Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is a form of perinatal asphyxia, which is caused by systemic hypoxemia and/or reduced cerebral blood flow, according to Medscape.com. HIE is the cause of 840,000, or 23%, of all neonatal deaths worldwide. When labor is prolonged, the baby spends too much time in the birth canal with restricted blood flow and raised blood pressure. Perinatal asphyxia is one of the leading causes of newborn fatality in the U.S. and it can cause severe impairment. When HIE occurs, it requires emergency medical attention.
Causes of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
The main cause of perinatal asphyxia is prolonged oxygen deprivation, which can take many forms including:
- Prolonged labor
- The umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck
- Pre-eclampsia or eclampsia
- Rupture of the placenta
- High or low blood pressure in the mother
What are the long-term effects of HIE?
A mild case of perinatal asphyxia can be treated, and it can resolve itself without causing negative outcomes for the child. The long-term effects of HIE could include epilepsy, developmental delays such as autism, delayed brain development, difficulty with language acquisition, motor difficulties, learning disorders such as dyslexia and ADD.
What is required to prove a birth injury?
When a doctor makes mistakes that represent a breach of the accepted standard of care, and that breach causes an injury to the mother or the baby, there may be grounds for a birth injury lawsuit. But for a lawsuit to stand, you must be able to prove that the medical malpractice happened. As the plaintiff, you must show that there was a doctor-patient relationship between the mother and the doctor and the infant and the doctor. In a birth injury claim, your lawyer would hire a medical expert witness who can speak to what any other reasonable physician in the same specialty would do in the same circumstance.
If you or your child suffered a birth injury, you may be able to hold the doctor or other medical professional accountable for their actions which caused harm to you or your newborn. A birth injury such as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy can have a lasting impact on the child’s quality of life, and it may require ongoing medical care. Compensation for those injuries and losses does not repair the hurt, but it can take care of the medical bills and acknowledge the pain and suffering and emotional distress.