Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy - NY Birth Injury Lawyer
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Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), also known as perinatal asphyxia, causes 23% of all neonatal fatalities worldwide. The condition affects thousands of infants each year in the United States. In fact, it is the number one cause of death and/or substantial brain damage among newborns. With proper prenatal care, the risk of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is signficantly reduced. However, medical negligence may be responsible for causing HIE and resulting damages.

If you believe medical malpractice is the root cause of your baby’s complications from hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, a New York birth injury lawyer from The Sanders Firm can help. For over 45 years, we have been challenging the doctors and attending medical staff who may have violated common standards of medical care required by law, inflicting serious birth injuries on newborns all across the state.  Our legal team is an exclusive network of legal talent, investigators, and medical experts who are able to reveal the exact source of a birth injury and identify who is responsible. We offer free legal consultation to victims and families still reeling from a diagnosis of HIE.

What is hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy

HIE is an injury to the brain caused by a lack of oxygen. While a newborn can adjust to short periods of time without adequate oxygen, asphyxia for longer periods begins to destroy brain tissue. Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy has been connected to epilepsy, mental retardation, and cerebral palsy, as well as other developmental and motor impairments. Under most circumstances, the severity of damage will not be known until the child is three to four years of age; therefore, it is important to understand the causes and the symptoms for early detection. The sooner the condition is detected, the sooner treatments can be utilized.

Causes of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)

The conditions that can lead to asphyxia are varied. Many of the conditions can be ascertained ahead of time, thereby allowing attending medical staff to avoid an outcome of HIE.

Identifiable conditions include:

  • Low blood pressure in the mother
  • Maternal diabetes
  • Poor lung function in the fetus
  • Poor fetal blood circulation; disrupted blood blow
  • Cephalopelvic disproportion injury; baby’s head is too large pass through the birth canal
  • Stressful labor
  • Prolapsed umbilical cord
  • Placental abruption

Each of the above complications warrants distinctive medical protocol. The New York standards of care are clearly known throughout the medical field. Failure to meet the commonly accepted standards may constitute medical negligence for which the attending personnel may be liable.

The Sanders Firm team includes an exclusive staff of medical experts who are up to date regarding changes to the New York standard of medical care. When the attending caregivers at your birth run afoul of those standards, we will pinpoint when the breach occurred and whose negligence contributed to birth injury of your baby.

HIE detection is critical

Various tools such as MRIs, diffusion-weighted imaging, and MR spectroscopy are available to medical personnel that can reveal symptoms of HIE prior to birth.   However, if HIE is not suspected by medical personnel at the time of birth, diagnosis may delayed. Abnormal growth, motor function, and developmental delays are the most common symptoms. Damage from asphyxia is usually permanent.

The most common complications from HIE include:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Epilepsy
  • Motor impairments
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Developmental delays

Avoiding hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy

Understanding the risk factors associated with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy are the most important step in preventing the development of HIE during birth. Other good practices include:

  • Proper electronic fetal monitoring
  • Staff that are fully apprised of any pre-existing medical conditions
  • Presence of an obstetrician and anesthesiologist available at the time of birth

Much too often, the quality of care due to medical malpractice is the biggest contributor to this type of birth injury in New York.

New York birth injury lawsuits

A successful birth injury lawsuit offers financial compensation to the victim and family tasked with the victim’s care throughout life. Compensatory damages for the victim’s pain and suffering may also be significant. Though a financial remedy can never pay the full value of the damage inflicted on a victim of a birth injury, these awards nevertheless offer some measure of justice, closure, and a vastly improved quality of life for all involved.

The Sanders Firm is renowned throughout New York for bringing the highest level of legal representation to our clients impacted by birth injury. Armed with the most thorough  investigators, studied medical experts, and aggressive trial lawyers, our team puts our strongest efforts behind you. If you believe your child suffered a birth injury caused by hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, call us for a free evaluation of your potential claim. Call 1.888.660.3714 to speak with a birth injury lawyer. Our offices are conveniently located in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Long Island.

 


  1. Medscape, Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/973501-overview

  2. American Pregnancy Association, Cephalopelvic Disproportion (CPD) http://americanpregnancy.org/labornbirth/cephalopelvicdisproportion.html

  3. Birthinjury.org, Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy http://www.birthinjury.org/brain-injury-cerebral-palsy-hypoxic-ischemic-encephalopathy.html

  4. NYU Langone Medical Center, Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=230598