What is HIE or Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy?

HIE stands for hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. It is a type of birth injury which occurs in the intrapartum period, typically near or during birth. HIE occurs when there is a shortage of oxygen to the baby’s brain, resulting in brain damage. The severity of the resulting brain damage is dependent on the length and severity of oxygen deprivation. HIE or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy could be a result of medical malpractice.

Infants with HIE may have lower APGAR scores, difficulty breathing, and seizures in the neonatal period, among other complications. Depending on the severity of the HIE, infants may also experience multiorgan dysfunction.
Treatment in the initial neonatal period is largely focused on supportive care, including monitoring the infant’s fluid balance, blood pressure, ventilation, blood sugars, and treating seizures. Sometimes, a cooling cap is used to reduce the infant’s body temperature.

Depending on severity, infants who experience HIE may require lifelong supportive care. It can often result in developmental delays, motor impairment, cognitive impairment, and epilepsy. HIE is also a common cause of Cerebral Palsy.

Unfortunately, medical negligence can cause HIE if the infant undergoes significant periods of asphyxia which are not noticed or adequately acted upon. There are several indicators of fetal distress, including fetal tachycardia (high fetal heart rate), prolonged or recurrent decelerations, and fetal bradycardia (low fetal heart rate). If your child experiences health concerns as a result of HIE, or you suspect that your child may have experienced HIE, you should consult with Wagners, lawyers experienced in medical malpractice to discuss your case.

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