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Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

Baltimore Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Attorney

Giving a Voice to Wrongfully Injured Children

Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a severe birth injury caused by an infant’s brain receiving too little oxygen and blood during the birthing process. It is also possible for HIE to occur before or shortly after birth, but this is less common.

When hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy occurs, it is often the direct result of a medical provider’s negligence. If your child was born with HIE, call our firm. Our Baltimore hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy attorneys are proud to stand up for children who have suffered due to someone else’s mistakes.

Our goal is to secure a fair compensation amount on your behalf that brings you financial stability, a sense of justice, and closure.

Get in touch with a hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy lawyer serving Baltimore, (410) 698-1717 for a free case evaluation.

About Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

What is HIE?

Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) is a medical condition that occurs when there is a lack of oxygen (hypoxia) and blood flow (ischemia) to the brain, leading to damage of brain tissue. This condition typically arises during childbirth, especially if there are complications that result in inadequate oxygen supply to the baby's brain.

HIE can have serious consequences for the affected individual, causing neurological impairment and, in severe cases, leading to long-term disabilities or even death. The severity of HIE can vary, and the extent of damage depends on factors such as the duration and degree of oxygen deprivation.

Common causes of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy include:

  • Umbilical Cord Complications: Problems with the umbilical cord, such as a prolapsed or compressed cord, can lead to reduced blood flow and oxygen delivery to the baby.
  • Placental Issues: Complications with the placenta, which provides nutrients and oxygen to the fetus, can result in decreased oxygen supply to the developing baby.
  • Maternal Hypotension: Low blood pressure in the mother can reduce blood flow to the placenta and, consequently, decrease oxygen delivery to the fetus.
  • Complications During Labor and Delivery: Prolonged labor, difficulties with the birthing process, or other complications during delivery can contribute to oxygen deprivation.
  • Infections: Infections in the mother or baby can lead to inflammation and affect oxygen delivery to the developing brain.
  • Cardiac Issues: Congenital heart defects or other cardiac problems in the baby may compromise blood flow to the brain.
  • Respiratory Issues: Any conditions that affect the baby's ability to breathe properly, such as meconium aspiration or respiratory distress syndrome, can contribute to HIE.

Diagnosis of HIE often involves clinical assessments, imaging studies (such as brain scans), and evaluation of the baby's medical history. Treatment may include therapeutic hypothermia, a medical intervention aimed at reducing the body temperature to minimize further damage to the brain.

The long-term outcomes for individuals with HIE can vary, and some may require ongoing medical and therapeutic support. Early detection and intervention are crucial for minimizing the impact of HIE on a child's development and quality of life.

What Are the Symptoms of HIE?

According to the Birth Injury Help Center, HIE is a serious condition with life-altering symptoms and complications that can even result in death. Babies who suffer from HIE show a wide variety of symptoms, which may include the following:

  • Acidosis (the buildup of acid in the body)
  • Low Apgar scores (newborn health scores) for five minutes or more
  • Depressed or absent reflexes
  • Yellowed skin and nails (due to stained meconium)
  • Irregular breathing that may be depressed, slow, or absent
  • Irregular, “floppy” muscle tone
  • Low heart rate or no detectable heart rate
  • Pale or bluish skin tone
  • Seizures

Long-Term Consequences of HIE

Oxygen or blood loss to the brain is traumatic, even if it lasts only a few seconds. In a newborn child, the consequences can be especially severe compared to those in an adult.

The long-term consequences of HIE include but are not limited to:

  • Developmental problems
  • Lack of motor skills
  • Epilepsy

When we seek compensation on behalf of you and your child, we consider how HIE will affect your lives now and far into the future. Depending on the extent of your child’s dysfunction and other factors, we may seek a settlement or a jury verdict. We’ll do whatever it takes to bring you justice.

How do Doctors Cause HIE?

Most cases of HIE are completely preventable with proper medical care and attention. It is up to a medical provider to carefully assess a baby’s health and that of the pregnant mother before, during, and after birth to reduce the chances of a brain injury like HIE. A medical provider must also act with the utmost care during the delivery process to avoid depriving the child’s brain of oxygen.

HIE can be caused by:

  • Delayed or prolonged labor
  • A needlessly delayed C-section
  • Umbilical cord strangulation
  • A baby’s unusual positioning in the birthing canal

Determining Liability

Many cases of HIE in children are entirely preventable. However, it can be difficult to prove a case was preventable and only happened due to a doctor’s negligence.

Determining liability in cases of HIE can be complex and involves a thorough examination of the circumstances surrounding the birth and the actions of the medical professionals involved. Liability may arise if medical negligence or malpractice is identified as a contributing factor to the development of HIE.

