Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) refers to a range of neurological injuries that occur at birth. When the supply of oxygen is insufficient, brain damage can be the result. These birth injuries are sometimes mild, sometimes severely debilitating, and can go unnoticed for years in other cases.
HIE is sometimes referred to as neonatal encephalopathy, birth asphyxia, or perinatal asphyxia. These injuries are permanent and can range from mild to debilitating, and can lead to lifelong health difficulties, disabilities, and other conditions. The treatment for these issues can continue for a lifetime, and the costs are often prohibitive to many families.
If your child suffered neurological birth injuries, it may be due to medical negligence. Our Kansas hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy lawyers understand the many circumstances that can cause HIE and can investigate the facts of your situation to determine if you have a valid malpractice claim.
For a free legal consultation, call 1-800-222-9529
What are Some of the Causes of Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)?
Doctors, midwives, or other medical staff may have made critical errors in the process of delivering your baby. Medical mistakes are a frequent cause of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, and can have long term effects that remain obscured until symptoms are discovered in early childhood.
Some of the complications are unpreventable, but others could be diverted or treated if proper medical procedure was followed. Some common causes of HIE include:
- Umbilical cord problems – Umbilical cord injuries such as wrapped cord, under developed cord, or a prolapsed cord resulting in the insufficient supply of oxygen. This is sometimes preventable, and sometimes, it is just a tragic situation that couldn’t be avoided.
- Delayed c-section – A late decision to perform a c-section or failure to recognize fetal distress can result in a delayed c-section, which can prolong the interruption of oxygenated blood supply inside the womb. This is one of the biggest causes of HIE and many doctors have been held responsible for this negligence.
- Failure to prevent a premature birth – If the medical professional fails to follow proper protocols or fails to instruct the mother how to prevent her baby from being born too early, the baby’s lungs can be underdeveloped. This creates a greater risk of HIE.
- Placental abruption or uterine rupture – If the physician mismanages uterine tears or abrupted placenta, these complications can cause HIE and the doctor may be held liable.
- High-risk pregnancy issues – If gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, high- blood pressure and other high-risk pregnancy conditions aren’t properly monitored and treated, it can lead to hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. Failure to recognize these factors and treat them accordingly can be medical negligence.
- Maternal or fetal infections – These infections can be particularly dangerous, and failure to recognize, diagnose, and treat the infection according to medical standards could result in the doctor being held liable.
- Pitocin or delivery-inducing medication misuse – Medications like Pitocin can be improperly administered resulting in extremely strong and frequent contractions. This can restrict the baby’s oxygenated blood supply and lead to HIE. The prescriber or person who administered the dose could be liable for contributing to the baby’s injury.
Birth injury attorneys have access to physicians and medical resources to help determine the causes of your child’s injury. If lack of medical intervention or other medical negligence caused your baby to suffer from HIE, your attorney is able to discover these circumstances and hold the liable parties to account.
Kansas Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Lawyer Near Me 1-800-222-9529
How Can You Prove Malpractice in a Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Case?
A birth injury lawyer with experience handling birth injury and hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy cases will know the kinds of negligence and medical errors to search for. Investigations of HIE claims often involve working with physicians and other experts in the field to arrive at accurate conclusions.
HIE lawyers use this information to build your case. Medical records and other evidence will be considered to determine if the standard of care was upheld. Your hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy lawyer in Kansas will need to prove acts of negligence occurred in order to file a valid claim.
In order to prove medical negligence, your lawyer must:
Establish Standard of Care
Your attorney has to first determine what the procedure is in this type of medical situation. The typical medical standard of care is what any other doctor or medical profession would be expected to do in a similar position with similar circumstances. This is referred to as establishing a standard of care.
This means your attorney has to show that the standard of care was breached and that this was the direct cause of the injury. This is the most difficult to prove in any medical malpractice case due to the nature of illness and injuries.
If other things could have resulted in the injury, the doctor’s lawyer will dig deep to find out and use that in the physician’s defense, whether the doctor was truly negligent or not.
Medical malpractice cases and any personal injury case involved the demonstration of damages sustained as a result of the injuries or illnesses you have suffered. This means you can include your medical bills, lost pay due to your child’s illness, or some other quantifiable loss.
What Damages Are Considered in an HIE Lawsuit?
You may be wondering what your medical malpractice case could be worth, or if it is even worthwhile to file a lawsuit. The damages in an HIE case could be recovered by a settlement from an insurance company or through an award if your case is won.
Your damages in a hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy malpractice case could include:
- Special education costs as the infant grows to school age
- Required surgeries to address the injuries and resulting conditions
- Physical therapy
- Physical rehabilitation
- Pain and suffering (emotional damages)
- Mobility equipment and devices such as wheelchairs, walkers, or braces
- Mental anguish
- Medical treatment costs (past and ongoing)
- Lost income due to missing work and caring for the child
- Loss of a family relationship or loss of consortium
- Counseling and therapy costs
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HIE occurs in roughly 2% of full-term births. If your child suffered from this type of brain damage you deserve to find out if it was preventable. Babies can adjust and compensate for some oxygen deprivation, but long periods of asphyxiation often have serious consequences.
The Kansas hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy lawyers with the Birth Injury Lawyers Group understand and some have even had personal experience with the loss you are going through. Contact us to find out how we can help you to financially recover. Schedule an appointment for a free case consultation today.