Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)

Atlanta  Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) Attorneys

Helping Parents Recover Compensation for Medical Expenses and More

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), also known as "birth asphyxia," is a condition that occurs when the brain is deprived of the necessary supply of oxygen to continue normal function. It can occur at any time of life, but the term is most frequently used in reference to birth injuries which can leave the child with permanent brain damage or which may be fatal. According to the Florida Neonatal Neurologic Network, HIE affects 20 out of every 1,000 full-term births and 60% of live premature births.

If your baby suffered from mild or severe HIE as a result of preventable labor & delivery problems, come to The Tolson Firm, LLC for help. Our skilled HIE lawyers represent the rights of the injured and believe that your family should not be forced to pay the price for a doctor's negligence.

Call (404) 800-9166 or contact us online for a free initial consultation to see if you have a case. Our Atlanta HIE lawyer is ready to hear your situation and answer your questions.

What Are Symptoms of HIE?

Once symptoms are detected, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is typically confirmed via a CT scan, MRI scan, echocardiography, or ultrasound. Additional tests such as an electrocardiogram (EKG), electroencephalogram (EEG) may be used to supplement these findings.

Some of the most common symptoms associated with HIE include:

  • Meconium-stained amniotic fluid
  • Low heart rate
  • Weak muscle tone
  • Shallow breathing or no breathing at all
  • Bluish or pale skin color
  • High levels of acid in the blood

What Causes HIE in Newborns?

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy in newborns is caused by a lack of oxygen or blood flow to the brain for a period of time. It may develop during the pregnancy, during labor, during the delivery, or in the postnatal period.

Common causes and risk factors associated with HIE include:

  • Maternal diabetes
  • Maternal infections
  • Preeclampsia
  • Fetal anemia
  • Obstructed blood circulation to the placenta
  • Excessive placental bleeding
  • Prolonged labor
  • Abnormal fetal positioning
  • Cardiac or pulmonary disease
  • Low neonatal blood pressure
  • Brain or skull trauma

Doctors have a duty to monitor for complications associated with HIE during pregnancy, during labor and delivery, and during the postpartum period after the baby is born, as well as take certain precautions to mitigate these risks. If your newborn has been diagnosed with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, speak with our Atlanta HIE attorney for a consultation today. We have a thorough knowledge of medical malpractice law.

How Do I Stop My Baby From Getting Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy?

Brain cooling has gained widespread recognition as an effective treatment to halt the damage caused by cerebral hypoxia, but it must be initiated within 6 hours of birth. If a lack of proper fetal heart tracing or other errors on the part of nurses or doctors caused your child's HIE or allowed it to persist longer than necessary, you likely have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. 

Other ways to prevent your baby from getting HIE include:

  • Be aware of the risk of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy during pregnancy
  • Learn about electronic fetal monitoring during delivery
  • Confirm that the medical staff you are working with are qualified to monitor your pregnancy and the delivery process
  • Confirm that the obstetrician and anesthesiologist who will be at the delivery is qualified, certified, and properly trained.
  • Ensure that specific medical advice and personal preferences are provided to the medical staff especially in the event that the primary doctor is not available

Remember that you have rights as a patient –- you have the right to get a second opinion and the right to not be rushed into a complicated decision when it is not necessary. You also have the right to request medical records if it may help your situation. 

If your newborn has HIE, do not hesitate to reach out to one of our experienced birth injury attorneys at The Tolson Firm, LLC in Atlanta.

Effects of HIE

Conditions of HIE will vary depending on whether the infant experiences mild, moderate, or severe symptoms. Brain cells will usually begin dying within several minutes of the onset of HIE, and the damage is often irreversible. Fatality rates are high, and those who survive are often afflicted by conditions such as cerebral palsy or mental retardation.

Effects of HIE may include:

  • Delays in development
  • Epilepsy
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Impaired neurodevelopment

What Are the Stages of HIE?

If you have an HIE newborn, the severity of HIE is broken down into three stages:

  • Stage 1: Mild hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
    • There may be some behavioral issues which may be difficult to  identify from normal behavior, for example poor sleep and feeding, or crying. These types of cases may resolve over a period of 24 hours.
  • Stage 2: Moderately severe hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
    • The baby is tired or sluggish, with poor reflexes and limpness in muscles. There are no grasping or sucking reflexes. There may also be periods of pauses in breathing and seizures within the first 24 hours. These types of cases may have recovery in a few weeks.
  • Stage 3: Severe hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
    • The baby has irregular breathing, weak muscles, and no reflexes (grasping, sucking, swallowing). There are unusual eye movements and problems with their heart rate and blood pressure. Within 24 - 48 hours there are delayed seizures. There is a chance that the baby may make a full recovery, while others may end up with a permanent disability such as cerebral palsy.

If your newborn has been diagnosed with HIE, contact The Tolson Firm, LLC today. Our Atlanta hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy lawyers have years of experience in medical malpractice and we are ready to answer your questions. Call (404) 800-9166.

Recovering Compensation for HIE

If your child developed HIE due to negligent medical care, you may be able to pursue compensation for a wide range of damages including:

  • Present and future medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost earning potential
  • Permanent disability
  • In-home medical care

Speak with our  hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy attorneys in Atlanta as soon as possible

HIE Lawyer in Atlanta

When your child faces a life of suffering from severe medical conditions caused by HIE, it is advisable to retain legal representation as early as possible. A skilled HIE attorney from our firm will stand by you throughout the process of pursuing compensation, working tirelessly to maximize the amount you receive in a settlement. We have been named among the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Georgia for four consecutive years, and have litigated dozens of multi-million dollar cases to a successful resolution.

Contact an Atlanta birth injury attorney if your baby suffered hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy during birth and you want to learn whether you have grounds for a lawsuit.

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