If you are a parent whose baby has been diagnosed with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), you may have a lot of questions about what this means for your child. You may also be looking for ways to help your child recover from the effects of HIE.
Without proper treatment, all types of HIE can permanently damage your child’s brain function. Having a diagnosis of HIE and believing that the birth injury was caused by medical negligence may entitle you to compensation.
A Fort Collins HIE attorney with experience in birth injuries can help you determine whether or not this is the case and guide you through the process of filing a claim.
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What Is Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy?
Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is a type of brain injury that occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen and blood. This can occur before, during, or after birth. HIE’s short- and long-term effects on babies include developmental delay, cerebral palsy, seizures, and much more.
HIE can occur before birth due to placental abruption or umbilical cord compression during labor.
The most common causes of HIE include:
- Maternal infection during pregnancy
- Maternal bleeding during pregnancy
- Premature birth before 34 weeks gestation
- Birth defects of the heart or blood vessels of the brain (cardiac malformation)
- Problems with the placenta can cause an interruption in blood flow to the fetus (placental insufficiency)
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What Are the Signs of Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy in Babies?
Signs and symptoms of HIE vary depending on how long a baby has been deprived of oxygen and how severe the case is. The symptoms typically start within the first 24 hours of birth.
In mild cases, babies may experience seizures. More severe cases can cause permanent brain damage and lifelong disabilities. Only a doctor can diagnose your baby’s HIE.
A Fort Collins hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy attorney will help you get answers about what happened to your child. This can be extremely helpful because it helps bring closure to the family. It also helps prevent other families from experiencing similar situations in the future.
The Short-Term Effects of HIE
HIE can have a serious impact on your child’s development. The effects of HIE will depend on the severity, length, and type of injury. Some children may be able to compensate for their injuries and develop normally, while others may have significant disabilities.
Short-term effects that can occur with HIE include:
In addition to physical disabilities, there may be mental disabilities such as memory loss and learning disabilities.
Behavioral problems are common in children who have experienced HIE. Your child may have trouble sleeping and eating and may become aggressive or withdrawn.
Children with HIE often experience learning difficulties such as memory loss, speech problems, poor attention span, poor problem-solving skills, and difficulty with math.
While these problems may sound scary to new parents, medical treatment and therapy can help your child manage or recover from the effects of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.
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The Long-Term Effects of HIE
Some babies may never fully recover from this injury because they do not get enough oxygen to their brains during or shortly after birth. There are some long-term effects that parents may notice in their baby when they get home from the hospital after suffering from HIE, such as:
Babies born with HIE often have delays in their physical, cognitive, and emotional development. If left untreated, these delays can affect a child for life.
Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term that covers several conditions affecting movement and muscle tone because of damage to the brain or central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
Seizures are episodes where abnormal electrical activity in the brain causes changes in behavior, sensations, or movements.
Problems With Vision
There may be vision or hearing loss problems depending on how severe your baby’s case was before he was born. Your child’s doctor may recommend vision and hearing tests to check how well your baby can see and hear.
How Can a Fort Collins Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Attorney Help?
The short-term effects of HIE on babies are often treatable, but the long-term effects of HIE on infants can be devastating. At the very least, it will be a process of recovery. Some children will never fully recover from their injuries and may need lifelong care.
A Fort Collins hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy attorney can help you understand your rights and options in this tragic situation. As with any birth injury case involving an infant, you will need an experienced hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy lawyer who understands these cases and how to help you get financial compensation for your damages.
You will also need someone who will work hard to get you all the benefits available under Colorado law so that you do not miss out on any opportunity for recovery because of a lack of knowledge or skill on your part. Let an experienced attorney help you with your case.