Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a type of brain damage that can occur when a child suffers from oxygen deprivation during labor or delivery. The damage can be mild, moderate or severe.

At the law firm of Maples, Nix & Diesselhorst in Oklahoma City, our attorneys represent families who have been affected by HIE and other obstetric injuries. If your child suffered a brain injury due to the negligence of a doctor or hospital, we can help you recover the money your family will need to provide the best possible care for your child. To discuss your case with a lawyer at our firm, call 800-539-0652.

Symptoms Of Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

Symptoms of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (also known as hypoxia) may include:

  • Bluish skin color
  • Blood acidosis (excess acid in the blood)
  • Slow heart rate
  • Poor feeding
  • Excessive crying
  • Sleepiness or lethargy
  • Poor muscle tone or reflexes
  • Poor grasping and sucking reflexes
  • Weak or irregular breathing
  • Sleep apnea
  • Seizures
  • Failure to respond to physical stimuli
  • Stupor or coma
  • Death

A number of tests, including a head CT scan, MRI or electroencephalogram, can confirm whether a brain injury has occurred. While mild or moderate HIE is a treatable condition, brain damage resulting from severe HIE is likely to lead to developmental delays and lifelong disabilities.

HIE And The ACOG Report

In 2003, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) created a report that made it more difficult to prove negligence on the part of doctors and delivery staff when a child is born with HIE. One of the ways the report did this was by reducing the level of Ph in a child's blood required to show a correlation of birth injuries with oxygen deprivation during labor and delivery.

When a fetus is deprived of oxygen, its blood becomes increasingly acidic and the pH goes down. The typical pH of blood is 7.35 or higher. A pH of 7.20 has been correlated with conditions such as HIE and cerebral palsy. ACOG, however, said that oxygen deprivation could only be shown as a correlation if the pH of the baby's blood was 7.00 or lower.

ACOG is now backing off this requirement. Our doctors work with experts who can counter the testimony of defense experts who cite the ACOG report in an attempt to disprove medical negligence.

For More Information About Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

Our attorneys offer a free initial consultation to discuss HIE and explain your legal options. You may be entitled to compensation to help you pay for the significant costs of raising a child with a brain injury.

Learn more about hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy:

Living with HIE