Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a term used to describe brain damage that occurs near the time of birth, caused by lack of oxygen and blood flow to the fetal brain. The clinical characteristics of HIE include various combinations of fetal disturbance near or during labor and delivery (fetal heart rate abnormalities, sentinel events like uterine rupture or umbilical cord prolapse), umbilical cord arterial blood gas values indicative of metabolic acidosis, depressed Apgar scores, and a neonatal neurological syndrome.
HIE also includes the presence of brain injury consistent with clearly defined hypoxic ischemic insults. Newborns who are diagnosed with HIE are often described as having suffered perinatal asphyxia, intrapartum asphyxia, or birth asphyxia. HIE often leads to cerebral palsy, developmental delays, cognitive impairment, and other long term physical and mental disability.
Was your child diagnosed with HIE? Find out if malpractice was involved and whether you are entitled to compensation. Call Cleveland birth injury attorney John A. Lancione at (440) 220-4439 for a free case review.
The diagnosis of HIE is made based on the clinical characteristics of the newborn immediately after birth and brain imaging studies demonstrating a brain injury pattern caused by lack of oxygen (hypoxia) and lack of blood flow (ischemia). Newborns who suffer HIE during labor and delivery are born severely depressed. They have low Apgar scores, they are limp, pale, and often require resuscitation, including chest compressions and assistance with breathing. Fetal heart rate abnormalities consistent with fetal hypoxia and metabolic acidosis are always present on the electronic fetal monitor when the fetus is exposed to damaging degrees of hypoxia and ischemia.
During Labor & Delivery, Every Second Counts
The length of time the baby was deprived of oxygen matters because it sets the stage for survival with adverse effects and survival without adverse effects.
The longer a fetus is exposed to severe hypoxia and ischemia during labor and delivery, the greater the likelihood that brain damage will occur. Animal and human studies have provided extraordinary insight into the relation of hypoxic-ischemic insults to abnormalities of fetal heart rate and metabolism and to the resulting brain damage. When the electronic fetal monitor shows fetal heart rate abnormalities consistent with severe hypoxia, asphyxia, and acidosis, delivery of the baby should occur as fast as safely possible.
Talk to an Cleveland Birth Injury Attorney About Your Rights
Delayed delivery, mismanagement of childbirth complications, and outright negligence can lead to HIE, affecting a child and his or her family in many different ways. If medical malpractice was involved, our Cleveland HIE lawyer can work with our medically-trained staff to investigate the circumstances surrounding labor and delivery. We can identify negligent conduct and can take the necessary steps to pursue fair, complete compensation for your child’s care.
Call our offices at (440) 220-4439 to learn more about your rights and how we can help you.