Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) is a type of infant brain damage.
So, HIE refers to the deprivation of oxygen or blood to an infant’s developing brain.
HIE typically occurs either in utero, during childbirth, or immediately after delivery. A baby can be born with HIE due to underlying issues during the pregnancy that are not addressed or cannot be corrected or trauma that occurred during or after the birth process.
The leading causes of Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy after the birth has occurred include:
Low-weight (preterm) babies are at increased risk for Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy. However, HIE can happen to any child, including those developing normally during the pregnancy but are deprived of oxygen or blood during the delivery or shortly thereafter.
Medical professionals must be extra vigilant in following the development of at-risk mothers and babies, ensuring that their little brains are developing appropriately. At-risk pregnancies that need extra medical attention for HIE include:
Once childbirth is underway, other risk factors can contribute to HIE. These include:
In the hugely significant hours following childbirth, infants can still be at risk for HIE.
A baby born with HIE will often receive intensive care, and the symptoms will be present immediately. These are the warning signs that HIE has occurred:
Medical staff will confirm an HIE diagnosis after ordering MRIs, CT scans, and ultrasounds, in addition to EKGs and EEGs.
In the hospital, significant intervention will often be needed to manage and try to reverse the effects of the HIE. Extended stays in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit may be necessary, during which the baby’s temperature and breathing will be monitored and assisted with ventilators and even hyperbaric chambers. The baby’s heart functioning and blood pressure will also need to be stabilized through the use of mechanical devices and prescription drug therapy. Only when the child is stable will they be allowed to return home with you.
Once you return home with an HIE child, you may incur significant expenses to manage the effects of the HIE. Until the child reaches three or four years of age, it may be impossible to predict the long-term consequences.
Depending on the severity of the HIE, your baby may face developmental delays and roadblocks including:
You can expect to incur significant expenses in order to ensure the safety of your child. You may need to provide specialized medical treatment, including physical and speech therapy, and/or provide specialized childcare. Childcare may be paid for or provided by a parent, which could mean that a parent may no longer be able to earn a wage. Your child may require adaptive equipment and special dietary accommodations. Further down the road, your child may need continued educational intervention, including psychological and neurological evaluation and further therapies as needed.
When a newborn brain does not get sufficient oxygen or blood, a serious medical emergency has occurred, and long-term effects may result. HIE can result from a congenital disability or abnormality; in such cases, there is usually no medical malpractice or negligence involved. However, HIE can also result from mistakes made by medical professionals shortly before, during, and after childbirth.
It is important to obtain expert medical advice if your child has been diagnosed with HIE. HIE’s short- and long-term effects vary based on how long the brain was deprived of oxygen and blood and what caused the deprivation.
HIE resulting from trauma during the actual childbirth process is often preventable and may be a medical malpractice case.
The laws in Michigan take into account that there are some conditions for which the long-term effects and costs are not fully definable until a child is older. However, that does not mean a parent or guardian can wait until the child is older to contact an attorney. Much of the investigation and documentation may need to take place during the beginning of the child’s life.
If you believe your child’s HIE was caused by medical negligence, it’s critical to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
If your child was born with HIE, contact Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys immediately. We will evaluate your case to determine if mistakes were made by medical staff, causing or contributing to the HIE.
When you call Giroux Pappas Trial Attorneys, we thoroughly evaluate your case to determine if medical malpractice is present. We investigate and document all that is necessary to build a case on your child’s behalf.
We also want to ensure that insurance companies and medical professionals meet your family’s and child’s future needs. We are honored to do our part in helping your child and family get the justice they deserve. Nobody can control the past, but your child’s future is in your hands.
Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.Share this Article