Childbirth can be a painful but incredibly rewarding experience. However, when something goes wrong, your happy day could turn into months or years of stress and expensive treatment. Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy attorneys in Arkansas can help you get compensation and hold the negligent caregiver accountable.
Read more about hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and what a lawyer can do for you. When you’re ready to talk to someone about your situation, you can get a free consultation with a birth injury attorney from our law group.
For a free legal consultation, call 1-800-222-9529
What Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy Looks Like
Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is a condition in the brain caused by a lack of oxygen and blood flow. That means it can sometimes be hard to tell whether your child has been affected unless you’re a medical professional. There are telltale signs, though, which can include:
- A difficult birth: If childbirth was particularly difficult for either the mother, the doctor, or the child, it could have caused oxygen to be cut off from the brain.
- Developmental problems: If a child has trouble eating or misses important milestones, it could be a sign that they suffered a brain injury during or after childbirth.
- A low APGAR score: Directly after birth, many doctors perform an APGAR test. This is a fast test that determines how well a baby did during birth and how well the child will do outside of the womb.
If you have any suspicion that your child was injured before, during, or after birth, you should see a medical professional as soon as possible. Not only is it important that your child gets the treatment they need, but it’s also vital to your claim that you get an official diagnosis.
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Birth Injuries vs. Birth Defects
Some people use the terms “birth injury” and “birth defect” interchangeably, but that’s not right. There are some very important differences between the two, and understanding which one affects your child could be vital to any malpractice claim you try to file.
Birth defects are congenital conditions that are passed on to children from their parents. In some rare cases, a doctor could help parents avoid a birth defect, but in most cases, these can only be prevented by keeping healthy habits while pregnant.
Birth injuries, on the other hand, are caused by some event that happens directly before or during birth. Medical professionals can often avoid these, either by calling for preventative measures or by handling the childbirth process correctly.
Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is a birth injury, not a birth defect. That means there is a chance that a caregiver negligently allowed it. If that’s the case, an Arkansas hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy lawyer can help you hold them accountable and get compensation for your child’s treatment.
Can You Recover From Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy?
It is possible to recover from hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. However, even if a child is not seriously affected by the condition, they could still suffer from the effects of the brain injury for years. Many children do not fully recover and must live with conditions like cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities.
There is one treatment that directly addresses HIE: brain cooling therapy. If a doctor is able to accurately diagnose hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy and reduce the child’s body temperature for an extended period, they could prevent many of the long-term effects of the condition.
Past brain cooling therapy, the only other treatments for HIE address the symptoms. Physical therapy, speech therapy, and other ongoing rehabilitation can help your child to function better, but may not be able to take away the full effects of what happened.
In any case, the treatment for your child’s HIE can be expensive, especially if you have to continually take off work to care for them or drive them to appointments. A hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy attorney in Arkansas can help you recover compensation to cover those expenses and more.
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Medical care providers owe a duty to patients to deliver a standard level of care without causing harm. When they fail to provide that care or provide substandard care, they are negligent. When the negligence of a medical care provider causes harm, the person who experiences damages may be entitled to compensation.
Medical Negligence Associated With HIE
Medical malpractice that has been directly linked to HIE includes but is not limited to:
- Errors measuring fetal heart rate or failure to monitor
- Insufficient precautions for high-risk pregnancy
- Delayed cesarean
- Allowing prolonged labor
- Umbilical cord injury or complications
- Failure to act when signs of fetal distress were apparent
- Mismanagement of the umbilical cord, placenta, or uterus
- Failure to properly position the baby for delivery
Getting Compensation for Malpractice in Arkansas
When you file a birth injury claim in Arkansas, you’re saying that the at-fault party caused specific economic and non-economic damages to your child and your family. The compensation that you get will be based on those damages, which can include:
- Medical bills related to your child’s birth injury
- Ongoing treatment
- Lost work
- Wrongful death
Your HIE attorney will need to use your medical bills and other documents to show exactly how much you lost due to the at-fault party’s malpractice. This will ideally cover both what you’ve already paid, as well as what you’re likely to pay in the future.
How much compensation you’re eligible for in your hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy claim is hard to say without knowing the details of your case. At your free initial consultation, your HIE lawyer will talk to you about your case and tell you how much you might be able to get.
Types of Damages Arkansas Allows in Medical Malpractice Suits
In Arkansas, a medical malpractice damages claim can include past, current, and future economic and noneconomic losses caused by the negligence of a medical care provider.
Economic Loss Compensation
This can include any actual past or future costs paid or owed by the plaintiff. These expenses can include medical bills for treatment deemed necessary and reasonable due to the continued effects of HIE. Other economic damages that can be claimed are:
- Specialized medical equipment
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Loss of earning capacity if the infant will not be able to maintain a job as an adult
Noneconomic Loss Compensation
This is meant to compensate for what the infant has experienced and will experience due to malpractice. Some noneconomic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and psychological trauma
- Emotional distress
In cases where the medical provider was extremely negligent or careless and showed a disregard for the infant’s life and well-being, punitive damages may be imposed as well. Punitive damages are not compensation; they are punishment for gross negligence on the part of medical care providers.
Valuing a Medical Malpractice Claim
At such an early stage in your child’s development, predicting the extent of the damage is especially difficult to determine on your own. The average medical malpractice suit that is decided by a jury verdict is worth between one and two million dollars. Arkansas does not limit the amount of compensation that can be awarded in medical malpractice cases.
Arkansas Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Lawyers Value Expert Opinions
An experienced Arkansas birth injury lawyer knows that a successful birth injury medical malpractice suit starts with a thorough investigation. Though not trained in the healthcare field, a birth injury lawyer will call on a variety of experts who can offer assistance and guidance with claim valuation, the investigation, and proving negligence was a factor.
Resources a Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Lawyer in Arkansas Lawyer May Utilize
A birth injury lawyer knows the value of experts when attempting to prove negligence or medical malpractice. Some of the specialists your hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy attorney in Arkansas may seek advice from during your case include the following:
Medical Malpractice Experts
These are medical professionals with training and experience investigating malpractice claims.
These experts can help predict future physical therapy needs and costs for claim valuation.
Special Education Experts
These experts estimate special education needs and the potential associated costs.
If you seek compensation for your child’s future loss of earning capacity, a vocational expert may be called on to discuss the potential career hindrances your child might face.
Economic experts provide insight on inflation and other economic factors that must be considered for claim valuation.
It Is Critical to Act Quickly if You Suspect Malpractice
The state of Arkansas has a two-year statute of limitations for medical malpractice suits. This means that you have two years to file suit, or you forfeit your right to make a claim for compensation.
If your child suffered moderate to severe HIE, they face a difficult road. They may require lifelong medical care, and those costs add up quickly. They may also never be able to work to earn the money to cover those costs.
Your child deserves an investigation to determine if medical malpractice was to blame for their condition. If it was, you may be able to secure funds that can be used to cover some of their treatment costs.
Holding Medical Care Providers Accountable
While receiving compensation can be a major relief, filing a medical malpractice suit is significant for another reason as well. It holds the medical professionals involved responsible for their actions or the lack thereof. They owe a duty of reasonable care, and they failed to provide that care.
Talk to a Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy Lawyer in Arkansas
After a birth injury, you can be left wondering where to turn and what to do. An Arkansas hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy attorney from Birth Injury Lawers Group can talk you through your case and point you towards experienced medical providers who can help your child.
Call us or contact us online for your FREE initial consultation with one of our lawyers.