Here are key steps and factors considered in determining liability:

  1. Medical Standard of Care: Establishing the standard of care is crucial. This involves determining what a reasonable and competent healthcare professional would have done in similar circumstances. Medical guidelines, protocols, and accepted practices in the relevant field are often considered.
  2. Causation: There must be a connection between the medical professional's actions (or lack thereof) and the development of HIE. It needs to be demonstrated that the negligence directly led to oxygen deprivation or other factors contributing to HIE.
  3. Expert Testimony: Medical experts play a significant role in HIE cases. Expert witnesses, usually other healthcare professionals, may provide testimony to help establish the standard of care, evaluate whether it was breached, and link any negligence to the outcome.
  4. Medical Records Review: Thoroughly examining medical records is essential. This includes prenatal records, labor and delivery records, and postnatal records. Any deviations from standard procedures, failure to monitor vital signs or delays in responding to complications may be indicative of negligence.
  5. Timeline of Events: Establishing a timeline of events during labor and delivery is crucial. This includes understanding when signs of distress were observed, when interventions were implemented, and whether there were any delays in responding to emergencies.
  6. Informed Consent: If the parents were not adequately informed about risks and alternatives, this may also be a factor. Lack of informed consent can contribute to liability if the medical professionals failed to communicate potential risks associated with certain procedures.
  7. Documentation of Communication: Any communication between healthcare professionals and the parents, as well as among the medical team, should be reviewed. Clear documentation of discussions, decisions, and actions taken is important.
  8. Hospital Policies and Procedures: Compliance with hospital policies and procedures is another aspect to consider. Failure to follow established protocols may contribute to liability.

An HIE lawyer from our firm can review medical records and interview experts to determine whether your child’s case of HIE was preventable. If your lawyer discovers your child’s case was preventable and caused by a doctor’s negligence, the doctor may be found liable for your child’s damages.

What Damages Could I Collect for My Child?

Since birth, your child may be experiencing serious symptoms and complications, such as seizures or epilepsy. Your child deserves recompense for their injury and suffering, and you deserve compensation for your financial damages, so you should consider filing a legal claim for all of these damages and others.

If you decide to pursue legal action, you may be able to claim and collect the following damages:

  • Medical bills, including bills you’ll have to pay in the future
  • Bills for any assistive equipment your child may need
  • Bills for any therapies your child may require, like physical therapy or occupational therapy in the future
  • Lost wages due to having to look after your child
  • Pain and suffering and mental anguish

Contact Brown & Barron online today to schedule a free case review with a hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy lawyer serving Baltimore.

Can I Sue for My Child’s Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy?

Instead of filing a claim for your child’s HIE, you could file a lawsuit. Depending on the circumstances, one option may be better than the other. One of our firm’s lawyers can help you decide whether to file a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit.

If you and your lawyer choose to file the lawsuit, your lawyer will have to meet the filing deadline for medical malpractice lawsuits. To help you meet the deadline, you should consider hiring your lawyer soon.

Call Upon More Than 137 Years of Collective Legal Experience

Our team of Baltimore HIE attorneys has been protecting our clients’ rights for decades. To handle your child’s sensitive HIE injury case, you should have a team as experienced and attentive as ours at Brown & Barron on your side. For a free consultation and case review with a member of our team, call our firm today.

Why You Should Hire One of Our Attorneys

Our firm’s attorneys represent children and their parents in delicate legal matters, like birth injury cases. We’re proud to represent those in Baltimore and surrounding communities.

Children can’t stand up for themselves, and their parents can struggle to stand up against large, intimidating entities, like hospitals and insurance companies, so we’ve dedicated our professional lives to representing these children and parents. Our clients receive comprehensive legal service and our complete attention. You can expect us to serve you the same way if you become our next client.

When we can’t settle a client’s case with an insurer, we don’t hesitate to take a case to court. 

Our attorneys are very successful negotiators and litigators, having achieved multi-million-dollar settlements and verdicts.

Our Difference

Why Choose Brown & Barron, LLC?
  • An Unwavering Commitment to What's Right
    Brown and Barron is a law firm that fights for the most vulnerable members of society to achieve a true sense of closure after a devasting event. We are passionate about the people we work with and the cases we argue and will do whatever it takes to not only restore your justice but also restore your life.
  • A History of Being Responsive & Accessible

    Our firm culture ensures that all clients feel like family, as evidenced by more than 150 five-star Google reviews. We ensure from the beginning of your case until the very end that your voice is not only heard but echoed until you obtain the justice you deserve. We work with you throughout the process to make sure that the results we arrive at make sense for you and your family.

  • A Team of Dedicated Advocates
    Our legal team not only has over 137 combined years of trial experience, but we pride ourselves on being the top attorneys in our field. With a specialization in complex cases, we have attorneys who have not only graduated from the most prestigious universities, but who have also proved to be recognized with the profession's most distinguished honors.
  • A Proven Track Record of Success

    Brown & Barron has a history of results-oriented representation and we have obtained more than $90 million for our clients since 2017. Our team has a proven record of restoring lives and restoring justice.

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