5 Things You Need to know about Preventable Newborn Brain Injuries


5 Things You Need to Know about Preventable Newborn Brain Injuries

What is HIE?

HIE stands for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy(now you see why its abbreviation is easier). HIE is a type of newborn brain damage, due to oxygen deprivation and limited blood flow during labor and delivery. It can happen because of a problem with mom’s placenta, an umbilical cord being compressed or knotted, a baby getting stuck or wedged in the mom’s pelvis, preeclampsia, or too much stimulation of the mom’s uterus from Pitocin or another drug like Cytotec, to name a few causes.

Will you see HIE in your baby immediately?

Some obvious signs that baby was injured at delivery include the baby being limp, pale, blue, not crying, needing to be intubated or requiring CPR, transfer to NICU, failure to feed, unable to be calmed, seizures, just as a few examples. The full extent of the damage isn’t apparent immediately at birth for a few reasons. The reason is, a brain injury from HIE is an evolving process. Damage from HIE sometimes aren’t apparent until a child has developmental delays such as  not being able to roll over or crawl or follow an object with her eyes.

Is there a cure for HIE?

Sadly no. There is only a tiny window to provide one treatment! This is called therapeutic hypothermia (total body cooling). This can reduce the extent of permanent brain damage if done within 6 hours of birth and can benefit if done up to 24 hours after delivery. This personally scares me because your doctor and the nurses must really be aware of what is truly going on. This isn’t always the case and that is SCARY. Ask questions, be your own advocate. Having this knowledge could help save your baby’s potential risk for brain damage.

Where did the hospital go wrong with your baby?

HIE is preventable. The failure of the medical professionals to follow the standard of care for your baby is what went wrong. These mistakes include not delivering the baby on time, failure to recognize the baby’s heart rate is abnormal (not paying attention to the fetal monitoring strip), and failure to recognize other relevant risk factors. There are several things that can be done to prevent HIE--prenatal testing, close monitoring during labor, prenatal and neonatal care, discussing if a c-
section is the best option, etc.

What can you do if your baby has experienced this in the hospital?

Children who have HIE will almost always require expensive treatments, therapy and need various types of support. This can be costly. SSI and Medicare will help but will in no way cover the child’s overall well-being for life. Also keep in mind these benefits are usually only good until age 21 and then what? They must seek help elsewhere. This personally concerned me because you don’t stop living at 21. You and your child didn’t even cause this. In fact, you put your trust in the hospital and its employees were negligent. You have a case; let us help you. Ms. Thomas and Ms. Wan at Thomas and Wan, LLP have almost 50 years combined experience helping families get their children the help they need. Please call 713-529-1177 today. You won’t be disappointed. Let us put your mind at ease.


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