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June 26, 2019

What Is Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy?

Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) is a specific type of brain damage that can occur during labor and delivery or in the neonatal period when a baby’s brain fails to receive adequate oxygen and blood flow. Sadly, HIE is the cause of neonatal deaths and brain injury.

There are numerous ways your baby could suffer oxygen deprivation that leads to HIE. Some of them are due to the negligence of doctors and hospitals. One common cause includes failure by doctors, midwives and nurses to recognize fetal distress on an electronic fetal monitor.

Diagnosing HIE in Labor

There are numerous signs and symptoms that the baby may have suffered a hypoxic episode in utero. Doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals that see these signs need to consider the possibility that the baby may be suffering from too little oxygen. Some of the signs include:

  • Decreased fetal heart rate
  • Decelerations in fetal heart rate
  • Decreased activity of the baby’s central nervous system
  • Slow or sluggish responses of the fetal heart rate in response to uterine contractions
  • Meconium stained amniotic fluid

Long-term Effects of HIE

Babies who are diagnosed with HIE may suffer from a variety of long-term effects. The severity of the effects will depend largely on the severity of the lack of oxygen and how long the hypoxic episode lasted.

Babies with severe HIE may experience significant developmental delays, epilepsy, speech disorders, impaired vision, cognitive issues, problems with motor function, and Cerebral Palsy. They live their lives with painful and debilitating issues that often require a lifetime of special care.

HIE Caused by Medical Negligence

There are times when a baby suffers from brain damage because of misdiagnosis or medical negligence. Failure to properly monitor the mother and fetus during labor and delivery or in the NICU can result in hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. In Rhode Island, families who believe that their baby suffered harm because of a medical professional’s negligence can seek compensation by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

An experienced Rhode Island birth injury lawyer can help you choose the legal path that is best for your family after a serious and devastating birth injury. Medical negligence lawsuits have two main goals: to take care of children with HIE by obtaining a settlement or verdict and to hold negligent medical, midwifing and nurses accountable.

By filing a medical negligence lawsuit, you may be able to recover the money you will need to provide a lifetime of specialized care for your child and prevent other families from suffering birth injuries in the future. Medical negligence lawsuits encourage institutions to develop and implement better safety procedures and review how their own policies contribute to these devastating birth injuries.

Why Birth Injury Cases Require A Special Law Firm

Most personal injury law firms will accept medical negligence cases but birth injuries go beyond what we might call “average” malpractice injuries. An injured adult can speak for him or herself. An injured adult can show and prove the state of his or her health before and after a botched medical procedure. A newborn baby can’t speak. A newborn baby has no prior health record to show. Proving that a birth injury was caused by medical malpractice requires specific knowledge and understanding of birth and labor injuries and their consequences.

Accepting legal advice and representation from a law office that doesn’t fully understand the intricacies of birth injury cases can not only harm your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve, but it can also jeopardize the future medical care of your child.

Contact Our Providence Birth Injury Lawyers Today

If your baby suffered hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy during the labor and delivery process, we can help. At Mandell, Boisclair & Mandell, Ltd, our Providence birth injury attorneys know that the families of children who have suffered a birth injury often need help paying for medical expenses and necessary special care. We also know that these kinds of injuries can result in a lifetime of disability, pain, and suffering.

As veteran Rhode Island trial lawyers, our team has the knowledge and experience necessary to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the full and fair compensation to which you are entitled. Our goal is not just to help you get through today, but to make sure that you have what you need for the future as well.

Call us at (401) 273-8330 or contact us online anytime to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation. We’ll be happy to go over the details of your case and discuss what we can do to help you.