Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), is a type of newborn brain damage that can be caused by a number of different complications. Also called neonatal encephalopathy, birth asphyxia, or perinatal asphyxia, HIE can lead to devastating health consequences or even result in infant death.
When the brain is deprived of blood and oxygen for several minutes, permanent brain damage can occur. It can result in lifelong disorders, including cerebral palsy, impairments in vision and hearing, cognitive impairment, epilepsy and infant fatality. While the causes of this condition are numerous and varied, the negligence of a physician could be to blame.
If you believe that your infant’s HIE could have resulted from something your doctor did or did not do, the Birth Injury Lawyers Group can help. Our Texas hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy lawyers understand the complexities of this situation and can assist you in determining if you have a valid malpractice claim.
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What are the Causes of HIE?
In order for the human brain to function, it needs a continuous supply of blood and oxygen. Babies need this circulation and flow of air and blood to remain unobstructed before, during and after their birth.
Unborn babies are susceptible to HIE because birthing is an inherently dangerous process for the mother and the child. Adverse events and a wide range of complications can occur prenatally or during the childbirth that can potentially obstruct the baby’s supply of oxygenated blood.
Some of the causes are unpreventable, some are caused by human error and negligence. The events that can cause HIE include:
- Umbilical cord prolapse: This is when the cord becomes compressed because it has dropped into the birth canal during delivery. Other umbilical cord problems such as wrapped cord, true knot, or an underdeveloped umbilical cord can also cause HIE.
- Placental abruption: This occurs when the placenta detaches from the uterine wall, interrupting the supply of oxygen.
- Infection: Maternal infections left untreated during the pregnancy can result in complications that lead to HIE.
- High-risk pregnancies: Maternal high blood pressure, previous c-section, alcohol, and drug abuse are considered high-risk.
- Fetal-maternal hemorrhage: Blood loss of mother and child due to internal bleeding.
- Uterine ruptures: When the uterine wall ruptures or tears during labor.
- Pitocin misuse: Pitocin is similar to oxytocin. This synthetic form of hormone is meant to induce labor. However, the overuse can create contractions that are far too frequent or strong to deliver a proper supply of oxygen to the baby during childbirth.
- Delayed c-section: If fetal distress isn’t acknowledged quickly enough by a physician, this can lead to a delayed c-section. If the baby is not taken by c-section in time, HIE injuries can occur.
- Post-birth causes: Problems with breathing, meconium aspiration, infections or hypo/ hyperglycemia can cause HIE.
While prenatal causes of hypoxic-ischemic injury do exist, a frequent cause of HIE is the result of a delayed c-section. This can occur when the baby is not monitored properly, when the hospital is rushed or understaffed, when the doctor or midwife don’t recognize the baby’s distress in time, or a number of other causes.
Proper medical monitoring and care of her and her unborn child is critical when she is at the most vulnerable state. If you think your baby suffered due to negligence, an HIE attorney can review your case with our medical consultants to evaluate your claim.
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Texas HIE Medical Malpractice Cases
Medical malpractice is a frequent cause of HIE, and the pain of the family is magnified when they learn their baby’s injuries could have been prevented. While the cause of the injuries may be very obvious, a hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy lawyer in Texas will need to establish negligence in order to proceed.
In order to prove medical negligence existed in your case, an attorney must show:
- The typical medical standard of care was not followed in this situation. In other words, the doctor’s actions departed from what any other doctor would normally be expected to do in similar circumstances.
- That this action or inaction caused measurable injury to the infant.
It is crucial to your medical malpractice claim to find any evidence that may exist to prove the wrongdoings of medical personnel. Our attorneys have years of experience and expertise in reviewing the complex medical details of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy injury cases.
Our HIE attorneys have helped other families to recover damages from these tragic circumstances, and they are prepared to help you.
What Damages are Considered in a Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Lawsuit?
You may be wondering what can be collected in a case of medical malpractice that resulted in birth injuries. While every case is different, a settlement or verdict in your favor could result in the recovery of significant damages. Some of the recoverable damages can include:
- Emotional distress
- Loss of a family relationship
- Loss of consortium
- Lost income due to parents caring for the disabled infant/child
- Medical treatment costs (past and ongoing)
- Mental anguish
- Mobility devices like wheelchairs and other specialized equipment
- Pain and suffering
- Physical rehabilitation
- Physical therapy
- Required surgeries
- Special education costs as the infant grows to school age
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Many circumstances can lead to HIE, but if a medical professional’s inaction caused this condition, you may be able to pursue financial compensation. Filing a malpractice suit for HIE can ease the financial burden caused by medical negligence.
The treatment you received during your pregnancy, labor, delivery, and post-delivery plays a critical role in the prevention or disruption of HIE cases in newborns. If you believe medical negligence is to blame for your baby’s injuries, the Texas hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy attorneys with the Birth Injury Lawyers Group may be able to help.Contact us today for a free case evaluation. We will do everything we can to help ease your burden during this difficult time.