Super Lawyers
Illinois State Bar Association
Justia Lawyer Rating
Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Avvo Rating
BBB Accredited Business

Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)

hypoxic-ischemic-encephalopathy-birth-injury-lawsuit Were you or your unborn baby the victim of medical malpractice that led to a birth injury? Did the obstetrician make an error that caused perinatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy?

The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers handle medical negligence cases and can serve as your legal advocates.

Call our Chicago birth injury lawyers today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or use the contact form to schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your family's legal rights concerning your baby's preventable birth trauma. Let us review your confidential or sensitive information and seek justice on your behalf.

What is Neonatal Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy?

During pregnancy and the birthing process, the umbilical cord and placenta supply the developing child with nutrients and oxygen essential to healthy development.

When the supply of oxygen is reduced or shut off entirely, it can cause hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. Typically, hypoxic-ischemic brain damage is caused in part by a lack of oxygen.

The interruption in the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the child's brain can have severe implications for the baby through its developmental years and into adulthood.

In some of these asphyxia cases, a child may develop cerebral palsy or other neurological complications, which will almost uniformly require extensive medical care. A child can also suffer from brain damage due to severe perinatal asphyxia. If this has happened, there may have been medical malpractice.

Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers for Perinatal Encephalopathy Cases

If your infant's injury is the result of medical malpractice, you can file a legal claim. Likewise, when a doctor has committed medical negligence, you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

At Rosenfeld Injury Attorneys, LLC, we will obtain the necessary medical records and work with medical experts to help you file your complaint. Please give one of our birth injury lawyers a phone call today or fill out a contact form to set up your free consultation.

Determining the Extent of a Baby's Brain Injury

The extent of oxygen deprivation to the child commonly determines the magnitude of the injury. However, even short-term diminished blood flow to a fetus can have dire consequences as permanent brain damage can occur within a matter of minutes.

Ischemic Encephalopathy and Cerebral Palsy

Profound hypotension and cardiac arrest can lead to an oxygen-deprived hypoxic-ischemic brain injury. Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) involving intrapartum expectancy (lack of oxygen) is often the leading cause of cerebral palsy (CP), developmental or cognitive delays, and significant motor impairments that are more apparent as the child matures.

Research shows that approximately one out of every ten CP cases results from asphyxia due to a neonatal brain injury. The remaining 90% are caused by numerous contributing factors, including birth complications, premature birth, and severe complications arising after delivery.

The common risk factors for developing perinatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy leading to CP include:

The length and severity of a lack of oxygen on the baby's brain can affect how hypoxic-ischemic brain damage happens and the extent of its aftermath.

Diagnosing Cerebral Palsy-Associated Cerebral Hypoxia Ischemia

Doctors suspecting cerebral hypoxia-ischemia can diagnose the condition using neural imaging techniques, including MRIs. Additional diagnostic tools might include MR spectroscopy and diffusion-weighted imaging.

The doctor might diagnose CP-related cerebral hypoxia-ischemia if childbirth was traumatic or contributing risk factors, including a fetal stroke or neonatal brain injury during pregnancy.

Doctors often diagnose CP by observing the child's immature and mature brain in the months and years following birth when there are noticeable visible signs, including:

  • Delayed developmental milestones
  • Impaired motor function
  • Clinical observation of delayed growth
  • HIE-related cerebral edema

The clinical doctor will likely diagnose the child's neonatal hypoxia-ischemia encephalopathy condition as mild, moderate, or severe. But, first, the doctor must rule out numerous slowly progressing metabolic and neuro-degenerative conditions that mimic the signs and symptoms of Cerebral Palsy.

HIE & Medical Malpractice

Many cases of HIE are the result of medical malpractice, when doctors, nurses, and other health care providers failed to provide the highest quality of care to their patients.

Do you suspect that negligence by your doctor, hospital, or medical center led to your child's HIE? Contact our law firm today at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free consultation.

Let our legal team inform you of all your legal options, provide advice, and answer your questions.

Abnormal Heart Rate & Elevated Blood Pressure

The doctor may diagnose HIE due to the child's abnormal heart rate and elevated blood pressure. The baby may be experiencing cardiorespiratory failure, usually a fatal condition.

Medical professionals will treat perinatal asphyxial encephalopathy by cooling the body and head through therapeutic hypothermia to lower the baby's body temperature immediately after birth. The treatment minimizes hypoxic-ischemic neuronal death.

Mild systemic hypothermia therapy effectively slows down the brain's cellular decay and damage process caused by the hypoxia ischemic brain injury. Thus, reducing body temperature through promising therapy treatments can minimize the long-term devastating consequences of HIE, although the effects of existing brain damage will continue.

The beneficial results of mild hypothermia occur at multiple locations, minimizing early cell death in the highly vulnerable immature brain regions in newborns surviving birth asphyxia. However, to avoid delayed cell death, the doctors must commence the hypothermia treatment before the onset of delayed energy failure and particularly excitatory features like seizures.

