As a Civil Trial Practice with a history of fighting for injured victims and families, Edwards Kirby is all too familiar with the immense psychological and financial toll that can accompany birth injures like HIE – hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy – especially when they arise from medical malpractice.
This month, we’d like to show our support for HIE Awareness Month and efforts to promote education and support for families facing this difficult diagnosis.
HIE Awareness Month’s theme for this year is “Choose Hope,” and it is fueled by advocates and everyday folks who help spread the word about HIE, available resources, and ongoing research.
Learn more about HIE Awareness Month and how to get involved on HOPE for HIE’s website.
Understanding HIE: Facts & Statistics
Although HIE occurs in roughly 2 to 3 of every 1,000 live births, many people don’t know what it is. HIE Awareness month is focused on changing that, and our team is happy to play a part in educating others about this devastating birth injury.
Here are a few common facts about HIE:
1. HIE is A Brain Injury
Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is a type of acquired brain injury, meaning it isn’t congenital or hereditary. HIE stands for:
- Hypoxic: A lack of oxygen
- Ischemic: Restricting blood flow
- Encephalopathy: Affecting the brain.
2. HIE Outcomes
- 75 - 80% survival rate
- 50 - 70% experience seizures
- 30 - 40% suffer developmental disabilities
3. Common Causes of HIE
HIE in newborns can be caused by many different problems before and during childbirth, including uterine rupture, umbilical cord compression, placental abruption, and difficult labor. In older children, it may be caused by near drowning, cardiac arrest, and other events that cause oxygen deprivation.
In some cases, HIE may result from medical malpractice, such as a failure to perform a timely C-section, improper use of labor-inducing drugs, failure to monitor fetal distress, and other forms of medical negligence.
4. HIE Can Cause Other Health Conditions
HIE is a form of brain damage, and it can lead to cognitive deficits, problems with vision or hearing, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, speech or feeding problems, and other conditions or developmental delays.
5. The Impact on Families
Families with children who have HIE must often make significant lifestyle adjustments to care for their child’s needs – from accommodative changes in the home and paying for medical monitoring, medications, and medical devices to becoming full-time caregivers. Like many birth injuries, HIE can have a profound emotional and financial toll on a child’s family.
6. Treatment for HIE
Head cooling, known as therapeutic hypothermia, is the most accepted and widely used treatment for HIE, but doctors must perform this therapy in a timely manner to improve outcomes. While it’s the only proven way to treat HIE and minimize the potential for lasting brain damage, researchers are actively exploring better ways to treat babies with HIE by targeting head cooling therapy on specific regions of the brain.
Proven Birth Injury Lawyers Serving North Carolina and Beyond
Edwards Kirby has earned national recognition as leaders in birth injury and medical malpractice litigation. In addition to helping families navigate highly emotional experiences, our attorneys have also secured record-setting results – including the largest negotiated birth injury settlement in North Carolina involving infant brain damage caused by medical negligence, and the largest medical malpractice jury verdict in state history.
If you have questions about a potential case, our trial lawyers are available to help. Call (919) 335-7005 or contact us online.