Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a form of brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen. It occurs in 1.5 out of 1,000 instances of birth and is the cause of nearly one-quarter of all neonatal fatalities worldwide. The causes of HIE are varied and are sometimes preventable.
The results can range from mild to extreme. The severity of the symptoms are varied and can take as long as four years to be completely recognized in a child. When the lack of responsible medical care and attention from healthcare professionals leads to HIE in a newborn, you have the right to seek financial compensation.
Cases involving medical malpractice can be extremely complex, so it is essential to work with a hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy attorney in Kentucky who is experienced in malpractice cases. Regardless of the complexities, the Birth Injury Lawyer Group attorneys have the experience to handle HIE cases.
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Causes of Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy
The causes of HIE can be numerous and the occurrence of this event may even go unrecognized for several years. It can be unpreventable, but in some cases, medical observation and intervention can stop it from happening or reduce the impact.
Here are some of the common causes that result in Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy.
Delayed C-Sections – Excessively Long Labors
Fetal distress can be quickly resolved by a c-section in some cases. Fetal monitoring is a crucial tool in the prevention of HIE. When a doctor doesn’t address the fetal distress with a c-section quickly enough, the baby can lose a vital supply of oxygenated blood and HIE can occur.
Failure to Prevent a Preterm Birth
Premature babies with underdeveloped lungs are at greater risk of HIE, so preventative measures can be taken to delay premature birth.
Placental Abruption or Uterine Issues
If the placenta detaches too early or the uterus ruptures or tears, sufficient blood supply may not reach the baby and HIE can subsequently develop. Uterine tears are commonly seen in women who have had previous c-sections. Mismanagement of these complications could also lead to HIE.
High-Risk Pregnancy Issues and HIE
Gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and other high-risk pregnancy conditions can lead to HIE if not properly monitored and treated. If medical professionals mismanage these conditions, they could be held liable.
Maternal infections or infections in the fetus can result in HIE. Failure to diagnose or treat these infections could be considered negligence depending on the circumstance.
Blood loss of mother and child due to internal bleeding. Birth injury attorneys have the resources and medical malpractice understanding to uncover the truth about possible causes of birth injuries, including hemorrhages that may have led to HIE.
Pitocin Overuse and Misuse
The overuse of delivery-inducing medications such as Pitocin can create violently strong, frequent contractions that inhibit the proper supply of oxygen to the baby.
HIE Umbilical Cord Issues
The umbilical cord connects the mother to her baby and supplies necessary nutrients and oxygen while the child is developing inside the womb. If the cord becomes damaged or compressed, the flow of oxygen to the fetus is cut off and can cause HIE.
Post-Birth HIE Causes
Problems with breathing, meconium aspiration, infections or hypo/ hyperglycemia can cause HIE and should be properly monitored and treated.
Other Causes of HIE
Other causes of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy can include:
- C-section errors
- Anesthesia errors
- Failing to diagnose macrosomia or cephalopelvic disproportion
- Misuse of forceps
- Misuse of vacuum extractor
- Mismanaged shoulder dystocia
These medical errors can and should be considered for a medical malpractice suit if they occurred and HIE was a result. If you suspect that your baby experienced HIE but you are not convinced it was an unpreventable occurrence, contact a Kentucky hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy attorney to have the details of your case investigated.
Kentucky Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Lawyer Near Me 1-800-222-9529
Signs That Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Occurred
In some instances, HIE goes unnoticed and can create a number of symptoms that could unmask its appearance during your child’s birth. It’s important to recognize that the occurrence of these events can indicate that HIE was possible.
Common signs of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy include:
- Abnormal neurologic exams
- Abnormal reflexes
- Blood gasses indicating metabolic acidosis
- Breathing problems at birth
- Increased or decreased muscle tone
- Low Apgar scores at birth
- Pale/blue skin color at birth
- Resuscitation at birth
If you are wondering whether your child is experiencing problems that can be attributed to HIE and you believe a medical professional may be responsible, a hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy lawyer can listen to your concerns and evaluate your case.
Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice in Kentucky
It is important to note that if you fail to file a lawsuit within the legal timeframe, you may forfeit the right to pursue any financial compensation for medical malpractice that resulted in the injuries to your child.
The Kentucky statute of limitations for medical malpractice is one year in most situations. But because birth injuries don’t always reveal themselves immediately after delivery, exceptions exist. The law understands that medical mistakes can take years to surface, so the one-year timeline can begin when the injury is either discovered or when it should have been discovered.
This is why it is imperative that you do not delay seeking medical attention if you suspect something is amiss. For instance, cerebral palsy can remain undiagnosed until after the age of 2 years, however, the law places a cap on a birth injury lawsuit. It must be filed within five years of the date when the alleged malpractice that caused the birth injury occurred.
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Childhood Symptoms of HIE
To that end, it is important to recognize that your toddler or young child may be experiencing the delayed results of a birth injury. HIE isn’t always apparent at the time of birth, but the consequences can be substantial.
If your child is experiencing these symptoms, it is important to consider contacting a Kentucky hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy lawyer to talk about the possibility of an HIE occurrence.
The signs of HIE in infants and young children can include:
- Chronic seizures or epilepsy
- Serious motor skill impairment
- Growth problems
- Hearing and vision impairment
- Crawling, walking, and general movement problems
- Developmental delays
- Inability to reach developmental milestones
Contact an HIE Attorney in Kentucky Today to Schedule a Case Evaluation
In some circumstances, HIE can be attributed to medical malpractice. This unfortunate circumstance can lead to profound consequences, lifelong medical needs, and costly expenses for the family.
The Kentucky hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy lawyers of the Birth Injury Lawyers Group understand the medical complexities of these cases and can fight for your right to compensation. Financial recovery is necessary for the families affected by HIE caused by malpractice.
Consider talking to our legal team today to find out how we can help you. The consultation is at no cost to you. Call us 24/7 or contact us online.