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Does Your Child Suffer from Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy?

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is widespread brain dysfunction caused by a reduction in the supply of oxygen and blood to a baby’s brain for a time, often caused by a difficult birth. The term "hypoxia" refers to low oxygen while the term "ischemia" refers to a lack of blood flow. Encephalopathy means "brain damage."

When medical providers aren’t careful, they can allow dangerous complications to develop during labor and delivery. If the labor is prolonged, the contractions are too strong, or the baby just isn’t getting enough oxygen, an emergency C-section may be necessary to get the baby out right away.

If you believe your doctor failed to act quickly to save your child from brain damage, please call the Omaha birth injury lawyer at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. Our legal team can sit down with you and discuss your options in a free, confidential consultation.

What Can Cause HIE?

There are many medical complications that create a risk factor for HIE. Doctors should be monitoring the baby closely throughout pregnancy if there is:

  • Maternal diabetes with vascular disease
  • Maternal preeclampsia
  • Maternal cardiac disease
  • Issues with blood circulation to the placenta
  • Congenital infections of the fetus
  • Severe fetal anemia
  • Fetal lung malformations

Issues that occur during labor and delivery can also result in HIE. Many of these are manageable if the medical team is carefully monitoring the vital signs of the infant. These issues can include:

  • Excessive placental bleeding
  • Very low maternal blood pressure
  • Umbilical cord issues, like cord compression or true knots
  • Prolapsed umbilical cord
  • Prolonged labor
  • Abnormal fetal position
  • Uterine rupture
  • Placental abruption

In these circumstances, the medical team should take immediate action to deliver the infant via C-section. At the early signs of fetal distress, quick intervention can prevent rupture of the uterus or placenta, excessive bleeding of the placenta, and many other issues. Careful monitoring can also determine if the infant is in a less-than-optimal position for natural childbirth and can either dictate a C-section or a maneuver to help the infant reposition for a lower-risk natural delivery.

Medical Negligence and HIE

There are preventable cases of HIE happening in hospitals across the United States every day. In these cases, medical negligence is to blame for the brain damage the infants suffer. Some of these errors include:

  • Negligent or improper prenatal care and monitoring
  • Delaying the choice to perform a C-section
  • Misreading a fetal heartbeat, or confusing the maternal and fetal heartbeats
  • Misdiagnosing a high-risk complication, like allowing a mother to deliver vaginally even though the baby is too large to fit through her pelvis (cephalopelvic disproportion)
  • Making a medication error, such as using too much Pitocin to induce labor

During the birth of their child, parents can do little more than stand by and watch. The life of their unborn child lies in the hands of the medical team. When the worst occurs and a child suffers hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, someone needs to be held accountable.

At Bottlinger Law L.L.C., we understand the heartache you are going through. We also understand this injury can be overwhelming. You are facing nothing like the joy-filled first months of bonding with your child that you expected. Instead, you are visiting specialists and trying to understand how to take care of your infant, who now has special needs.

You might not have considered the financial implications of your child’s injuries, but filing a lawsuit against the negligent medical team can have a drastic impact on the quality of care that your child receives. At Bottlinger Law L.L.C., we can help you to navigate this uncharted territory as you begin to put the pieces of your future back together. Call (402) 505-8234 today to schedule your free consultation with our Omaha medical malpractice lawyer.

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Our legal team is ready to help. Please fill out the form below to set up a free consultation with attorney Jason Bottlinger.