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What Parents Should Know about Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is an injury to the brain that newborns suffer during delivery when their brain does not get enough oxygen, blood, or both. Also called “birth asphyxia” or “neonatal encephalopathy,” HIE is often fatal. Newborns with HIE often suffer extreme brain damage and developmental difficulties. HIE may be treated through hypothermia therapy, which can slow the spread of the damage, but only if it is performed within the first 6 hours of the bay’s birth. Doctors may commit birth injury malpractice if they suspect a newborn has HIE and fail to provide the proper treatment.

Causes of Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy

There are many reasons a child can develop HIE. Doctors, hospitals, and the birth team should be aware of the dangers which could lead to this birth injury, including:

  • A low amniotic fluid level
  • Clotting disorders
  • A premature delivery
  • A long and difficult labor
  • Fetal stroke
  • Umbilical cord complications
  • Uterine rupture
  • Placental abruption

Other complications include post-maturity syndrome, excessively frequent contractions of the uterus, brain trauma, monitoring mistakes, and difficulties related to the newborn’s position or size. Medical errors that can contribute to the condition include anesthesia errors, not managing the mother’s conditions properly, a C-section, brain hemorrhages due to forceps and vacuum extractors, and hyperstimulation due to taking Cytotec or Pitocin.

Indicators for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy

Some of the signs of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy include:

  • The need to resuscitate the newborn
  • Low APGAR health scores
  • An inability of the baby to suck or swallow
  • Low PH blood levels
  • Low muscle tone
  • Breathing problems
  • Difficulties in multiple organs

HIE has led to a child developing cerebral palsy, cognitive disabilities, developmental delays, and microcephaly.

If your child has HIE, you need immediate help. Our Atlanta and Savannah HIE birth injury lawyers are ready to hold irresponsible doctors and OB/GYNs accountable. To learn your rights and speak with experienced Georgia trial lawyers, please phone Harris Lowry Manton LLP by calling 404-961-7650 in Atlanta, 912-651-9967 in Savannah, or by using out our contact form. We are ready to help you get justice for you and your baby.

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