating.
  • Hearing problems. Impaired hearing or difficulties in responding to auditory stimuli may be present.
  • Neurological issues and seizures. Neonatal HIE can lead to seizures or other neurological problems.
  • Muscular and reflex abnormalities. Infants may display muscle or reflex problems, including abnormal movements or reduced muscle tone.
  • Slow heart rate or episodes of bradycardia can be observed in severe cases.
  • Organ failure. Neonatal HIE can result in organ failure, affecting various bodily systems.

In severe cases, infants may experience delays in growth and development. They may also develop conditions like cerebral palsy or experience intellectual disabilities. The full extent of these symptoms may not become apparent until the child reaches ages three to four.

It’s important to note that the symptoms of neonatal HIE can resemble those of other health conditions. Therefore, it is crucial to consult a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate medical attention for your child.

How can a Little Rock birth injury lawyer help me?

It is crucial to consult with a birth injury lawyer if you suspect that HIE occurred due to medical negligence. Here is how an attorney can help:

  • Knowledge of birth injury laws. Birth injury lawyers understand the complex legal aspects of medical malpractice cases, including those related to HIE. They have a deep understanding of the applicable laws, statutes of limitations, and the burden of proof required to establish a strong case.
  • Thorough investigation. A birth injury lawyer will conduct a detailed investigation into the circumstances surrounding the birth and the events leading up to the HIE diagnosis. They will collect medical records, consult with medical experts, and identify any instances of negligence or malpractice that may have contributed to the injury.
  • Expert testimony. Birth injury cases often require expert medical testimony to establish a connection between medical negligence and the resulting HIE. A skilled birth injury lawyer will have access to trusted medical experts who can provide professional opinions and strengthen your case.
  • Calculating damages. HIE can lead to lifelong medical expenses, specialized care, therapy, and other related costs. A birth injury lawyer will work with financial and medical experts to accurately assess the present and future damages, ensuring that you seek appropriate compensation.
  • Negotiation and litigation. A birth injury lawyer will handle all communication and negotiations with the healthcare providers and their insurance companies on your behalf. They will strive to secure a fair settlement that covers your child’s current and future needs. If a settlement cannot be reached, they will be prepared to advocate for you in court.
  • Emotional support. Dealing with the consequences of HIE and pursuing legal action can be emotionally overwhelming for parents. A birth injury lawyer provides compassionate support, guiding you through the legal process and fighting for justice while you focus on your child’s well-being.

If your baby has suffered a birth injury, such as HIE, due to a preventable medical mistake, it is crucial to seek legal guidance to understand your rights and explore your legal options. At Bailey & Greer, PLLC, we are here to provide the support and expertise you need during this challenging time. Our compassionate team of birth injury lawyers in Little Rock is dedicated to addressing your concerns, answering your questions, and guiding you through the legal process. We understand the emotional toll of such situations and offer caring representation as we advocate for your rights. To discuss your case, please reach out by calling us, or by filling out our contact form to request a free consultation.