Brain Injury Caused By Birth Asphyxia

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy

What to Do If You Suspect Your Baby’s Brain Injury Was Caused by Oxygen Deprivation at Birth 

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), sometimes called neonatal asphyxia, is a very serious birth complication created by an obstruction in blood flow in the brain during the prenatal, intrapartum or postnatal period. In shorter words, it happens when the fetus or infant’s brain is injured because of a lack of oxygen-rich blood.

HIE requires immediate medical intervention and can lead to the death of the child. For those that survive, mental disabilities and intellectual impairment, will occur in the first two years of age. These babies are also at greater risk of cerebral palsy, epilepsy, vision and hearing loss. Advanced research on HIE published in the American Journal of Perinatology has tied oxygen deprivation complications at birth to autism spectrum disorders and a range of other neurodevelopmental abnormalities.

While there are many treatments available for some of these conditions, there is no real cure for many of the hardships created by this sometimes-preventable birth injury.

April is HIE Awareness Month 

HIE can be prevented with the proper use of diagnostics and monitoring of the mother and infant during pregnancy and labor. When the oxygen levels to the baby are monitored, any change in them should be quickly noted and responded to. HIE may sometimes be prevented by the watchful care of a physician and performing an early delivery by emergency C-section.

Cause of the disease has been identified in some babies and mothers affected by:

  • Placental insufficiency
  • Uterine rupture
  • Placental abruption
  • True umbilical knots
  • Cord compression
  • Maternal blood and clotting disorders
  • Fetal maternal hemorrhage
  • Extremely low maternal blood pressure
  • Trauma during delivery
  • Placental blood clots
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Cord prolapses
  • Aneurysm rupture
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Near SIDS events

Just as important is the timely and proper diagnosis of HIE in a newborn baby using the appropriate diagnostic tools. The Sarnat Scale, which is based upon how the baby appears after birth or injury, or presentation at the hospital is one of them, in addition to imaging such as EEG, ultrasound and MRI, and checking cord blood gas levels.

When actions or lack-of-action by a medical professional injure a baby but do not constitute a criminal act, they are referred to as a “tort”, and these civil wrongs can form the basis for a lawsuit.

At Levin & Perconti, we’ve handled hundreds of cases that involved severe birth injuries. For example, our attorneys recovered a $2.3 million birth injury settlement for a newborn who suffered a serious brain injury at birth due to inadequate oxygen, resulting in cerebral palsy. In this case, the hospital staff failed to recognize that the child’s mother was suffering a uterine rupture and failed to perform a caesarean in a timely manner, despite the mother’s complaints of a tearing sensation in her uterus. If you or your child has been injured, we can help.

Contact Levin & Perconti: Birth Injury Attorneys in Chicago

If you believe that your child suffered oxygen deprivation at birth due to a healthcare provider’s mistakes, please contact our Chicago birth injury lawyers at 312-332-2872 or 877-374-1417 or fill out our personal injury case intake form and an attorney will get back to you shortly.

Also read: Birth Injury Caused by Failure to Perform a Timely Caesarean

Lawyer Monthly - Legal Awards Winner
The National Trial Lawyers
Elder Care Matters Alliance
American Association for Justice
Fellow Litigation Counsel of America
Super Lawyers