Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) Every Move Matters

Orlando Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) Attorney

Claims for Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) Injuries

At the Law Offices of Michael Barszcz, M.D., J.D., located in Orlando, we understand the devastating impact that Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) can have on the lives of families and their children. If your child has suffered from HIE due to medical negligence or malpractice, our dedicated team of Orlando HIE lawyers is here to help you seek justice and pursue the compensation you deserve.

Contact our firm today at (407) 305-6088! We’ll be here for you!

What is Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)?

Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) is a serious birth injury that occurs when a baby's brain doesn't receive enough oxygen and blood flow before, during, or after birth. This lack of oxygen can result in severe and long-term neurological damage, impacting the child's physical and cognitive abilities. 

HIE can have lifelong consequences, often resulting in permanent conditions like cerebral palsy, which require ongoing medical care and support.

What Causes HIE?

Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) can be caused by various factors that result in a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the baby's brain. The following are some common causes of HIE:

  • Birth Asphyxia: It occurs when the baby experiences difficulty breathing during the labor and delivery process. This can happen due to factors such as a compressed umbilical cord, placental abruption (separation of the placenta from the uterus), or an inadequate supply of oxygen during labor.
  • Uterine Rupture: In rare cases, the uterus can rupture during labor, leading to significant bleeding and oxygen deprivation to the baby.
  • Prolonged Labor: When labor lasts longer than usual, the baby may experience prolonged pressure on the head, resulting in reduced oxygen supply.
  • Placental Insufficiency: If the placenta is unable to provide sufficient oxygen and nutrients to the baby, it can lead to HIE. Factors such as placental abruption, placental infection, or placental blood vessel problems can contribute to placental insufficiency.
  • Medical Negligence: In some cases, HIE can occur due to medical negligence or errors during prenatal care, labor, or delivery. Examples include failing to monitor the baby's vital signs, delays in performing a necessary C-section, improper use of delivery instruments, or administering incorrect medications.

What are the Risk Factors of HIE?

Several risk factors can increase the likelihood of HIE in newborns. Here are some common risk factors:

  • Perinatal Factors:
    • Birth Asphyxia: Difficulty during childbirth can lead to prolonged labor, umbilical cord prolapse, placental abruption, or other complications that restrict oxygen flow to the baby.
    • Premature Birth: Premature infants have underdeveloped organs, including the brain, making them more susceptible to oxygen deprivation and brain injury.
    • Low Apgar Score: A low Apgar score at birth may indicate the need for immediate medical attention due to issues like breathing difficulties or low heart rate.
  • Maternal Health Conditions:
    • Preeclampsia/Eclampsia: These conditions, characterized by high blood pressure during pregnancy, can affect blood flow to the placenta, potentially leading to fetal distress and HIE.
    • Maternal Infections: Infections such as chorioamnionitis (inflammation of fetal membranes) can increase the risk of fetal distress and HIE.
    • Maternal Substance Use: Maternal use of substances like alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drugs can impair fetal development and increase the risk of birth complications, including HIE.
    • Intrapartum Events:
    • Umbilical Cord Complications: Umbilical cord accidents, such as cord compression or umbilical cord knots, can disrupt oxygen flow to the fetus during labor and delivery.
    • Placental Insufficiency: Conditions that affect placental function, such as placental abruption or placenta previa, can lead to inadequate oxygen and nutrient supply to the fetus.
  • Neonatal Conditions:
    • Neonatal Infections: Infections acquired shortly after birth, such as sepsis or meningitis, can lead to systemic inflammation and compromise brain function.
    • Neonatal Cardiac Arrest: Cardiac events in newborns, such as bradycardia or heart failure, can cause sudden decreases in blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain, resulting in HIE.

What are the Long-Term Effects of HIE?

