Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE): What is it and can it be avoided?

Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a brain injury and birth complication in full-term babies. It’s incredibly sad news for parents to hear, especially on a day that was anticipated with such joy.

What is HIE?

About 1.5 to 2.5 out of every 1,000 babies born will have this serious condition. Infants develop HIE when there isn’t enough blood flow to the baby’s brain during the prenatal or labor and delivery periods. Most babies with this type of brain injury will have severe disabilities, including:

• Cerebral palsy

• Epilepsy

• Developmental delays

• Impaired motor skills

• Intellectual impairment

In some cases, a baby’s HIE-related problems are immediately noticeable at birth. In many other instances, though, doctors can’t tell the full extent of harm until the child is three or four years old.

What causes HIE?

As a Houston, Texas medical malpractice attorney, I’ve investigated and handled many birth injury cases where a baby was born with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy caused by medical negligence or malpractice. In most of these cases, the mistake by the healthcare providers was the failure to act promptly at the first sign of a problem in the pregnancy or labor and delivery.

Some of the common causes of HIE include:

• Umbilical cord prolapse

• The cord gets wrapped around the baby’s neck

• Rupture of the placenta or uterus

• Other placental complications such as placenta previa or placental insufficiency

• Infections like Group B Streptococcus (Strep.)

Getting help

With the severe impairments and injuries that HIE children have, parents need help. A top-rated experienced Houston, Texas medical malpractice and birth injury attorney can help you investigate your case and obtain financial compensation to help you pay for medical bills, therapy, and extra care for your child.

Robert Painter
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Robert Painter

Robert Painter is an award-winning medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits all over Texas. Contact him for a free consultation and strategy session by calling 281-580-8800 or emailing him right now.