Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a brain injury that occurs in newborns who suffer oxygen deprivation and decreased blood flow before their birth. Children with HIE often have developmental delays, feeding problems, trouble breathing, seizures, low muscle tone and other issues.
An estimated 2 to 9 live births out of 1,000 are HIE-related births. Between 10% and 60% of newborns with HIE die, and about 25% of those who live have severe brain damage and impairments.
Benefits of Cooling Therapy Treatment
The only effective treatment for HIE is to lower the baby’s body temperature. Cooling therapy helps protect the baby’s brain from further injury by decreasing blood flow to the area, thereby reducing the swelling. The baby is cooled for a maximum of 72 hours, then slowly rewarmed to 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cooling therapy becomes less effective the longer the delay in treatment. When administered within 6-12 hours of the injury, cooling therapy can decrease the severity of disability for the child later in life.
Brain injuries from HIE often require the need for ongoing treatment and therapy. The life expectancy of infants with HIE depends on the extent of the condition, as well as on the children’s access to adequate treatments and therapies. With the right resources, a child’s life can be prolonged and normal functions enhanced.
Determining If Medical Malpractice Occurred
Birth injuries and birth trauma are far too common. Every year in the U.S., thousands of infants are born with life-threatening conditions which are the result of a medical mistake. Doctors do not always tell you when they’ve made a mistake or if your child’s injuries were preventable.
If your doctor or a nurse failed to identify fetal distress during delivery, or delayed in performing a C-section, and your child suffered from oxygen deprivation as a result, you may have grounds for a valid claim against the party. An experienced injury lawyer can help determine if you have a case.