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) can have profound and long-lasting effects on individuals who experience it, affecting various aspects of neurological function and development. The severity of long-term effects can vary depending on factors such as the extent of brain injury, promptness of treatment, and the individual's overall health. Here are some common long-term effects of HIE:

  • Neurodevelopmental Delays: Children who experience HIE may exhibit delays in reaching developmental milestones such as sitting up, crawling, walking, and speech development. These delays can persist into childhood and may require ongoing therapeutic interventions and support.
  • Cognitive Impairments: HIE can lead to cognitive deficits, including difficulties with attention, memory, executive function (planning, organizing, problem-solving), and academic performance. These challenges can impact learning and intellectual development.
  • Motor Impairments: Motor deficits are common in individuals with HIE and may manifest as spasticity (muscle stiffness), dystonia (involuntary muscle contractions), weakness, or coordination difficulties. These impairments can affect mobility, fine motor skills, and activities of daily living.
  • Epilepsy: HIE increases the risk of developing epilepsy, a neurological disorder characterized by recurrent seizures. Seizures may vary in severity and frequency, requiring medication management and lifestyle adjustments to minimize their impact on daily functioning.
  • Behavioral and Emotional Challenges: Individuals with HIE may experience behavioral and emotional difficulties such as impulsivity, emotional lability, anxiety, depression, or difficulties with social interactions. These challenges can impact relationships, school performance, and overall quality of life.
  • Sensory Impairments: HIE can affect sensory processing, leading to impairments in vision, hearing, or tactile sensation. Visual impairments such as cortical visual impairment (CVI) and hearing loss may require specialized interventions and accommodations.
  • Eating and Feeding Difficulties: Some individuals with HIE may experience difficulties with eating, swallowing, or feeding due to oral motor dysfunction or sensory issues. These challenges can affect nutritional intake and may require feeding therapy or dietary modifications.
  • Neuropsychiatric Disorders: HIE survivors may be at increased risk of developing neuropsychiatric disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), or mood disorders. Early detection and intervention are essential for managing these conditions effectively.
  • Reduced Quality of Life: Collectively, the long-term effects of HIE can significantly impact an individual's quality of life, as well as that of their family members and caregivers. Access to comprehensive medical care, rehabilitation services, educational support, and community resources can help optimize outcomes and enhance overall well-being.

Determine if You Have a Valid Legal Claim for HIE

Determining the validity of a legal claim for Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) requires a comprehensive evaluation of the specific circumstances surrounding your child's birth and the potential negligence or malpractice involved.

An Orlando HIE lawyer will review medical records, consult with experts, and consider relevant legal factors to determine the strength of your claim.

Key factors that may contribute to the validity of a legal claim for HIE:

  • Standard of Care: Your lawyer will assess whether the healthcare provider or medical facility involved in your child's birth adhered to the accepted standard of care. If there was a breach of the standard of care, such as failing to monitor vital signs or provide appropriate interventions during labor and delivery, it may indicate negligence.
  • Causation: It must be established that the negligence or malpractice directly caused or significantly contributed to your child's HIE. This often requires expert medical testimony and a thorough review of the medical records and events leading up to the birth.
  • Evidence of Negligence: Your lawyer will gather evidence, such as medical records, witness statements, and expert opinions, to support your claim of negligence or malpractice. This evidence should demonstrate that the healthcare provider's actions or omissions fell below the standard of care, leading to your child's HIE.
  • Damages: Your child must have suffered damages as a result of the HIE. These damages may include medical expenses, ongoing care and treatment, therapy and rehabilitation costs, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and future economic losses.
  • Statute of Limitations: There are time limitations for filing a legal claim, known as the statute of limitations. For medical malpractice claims involving minors, the two-year period typically starts running on the child's eighth birthday. However, in no event can a claim be filed more than seven years after the date of the alleged malpractice. It's essential to consult with an attorney promptly to ensure you meet the deadlines set by the law.

Get Help with Your HIE Claim in Florida

Consult with our Orlando HIE attorneys in Florida to ensure you understand the specific time limitations that apply to your case. We will be able to review the details of your situation and provide accurate guidance regarding the statute of limitations and any potential exceptions or extensions that may be applicable. Our team will help you through the HIE claims process to receive the compensation you deserve.

Contact us today for a free consultation!

Verdicts & Settlements

Over $120 Million Recovered For Clients
  • $350,000

    Failure to diagnose and treat high blood pressure leads to stroke.

  • $950,000

    Medication prescribed for patient with known allergy leads to Stevens-Johnson syndrome.

  • $1,195,000

    Inadequate supervision causes death due to choking.

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