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What Is Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy?

July 13th, 2017
On behalf of David Bowling of The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm, A Professional Law Corporation posted in Brain Injuries on Thursday, July 13, 2017.

Cerebral palsy is the most common physical disability among children, but knowing that your child is not alone in his or her condition does not necessarily make coping with it any easier. People with cerebral palsy may experience visual, hearing, speech, or intellectual impairments, as well as issues with motor functioning and coordination, and it can take a toll on the entire family.




Every case of cerebral palsy is unique, but each one develops as the result of a brain malformation or injury that occurs before, during, or shortly after birth. Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is one of the most common kinds of brain damage that can cause cerebral palsy. Also called intrapartum asphyxia, it is the result of oxygen deprivation during labor and delivery.

Some birth injuries are more severe than others, but all cases of medical malpractice during labor and delivery can result in additional medical bills and cause your family intense emotional distress. If your child sustained brain damage during birth because of a negligent healthcare provider, a birth injury attorney from The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm may be able to help. Call (504) 586-5200 to schedule a consultation with a brain injury lawyer in Jackson.

What Is Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy?

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is brain damage that occurs as the result of oxygen deprivation in the days leading up to birth or during the actual delivery. According to Cerebral Palsy Guidance, HIE is most common among infants who are born full term, but it can occur in premature babies, as well.

Every HIE case is different, and the extent of the brain damage ultimately depends on a variety of factors, including the severity of the oxygen deprivation and the area of the brain that it affected.

What Causes HIE?

The underlying cause of HIE is asphyxia, which can occur for dozens of possible reasons. Some of these reasons, like medical malpractice, are preventable, while others, like congenital brain defects, are essentially unavoidable.

What Are the Symptoms of HIE?

The mildest cases of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy can go undetected because they present few symptoms and resolve themselves within 24 hours. Mild to moderate cases might present symptoms like excessive crying, irritability, and poor nursing habits.

Symptoms of moderate HIE include lethargy, slow or absent reflexes, seizures, and low muscle tone. Sometimes, infants who have moderate HIE can recover fully or only sustain mild disabilities.

More severe cases of HIE typically result in lasting and more serious disabilities. Early symptoms might include any of those listed above, as well as dilated pupils, no reflexes, stupor, irregular heart rate, irregular breathing, and coma. If your infant demonstrates any of these symptoms or underwent some kind of trauma during labor and delivery, imaging tests like MRIs can conFirm the extent of any brain damage.

If your baby sustained injuries during delivery due to the negligence of a doctor or nurse, contact The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and other damages that your family incurred.

Call (504) 586-5200 to schedule a consultation with a birth injury attorney in Jackson. You can learn more about birth injury claims in Mississippi by visiting the USAttorneys website.

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