Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)

Mar 04, 2021

What is HIE?

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is a type of brain injury that occurs when the brain does not receive sufficient oxygen or blood flow. This can happen during the labor and delivery period and may be because of the negligence of a healthcare provider or healthcare providers. HIE occurs more often than you would think and is a very serious condition that can result in a permanent brain injury to the baby or the baby’s death.

Is there treatment for HIE?

If doctors suspect that your baby’s brain may have suffered a loss of oxygen or blood flow, they may treat your baby with therapeutic hypothermia, which is sometimes called cooling. Therapeutic hypothermia cools your baby’s body temperature in hopes of slowing the injury process and preventing additional damage. Even with this treatment, babies who have suffered HIE may still suffer from catastrophic and life-altering results from the loss of oxygen to their brain.

What can HIE mean for my baby’s future?

HIE may manifest in multiple ways. A baby who has suffered HIE may experience, among other things, feeding problems, breathing issues, vision problems, hearing problems, seizures, attention deficits, motor impairments, cognitive impairments, developmental delays and behavioral issues. In addition to HIE, a baby may be diagnosed with associated conditions including, but not limited to, epilepsy and cerebral palsy.

Babies who have suffered HIE often require speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy and care by a neurologist. They also often require special help in school, if they have sufficient mental capacity to attend school. They may also be managed by seizure medications, require braces to help them walk and require other equipment on a regular basis.
Significant HIE may require a baby to require 24-hour care seven days per week for their lifetime. It may also result in the baby being unable to maintain meaningful employment during their lifetime.

Could this have been prevented?

If your baby has been diagnosed with HIE, it is possible that it is the result of medical malpractice. If healthcare providers failed to take proper precautions for a high-risk pregnancy, failed to properly monitor your baby during the labor and delivery process, failed to react to concerns in your baby’s heartrate, failed to timely deliver your baby, or failed to provide timely and proper care after becoming suspicious that your baby may have suffered a loss of oxygen to his or her brain, their negligence may be the cause of the condition.

New parents have a million things on their minds under the best circumstances. When their baby is born under scary circumstances and taken to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), their main concern is their baby’s health, not investigating whether their child’s condition is a result of medical malpractice. The attorneys at Edwards Kirby are here to listen with empathy, investigate and, if medical malpractice has occurred, fight with passion to recover the amount it will take to care for the baby as a result of the injuries caused by that malpractice. With Edwards Kirby involved, parents can focus on their baby’s health and being good parents. Clients and colleagues continually trust our team because:

  • We’ve recovered hundreds of millions in compensation for our clients.
  • Our lawyers are recognized among The Best Lawyers in America by U.S. News.
  • We have the resources of a Big Law firm and provide the personal touch of a small practice.
  • Our firm has secured record results, including the largest personal injury verdict and the largest personal injury settlement in North Carolina state history.

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