Understanding Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)

We trust doctors to do everything they can to bring babies into the world safely. Sometimes complications are unavoidable, but when they do arise, we expect medical professionals to react accordingly.

If your baby experienced oxygen deprivation during birth, they may experience serious complications in the future. The Talaska Law Firm is here to help. We have the skills and experience in birth injury law to help you recover financial compensation to help you pay for medical bills and extra care for your child.

What Is Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy?

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), also called perinatal asphyxia, is one of the most common types of brain damage caused by loss of oxygen. "Hypoxic" refers to a shortage of oxygen in the blood, "ischemic" means a shortage of blood flow to the brain and "encephalopathy" is the brain damage that results.

HIE can cause an infant's death or severe impairment, including:

  • Epilepsy
  • Developmental delays
  • Motor impairment
  • Neurodevelopmental delay
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Cerebral palsy

The level of damage caused by HIE during delivery is difficult to ascertain at the newborn stage; doctors often cannot determine the severity of the brain injury until the child is 3- or 4-years old.

Can HIE Be Prevented?

In many cases oxygen deprivation happens when an issue is overlooked or mismanaged during delivery, or even during the pregnancy itself. Issues with the umbilical cord, for example, have to be closely monitored and treated, as the umbilical cord is the baby's only source of oxygen while in the womb. Other causes of HIE include:

  • Uterine rupture
  • Placental abruption
  • Placenta previa
  • Placental insufficiency
  • Certain infections such as group B strep, meningitis and genital herpes

Some of these issues can be prevented simply by closely monitoring a high-risk pregnancy, others by performing a C-section rather than a vaginal birth. If neonatal breathing problems are addressed correctly and quickly, HIE can be prevented.

Experienced Birth Injury Attorneys Can Help

If your baby experienced HIE at birth, and you believe negligence or malpractice was the cause, we can help. With more than 20 years of experience devoted to helping families deal with birth injuries, The Talaska Law Firm has the skill and compassion necessary to help you find justice for your child.
Our nationally recognized firm in Houston, Texas, has developed a network of medical experts to help your case and stay on the cutting edge of knowledge in the field. Call 888-791-5191 or send an email to schedule a free consultation with a compassionate lawyer who can evaluate your case.