What Is Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy?

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is the injury that a newborn suffers as a result of lack of oxygen and blood flow to the brain immediately during or after the labor process. There can be a multitude of reasons why something like this happens, whether it’s an umbilical cord issue, fetal distress, or drop in blood pressure. Anytime oxygen is restricted, a child is at risk of sustaining lasting physical injuries; in this case, blood flow is also impeded, which makes it even more dangerous. It’s actually the leading cause of death or severe impairment of a newborn. Birth injuries may seem confusing, and because of the nature of the events, you might think that some accidents are simply unpreventable. However, one-third of all birth injuries are preventable, meaning that it’s likely that the responsibility of the doctor or hospital involved in the delivery.

HIE can cause cerebral palsy. It can also cause severe developmental or cognitive delay or motor impairments that become more apparent as the child continues to develop. It’s usually impossible to tell the extent of the delays and impairments until the child is about three or four years old. Because of the way the damage manifests, which is to say over time and not all at once, it can be hard to estimate what impact HIE is going to have on your life and on the life of your child. The most prudent thing to do is prepare for a worst-case scenario, pursuing legal action as if your child were going to need the most medical treatment possible. We have found that it’s better to overestimate while hoping for the best; it’s better to have filed and won a lawsuit that provides for all of your child’s potential medical or developmental needs rather than shy away from taking action and risk not being able to provide your child with the best care available.

Now, what we do at our firm when we have someone that’s suffering from HIE’s is bring all of our experience, knowledge, and resources to their disposal and use all that to find the truth of what happened. We know the medical experts that we need to use. We know what facts we’re looking for. When we get these medical records, what we’re going to do is investigate and find out what went wrong. What happened? How did this happen? Those are the questions that all parents have, and we can get the answers.

Because whether it’s the result of the negligence of the doctor or not, we’ll at least be able to get the case, investigate it, get it to the right people, and tell us what went wrong. That will really allow the family to have some form of closure and be able to better handle what they’re going through. Our hope is that, if the doctor or hospital was responsible, they can be held accountable for the actions, and in the process, provide your family with what you need to move forward. Not knowing what kind of medical conditions or developmental delays your child may ultimately have, all a parent can do is plan for any eventuality. If you want to investigate your child’s injury and provide for their future, give us a call. We can get to the bottom of what happened and make sure your family is ready to move forward.