Childbirth is a miraculous event that brings excitement, joy, and new beginnings to every family. However, it can also be a traumatic experience if something goes wrong. One such complication that frequently arises is hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). HIE occurs when a newborn baby’s brain suffers from oxygen deprivation and reduced blood flow, eventually leading to brain damage. This birth injury can have a long-lasting impact on the health and well-being of a child. In most cases, medical negligence is the root cause of this injury.
What is Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy?
Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) is characterized by the reduced oxygen supply and blood flow to the baby’s brain. This condition can happen before birth, during labor and delivery, or shortly after. HIE is a significant cause of infant death and long-term disability worldwide as the brain cell damage caused by oxygen deprivation due to HIE is irreversible. Without proper oxygen or glucose, brain cells start dying within minutes, leading to the development of HIE.
What Causes HIE?
Several factors can lead to HIE, such as compression during delivery, cord issues, maternal infections, maternal cardiac arrest, uterine rupture, and placental abruption. However, medical malpractice and negligence are the leading causes of HIE. Failure to monitor the baby’s heart rate, failing to order a timely c-section, and inappropriate use of medical tools and delivery techniques put the baby at significant risk. If medical professionals fail to detect or respond to HIE appropriately, they could be liable for the injury.
What are the Signs of HIE?
The signs and symptoms of HIE can vary depending on the severity of the damage. In most cases, the signs of HIE are not apparent immediately after birth, but they can appear a few hours or days after delivery. Some common symptoms include seizures, abnormal breathing, low heart rate, poor muscle tone or stiffness, poor feeding, and lethargy.
Treatment of HIE
The treatment of HIE depends on the severity of the injury. In mild cases, supportive care such as extra oxygen or fluid resuscitation may be given to the newborn. More severe cases might require therapeutic hypothermia, a cooling therapy that lowers the baby's body temperature to help reduce brain damage. Treatment might also include medicines like anticonvulsants or pain relief medication to manage the symptoms caused by HIE. In some cases, HIE can cause long-term or permanent damage, leading to lifelong disabilities that require ongoing care.
Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Lawyer in Atlanta
Dealing with the aftermath of HIE can be overwhelming, but you don't have to face it alone. At Goldstein Hayes & Lina, LLC, we have a proven track record of success in birth injury cases, including HIE. Contact us today at (888) 425-6070 for a free consultation.