Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is also referred to as birth asphyxia, neonatal encephalopathy, or perinatal asphyxia. This is a form of brain damage in newborns that happens when the oxygenated supply of blood to the baby’s brain is restricted. This condition occurs in a range of circumstances—some preventable, and some due to medical error.
HIE can lead to devastating health consequences or even result in infant death. If you suspect that a medical professional’s inaction or improper action might have caused your infant to suffer hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, an Iowa HIE attorney may be able to help you. If you have a valid case, an attorney can represent you and work to pursue compensation for your damages.
For a free legal consultation, call 1-800-222-9529
How Do You Prove Negligence in a Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Case?
You may be wondering how negligence can be proven in a medical malpractice case. While every case is different, the standards are generally the same. There are some basic elements to proving negligence your lawyer will work to demonstrate.
- First, your attorney must establish a standard of care. This is a legal term that sets the bar for what a customary medical provider would have done in the same situation. This can be done with the help of expert witnesses, like other doctors whose credentials are established and recognized by the court or community.
- The lawyer will then demonstrate how the negligent act resulted in your injuries. The key is to prove that nothing else could have been the cause of the injury and it was a direct result of something the defendant did or did not do.
- Next, quantifiable damages have to be established. The substandard care had to result in extra medical costs, lost wages, or the income that will be lost in the future because of the injuries to your child.
When you hire an HIE lawyer, you can be assured of their expertise. They are very aware of the kinds of medical mistakes and negligence to look for to build your case.
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Some Common Causes of Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy
While considering the circumstances surrounding your baby’s birth, you may have wondered if certain actions during your treatment contributed to the injuries your child suffered. HIE can remain unrecognized by medical professionals and therefore proper treatment would not be administered.
These are some of the most common causes of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy:
When a baby’s shoulders become stuck inside the mother’s pelvis, the doctor needs to reposition the baby so that it can pass through the birth canal. Sometimes, health professionals can use too much force, use a vacuum extractor excessively, or misuse forceps while attempting to reposition the baby.
This can result in shoulder dystocia, a common factor in HIE development.
The failure to detect a baby’s distress through fetal monitoring can have serious medical consequences. If fetal distress remains unrecognized for a length of time, the decision to perform a c-section to preserve the health of the baby can come too late.
The supply of oxygenated blood to the baby is interrupted, and can result in HIE.
High-Risk Pregnancy Complications
The failure to monitor and properly treat high risk pregnancy conditions such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, or high blood pressure can cause HIE. If a physician doesn’t acknowledge or treat these conditions, the doctor could be held liable.
The improper dosage or overuse of medicine that is meant to induce delivery can cause the mother to experience contractions that are too frequent and too strong to allow the unrestricted flow of blood to the baby. This can lead to HIE. The doctor, prescriber, or person who administered the medication could be held responsible.
Failure to Treat Infections
Infections present in the mother or baby can lead to HIE when not recognized or treated properly. If the doctor did not diagnose or offer proper treatment in line with medical standards, this can be considered negligence.
While there are many causes of HIE, it is your right to know if it was preventable. If you believe someone else may have been responsible for the birth injuries your child experienced, it is important to contact a hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy attorney in Iowa to find out more about the legal options available to you.
What if My Child is Showing Signs of HIE Years After the Birth Occurred?
HIE is not always obvious, and there can be some instances where the signs that it occurred can begin to manifest months or even years later. The results can range from mild and hardly noticeable to lifelong, profound, and devastating. If your baby has grown into a toddler or preschooler and is showing the symptoms of an HIE occurrence, consider talking to an attorney.
A lawyer experienced in birth injuries in Iowa may be able to help you pursue financial compensation in order to pay for ongoing medical costs of your child’s condition. In these instances, the legal clock begins ticking when the injury is discovered, so don’t wait too long.
If your child is experiencing these symptoms, it is important to consider contacting an Iowa hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy lawyer to talk about the possibility of an HIE occurrence.
Some of the most common signs that HIE occurred shortly after birth include:
- Abnormal response to light
- Breathing problems
- Feeding difficulties
- Hypotonia (low muscle tone)
- Low Apgar scores at five or 10 minutes
- Organ damage or failure
- Hyperalert or lethargic states of consciousness
HIE Signs that appear in infancy or early childhood include:
- Seizure disorders such as epilepsy
- Serious motor skill impairment
- Delayed growth
- Vision impairment
- Hearing impairment
- Movement problems, general walking, crawling, balance problems
- Delays in development, or unable to reach developmental goals
Cerebral palsy can appear in some cases. While HIE is not the only cause of cerebral palsy, HIE can result in this condition. Since the appearance and diagnosis of CP can appear after the age of two years, the law recognizes that birth injuries are not always immediately apparent.
A lawyer who is familiar with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy cases in Iowa can help you to learn more about the possible connection.
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Contact an Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Attorney in Iowa Today for a Free Case Evaluation
If your child is experiencing the symptoms indicate an HIE occurrence and you are wondering what to do next, the Iowa HIE attorneys of the Birth Injury Lawyers Group are ready to listen.
We understand the damage that an HIE occurrence can cause. You may be able to recover financial damages to cover the expenses you are facing and our attorneys are here to help. Please contact us today.