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Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy
Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy
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North Carolina Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy Lawyer

It can be devastating when your child suffers a birth injury. Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) is among some of the most serious birth injuries a child can suffer. There are various conditions and risk factors that can lead to HIE but is also sometimes the result of medical malpractice. If your child is suffering from HIE and you suspect it may be due to medical malpractice, you should speak with a birth injury attorney as soon as possible.

What Is Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy?

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is an injury to an infant’s brain that occurs before, during, or immediately after birth. More specifically, it is an injury that occurs due to a lack of blood and oxygen to the brain. It is perhaps helpful to break the term “hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy” down into its elements:

  • Hypoxic: lack of oxygen
  • Ischemic: lack of blood flow
  • Encephalopathy: brain disorder

HIE can vary from mild to severe, generally depending on how long the baby’s brain was deprived of blood and oxygen. The longer the brain was deprived of oxygen and blood flow, the more severely the baby may be later impaired. It is also important to note that because HIE impacts the brain’s function, it often leads to additional complications, particularly cognitive impairments.

What Causes Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy?

There are many causes and conditions that can lead to blood and oxygen loss to the baby’s brain. Preeclampsia, diabetes, problems with the placenta or umbilical cord are all risk factors for HIE. While many of these conditions can cause unavoidable cases of HIE, many other cases are the result of substandard medical care. For example, a sudden loss of blood and oxygen to the baby’s brain can be caused by the following during labor and delivery:

  • Failure to adequately monitor the oxygen and blood flow to the baby’s brain
  • Misuse of forceps, vacuum, or other birthing devices
  • Improper administration of labor-inducing drugs
  • Inadequate prenatal care
  • Inadequate medical response to signs of fetal distress during labor

HIE cases are incredibly complex. If your child is showing HIE symptoms, a North Carolina birth injury lawyer can assess your case and help you understand your options.

The Connection Between HIE and Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a musculoskeletal disorder that arises from underlying brain damage or other brain disorders. It causes impairments in motor function and commonly results in reduced strength and coordination. While cerebral palsy will not get worse over time, there is also no cure for it. As a result, cerebral palsy is a lifelong affliction for those who have it.

One of the most common causes of cerebral palsy is HIE, resulting from the baby’s brain being deprived of blood and oxygen for a significant period. As a result, your child may be a victim of medical malpractice if they have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. A North Carolina cerebral palsy attorney can discuss whether you have a claim.

Contact a North Carolina HIE Lawyer Today

With lawyers dedicated to representing victims of medical malpractice in Raleigh, Durham, and Wilmington, the HIE attorneys at Martin & Jones represent clients across the state of North Carolina. With decades of skill and experience, we can help you obtain needed compensation for your child’s injury so that you can provide the lifelong care they may need. Contact us today at 800-662-1234 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.


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The law firm you choose makes a difference. If you are the victim of an accident or an illness that someone else caused, the North Carolina personal injury law firm of Martin & Jones has the depth of experience, skills and sensitivity to make your road to recovery as smooth as possible. Whether you have experience with the legal system or have never hired a medical malpractice or personal injury lawyer before, our attorneys and staff will do our best to answer your questions, provide clear advice and prepare you and your family for what to expect. If you would like more information or to meet with one of our attorneys, please fill out the form below or call us at 800.662.1234.