Newborn Asphyxiation Injury
Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a condition caused by an asphyxiation event before or during birth. When a newborn receives an insufficient supply of oxygen during delivery, HIE can occur. HIE can result in neurological damage or damage to other organs. Newborns affected by HIE can suffer brain, heart, kidney or liver damage, impaired breathing, and even death.
The effects of HIE can range from mild to severe. With less serious forms of HIE, brain damage can correct itself within hours after birth. In more severe cases, serious brain damage can occur. If resuscitation is necessary, the sudden increase in oxygen in the newborn’s blood stream can actually lead to more severe brain damage. The chemical reactions that occur as the brain works to repair itself can actually cause further damage.
Children who survive severe cases of HIE may be diagnosed with hypoxic brain injury or cerebral palsy. The long-term effects of HIE typically manifest by the time a child reaches the age of 3 of 4. Long-term complications can include developmental delay, epilepsy and cognitive impairment.
With the use of a cooling procedure, continued brain damage can be minimized. The procedure involves lowering a newborn’s body temperature to 91 degrees for the first 72 hours of life through with a cooling cap or blanket. By lowering the baby’s body temperature, the baby’s metabolic rate slows, preventing the dangerous chemical reactions that take place in the baby’s brain.
HIE occurring prior to delivery can be detected through prenatal testing. Newborn asphyxiation during delivery typically occurs because of improper fetal monitoring during labor, and it often causes permanent damage.
If your child suffers from Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, an experienced medical malpractice attorney at The McClelland Law Group can fight for your child’s right to compensation for the injuries suffered.