According to the National Institute of Health, specific high-dose phenobarbital therapy administered intravenously over one hour is an effective post-hypoxic treatment to reduce seizures in severely asphyxiated newborns.

The phenobarbital can minimize necrotic cell death and reduce brain injury and neuronal and vascular degeneration. Research shows that neonatal hypoxic-ischemic brain injury leading to neuronal cell death contributes to long-term neurologic complications, including neural developmental retardation and neonatal mortality.

HIE and Anoxic Encephalopathy

Neonatal hypoxia-ischemia manifests as a broad range phenotype of cell death occurring with multiple manifestations from limited oxygenated blood flow. Hypoxic-ischemic brain injury is a birth injury that might involve neonatal encephalopathy, perineal asphyxia, and birth-related asphyxia.

The terms hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy and anoxic encephalopathy describe the extent of the lack of oxygen to the developing baby.

Anoxic encephalopathy commonly refers to a reduction in the oxygen level of the developing fetus, while prenatal encephalopathy usually refers to a situation where the baby's oxygen supply is severely diminished. Cases of perinatal hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy involve one of the single most significant causes of neonatal death worldwide.

Many potential problems may contribute to perinatal encephalopathy, including obstructed or twisted umbilical cord, ruptured uterus, trauma, or separation of the placenta. However, the most critical tool in identifying prenatal encephalopathy situations that may be present is the fetal monitor.

Once a concerning situation like an elevated fetal heart rate is identified, staff should take immediate action to avoid serious injury. Usually, the child will need to immediately be moved to the neonatal intensive care unit to avoid long-term injury to the infant's brain. Nonetheless, the child may still suffer seizures after the neonatal period.

Physicians should observe the mother for health conditions that could increase the risk of perinatal encephalopathy or hypoxic-ischemic injury due to restricted cerebral blood flow.

Doctors can order a variety of tests, including checking the amniotic fluid for risk factors. Failure to properly monitor the mother and child medically can be grounds for a lawsuit against the medical team.

Hypoxic-Ischemic Cerebral Injury-Related Emotional and Behavioral Disorders

Many children with hypoxic-ischemic cerebral injury will develop emotional and behavioral disorders that result from a brain injury in a brain region that controls emotional regulation. In some cases, the emotional and behavioral disorders result from disability-related frustration, social situation, or specific limitations as the child matures.

Toddlers and young children with hypoxic-ischemic cerebral injury have a higher risk of emotional and behavioral conditions, including:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Social issues
  • Attention-related challenges
  • ASD (autism spectrum disorder)

The doctor may recommend cognitive behavioral therapy at a young age that focuses on the child's attitudes, beliefs, and thoughts that influence emotions and behaviors.

The therapy might involve training on initiating conversation, making eye contact, and other skills and provide coping mechanisms for children suffering from depression, anxiety, and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

Medical Malpractice Attorneys for an Oxygen Deprived Brain During Childbirth

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is dedicated to seeking total compensation for infants who have suffered perinatal encephalopathy or died from birth injuries during the labor and delivery process in Chicago and every county throughout Illinois.

Our Chicago, Illinois birth injury lawyers can both evaluate your case to determine if negligent care was present and file a medical malpractice lawsuit to ensure your child's future medical needs are met.

Medical professionals and hospitals alike recognize the significance of a birth injury lawsuit from a professional and economic perspective. Consequently, even the clearest cases of negligence may be vigorously defended.

When selecting a law firm to represent your child, in this case, the firm you select must have the experience and resources to see the matter through to its conclusion. Contact us at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation.

If we accept your case, you can be assured that we will earn your trust and invest all necessary resources to see your case through to the best possible outcome. We are only paid if you obtain a settlement or a jury verdict. There is no money out of your pocket.


Client Reviews
Jonathan Rosenfeld was professionally objective, timely, and knowledgeable. Also, his advice was extremely effective regarding my case. In addition, Jonathan was understanding and patient pertaining to any of my questions or concerns. I was very happy with the end result and I highly recommend Jonathan Rosenfeld. Michonne Proulx
Extremely impressed with this law firm. They took control of a bad motorcycle crash that left my uncle seriously injured. Without any guarantee of a financial recovery, they went out and hired accident investigators and engineers to help prove how the accident happened. I am grateful that they worked on a contingency fee basis as there was no way we could have paid for these services on our own. Ethan Armstrong
This lawyer really helped me get compensation for my motorcycle accident case. I know there is no way that I could have gotten anywhere near the amount that Mr. Rosenfeld was able to get to settle my case. Thank you. Daniel Kaim
Jonathan helped my family heal and get compensation after our child was suffered a life threatening injury at daycare. He was sympathetic and in constant contact with us letting us know all he knew every step of the way. We were so blessed to find Jonathan! Giulia
Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa