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What is Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) & Why Does My Child Have It?

Was your child born with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)? Are you not sure what that medical condition even means or causes? Most parents in your situation do not have many answers, either. To help you understand hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, our doctor-lawyers from Cullan & Cullan in Phoenix have put together a helpful resource of things every parent should know about HIE.

What Causes HIE in Newborns?

Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is caused by oxygen deprivation before, during, or shortly after birth. Most cases of HIE can be linked to oxygen deprivation during the birthing process, though. Oxygen deprivation can occur due to asphyxiation or restricted blood flow to the brain. HIE may be caused by placental abruption and umbilical cord prolapse, among other types of birth trauma.

How Does Medical Malpractice Cause HIE?

A medical provider must carefully analyze the health of a mother and her child during delivery. The positioning of a child during delivery can also indicate a high risk of oxygen deprivation and HIE. Failing to notice these warning signs can constitute medical malpractice if the birth injury occurs. Misusing forceps or a vacuum extractor can cause HIE, as can incorrectly induced labor with Pitocin.

Is HIE Permanent?

As with most brain injuries, HIE that harms the brain is almost-always permanent to some degree. It is estimated that one-fourth of all babies born with HIE and survive will suffer permanent and significant brain trauma that can cause lifelong complications.

What Complications Does HIE Cause?

A child with HIE may experience learning disabilities, speech impediments, lack of muscular control, and other severe debilitations. People with HIE often need lifelong care and monitoring. They also suffer a shortened life expectancy.

What are the Signs of HIE?

HIE is not always immediately obvious in a newborn. Symptoms that may indicate the birth injury has occurred include slow reflexes, seizures early in life, nursing difficulties, and limp limbs.

Can You Seek Compensation for Your Child with HIE?

Yes, if medical malpractice is the cause of your child’s HIE, then you have the right to seek compensation from the liable party. You may be able to receive damages that help pay for lifelong care of your child and their special needs, among other things. Find out more by calling (602) 900-9483 and speaking with our Phoenix HIE lawsuit attorneys from Cullan & Cullan today. Free consultations are available.


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