Families with infants suffering from birth injuries such as hypoxic brain damage face a daunting amount of questions and decisions about diagnosis, prognosis and medical treatment. Birth injuries can cause serious lifelong damage and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in treatment. If brain damage occurred due to the negligence of a medical professional, there are steps you can take to pursue justice for your child and ensure that he or she gets adequate long-term care and treatment.
What Is Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy?
Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a brain injury that results from restricted blood flow and oxygen to an infant’s brain during the prenatal, childbirth or postnatal period. The longer the brain is deprived of vital oxygen, the more devastating the neurological outcome is for the baby. According to the National Institutes of Health, by the age of two, up to 60 percent of infants with HIE will die or have severe disabilities including mental retardation, epilepsy, and cerebral palsy.
HIE may also cause:
- Developmental delays
- Learning disabilities
- Inability to speak
- Inability to sit, crawl, or walk
- Inability to eat, swallow, or control bowel movements
- Vegetative state
Newborns who suffer from HIE may require ventilators, breathing tubes, tracheotomies, feeding tubes, wheelchairs, ongoing medical treatment and costly 24/7 care. Although treatment options were once limited to this type of supportive medical therapy, experimental treatments such as brain cooling are now available to children with HIE; and research into arresting and treating hypoxic brain damage is ongoing.
Hypoxic Birth Injury Risk Factors
During labor and delivery, there are quite a few conditions that may cause a lack of blood and oxygen to the brain. The medical professionals who are involved in the birth must be on the lookout for conditions such as:
- High blood pressure
- Eclampsia (seizures)
- Ruptured uterus
- High uterine pressure
- Abdominal trauma
- Placental abruption (separation of the placental lining from the uterus)
- Uterine hyperstimulation (frequent or prolonged contractions)
- Prolapsed/compressed umbilical cord
How To Seek Justice For Your Child’s Hypoxic Birth Injury
If medical professionals fail to properly monitor these conditions or do not catch signs of fetal distress, hypoxic brain injuries can occur and forever change the course of a child’s life. Health care providers have an obligation to adhere to the prevailing standards of good medical care, and if they are negligent in doing so the provider or hospital may be held responsible for the harm that is caused. A medical malpractice attorney can help your family pursue justice and help to ensure your child gets the care he or she deserves.
If your child has suffered hypoxic brain damage, our experienced and compassionate medical malpractice attorneys in Morristown, NJ have years of experience fighting for our clients’ rights. Contact Gold, Albanese & Barletti, LLC, at 973-326-9099 for a free consultation today.