FB What Is Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)?

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What Is Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)?

You may not be familiar with the medical term “hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy,” or HIE for short, because HIE is a somewhat rare condition, affecting approximately 1.5 children per 1,000 live births. Children affected by HIE have experienced brain damage,  due to an acute or subacute birth injury. Our Illinois birth injury attorneys discuss what you need to know about this condition below.

What Is HIE?

HIE is the result of an insufficient flow of blood or oxygen to the brain. This lack of blood flow occurs during labor, or delivery. A prolonged lack of oxygen to the brain causes cellular damage and cell death. This damage can spread to other regions of the brain if left untreated. Paradoxically, reintroducing oxygen can sometimes trigger more brain damage.

HIE may lead to permanent conditions or disorders, such as cerebral palsy or epilepsy. Other conditions include cognitive impairments and developmental delays. Problems with vision or hearing may also develop as a result of HIE.

However, each case of HIE will differ depending on the circumstances. The amount of time that the brain was deprived of oxygen will affect the severity of HIE. Furthermore, the part of the brain affected by the lack of oxygen matters too, as certain areas of the brain are more vulnerable.

What Causes HIE?

There are many potential causes of HIE.

In some cases, HIE is the result of medical error or negligence. If the mother’s labor and delivery are improperly managed, HIE may occur. Failure to prevent a premature birth, to intervene during a prolonged labor, or to detect fetal distress may lead to HIE. Additionally, prescribing certain kinds of medication for labor may affect the mother’s contractions. If strong enough, these contractions may restrict oxygen flow to the baby’s brain.

When HIE is the result of medical error or negligence, this birth injury can have legal ramifications. If your child experienced HIE as the result of medical malpractice, you may be able to pursue monetary compensation within the legal system.

What Are Common Symptoms of HIE?

There are a few signs to look out for after birth, which may indicate HIE. These symptoms include:

  • Low or irregular heart rate
  • Irregular or slow breathing
  • Seizure activity
  • Abnormal reflexes to environmental stimuli
  • Abnormal muscle tone
  • Difficulty feeding
  • Organ dysfunction
  • Low AGPAR scores
  • Sleepiness
  • Difficulty maintaining temperature
  • Lack of or excessive crying

A baby who displays a combination of the above symptoms may need brain imaging. An ultrasound or MRI will confirm whether there is brain tissue damage. Testing the pH reading of the baby’s blood may also shed light on the issue.

Contact Our Illinois Birth Injury Lawyers to Learn More

HIE is a serious medical condition. Depending on the severity of this condition, permanent complications may arise.

If your child sustained an HIE injury as the result of medical negligence or mismanagement during labor or delivery, you may have legal options. Compensation may help you pay for previous, current, or future medical expenses, and therapies and treatments for your child, among other needs.

Our attorneys help families throughout the state of Illinois and nationwide. To learn more about your legal options, contact our birth injury lawyers in Chicago. We can assess your particular case to determine whether it is viable. You can get a free consultation by calling us at (877) 262-9767 or by messaging us online.

 

The following reviews from our clients do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of another legal matter. The cases mentioned in the reviews are illustrative of some of the matters previously handled by Grant & Eisenhofer involving various areas of birth injury law. These reviews are endorsements.

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The following reviews from our clients do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of another legal matter. The cases mentioned in the reviews are illustrative of some of the matters previously handled by Grant & Eisenhofer involving various areas of birth injury law. These reviews are endorsements.

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