Is your child struggling with complications from oxygen deprivation? You may have many worries:

  • Will my child ever get better?
  • Will my child ever have a normal life?
  • Could this have been prevented?
  • Should I consider a malpractice lawsuit?

Our experienced birth injury lawyers are here to help guide you through this troubling time.

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Oxygen deprivation is one of the leading causes of birth injuries and developmental disorders. While some infants are capable of recovering from very brief bouts of oxygen deprivation, many others are left with lifelong ailments. Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) is the medical term for injuries caused by oxygen deprivation.

Some of these cases are the result of a medical professional's mistakes before or during the delivery. If your child is struggling with health complications as a result of oxygen deprivation, we understand the stress your family is dealing with.

These complications often require lifetime treatment, which can lead to insurmountable medical expenses, as well as other damages such as pain and suffering. A lawsuit can secure the financial compensation your family needs to best nurture your child throughout his or her life.

Symptoms of HIE

Some HIE cases are obvious, such as when an infant is delivered unconscious. Other symptoms may not surface until after delivery. Infants who have suffered brain oxygen deprivation may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Slow or irregular breathing
  • Low or absent heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Low muscle tone
  • Blue or very pale skin
  • Impaired reflexes

Doctors use a grading scale called Sarnat to diagnose HIE. This scale evaluates the newborn's appearance, alertness, breathing, and the duration of symptoms in order to make a diagnosis.

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How Does HIE Happen?newborn cradled in arms

There are many different causes of oxygen deprivation during the birth process. Some of these are unavoidable, while others are the direct result of medical negligence. Specific causes include:

  • Placental insufficiency
  • Placental abruption
  • Uterine rupture
  • Aneurysm rupture
  • Umbilical knots
  • Cord compression
  • Cord prolapse
  • Maternal blood clotting
  • Placental blood clotting
  • Fetal maternal hemorrhage
  • Low maternal blood pressure
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Physical trauma during delivery
  • Shoulder dystocia

Many of these influencers arise independently, through no fault of the healthcare professionals involved. But many others are preventable injuries which only occurred because of medical negligence. In these cases, negligent professionals must be held accountable for their carelessness.

Childbirth is an extremely delicate process which requires extreme precision by all professionals. Even a minor lapse in professionalism can cause lifelong complications. No child or family deserves to suffer as a result of medical negligence during the birthing process.

Complications From HIE

Each HIE case is different. Some babies are fortunate enough to recover from periods of oxygen deprivation with little damage. The extent of complications usually depends on the length of oxygen deprivation, the overall health of the infant and mother, and the severity of the deprivation. Common long-term complications include:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Hearing and vision impairments
  • Cognitive developmental issues and learning disorders
  • Epilepsy and seizures
  • Impaired coordination and motor skills

Any birth injury or developmental disorder is tragic, but it's especially heart-wrenching when an injury is the direct result of human error. When medical negligence causes a permanent injury or disorder, families and children are both forced to suffer. These complications often require a lifetime of expensive medical care and unimaginable pain and suffering for the entire family.

Treatment Methodssick newborn baby

Modern medicine has made significant advancements in the treatment of HIE. If promptly identified and addressed, medical professionals can often save the child from serious long-term complications. These treatments include:

Therapeutic Hypothermia

Studies have shown that immersive full-body cooling of the infant can help reduce the risk of complications or death. This tactic is only applicable to moderate and severe cases. TH is more effective if it is begun shortly after birth - ideally within six hours. The body is slightly cooled to between 33.5°C and 34.5°C for an uninterrupted period of 72 hours. Next, the body will be gradually rewarmed over a period of at least 4 hours at increments of 0.5°C until the internal temperature reaches normal levels (36.5-37°C).

Ventilatory Support

Newborns with HIE often require ventilatory support after birth. Mechanical ventilation can help stabilize blood gasses and acid-bases. This can help prevent future complications, such as hypoxia.

Blood Pressure Management

Hypotension, or abnormally low blood pressure, can cause serious complications for the infant. Healthcare professionals must monitor HIE patients to ensure adequate blood pressure. Dopamine and dobutamine may be introduced to raise BP levels to healthy amounts.

Each case is different and will require personalized care plans based on severity.

Compensation For Damages

Have you and your partner recently given birth to a child with serious brain injuries which resulted from oxygen deprivation? We understand that you are burdened with a variety of stresses at this time. Planning for the future of your family is nearly impossible with so much uncertainty over your child's health and the treatments he or she will require.

It's important to consider the possibility that these birth complications could have been avoided. An experienced medical malpractice legal team can analyze the details of your incident in order to make this determination. If you have a case, you may be eligible to recover damages for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earning potential for you or your child
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of quality of life

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