Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

Knoxville Attorney Assisting Families Dealing with Serious Birth Injuries

Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is one kind of neonatal encephalopathy. It occurs when a baby has a brain injury because of oxygen deprivation at or around the time of being delivered. It is considered the most common reason for neonatal encephalopathy. If your baby developed hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy at a medical center or hospital, you should consult Knoxville birth injury attorney Mark Hartsoe at the Hartsoe Law Firm.

Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

HIE is a type of brain injury that is caused by a lack of oxygen flow to the brain, and it requires immediate medical care. There are techniques that are sometimes used after birth to reverse the effect of oxygen deprivation. Sometimes it leads to cerebral palsy or other disabilities. There are many reasons why a baby can be deprived of oxygen before, during, or just after being born. The most common cause of HIE is intrauterine asphyxia because of circulatory issues, but others include preeclampsia, maternal diabetes with vascular disease, severe fetal anemia, lung malformation, umbilical cord issues, low maternal blood pressure, late stages of labor, severe cardiac disease, infections, brain or skull trauma, severe prematurity, and congenital brain malformation.

A baby with HIE may have poor feeding, lethargy, behavioral abnormalities, seizures, abnormalities in heart rate, poor muscle tone, labored breathing, meconium in the amniotic fluid, discoloration at birth, and excessive acid in the blood.

However, there are treatments for babies born with HIE. One is a cooling treatment in which a baby is cooled at a temperature lower than their normal body temperature following oxygen deprivation so that they have better odds of growing up without disabilities like cerebral palsy. The treatment is intended to reverse brain hypoxia by slowing the rate of brain cell death as well as the production of harmful substances in the brain. Other treatment can include mechanical ventilation to help a baby breathe and treatments to help with the baby's heart function and control their blood pressure.

If your newborn suffers from HIE, and you suspect that it was caused by medical negligence, you should consult an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. Sometimes HIE is not a result of medical malpractice, so it is important to consult with and utilize the testimony of a medical expert. We will need to show that the defendant health care provider failed to meet the accepted standards and practices of health care providers in their specialty, and the failure caused HIE and your damages. An expert will review all of the medical records to provide an opinion about what the accepted standards and practices are, given the situation that you faced, and whether your health care providers breached the professional standard of care.

A consultation with the expert will happen even before your attorney files suit. In Tennessee, a plaintiff needs to file a certificate of good faith along with the complaint that initiates the lawsuit. In the certificate, we will need to state that we consulted with one or more medical experts who have given us a written statement that they are competent and qualified to give an expert opinion under Tennessee law and that after reviewing the evidence, including medical records, they believe that there is a good-faith basis to sue for medical malpractice. The certificate of good faith is crucial because without it, the court can dismiss your case unless we can show that the defendant health care provider did not give us the requested medical records in time or another extraordinary circumstance. We will also need to give written notice of your potential birth injury claim to each of the health care providers that will be named in the lawsuit at least 60 days before the complaint is filed.

Seek Assistance from an Aggressive Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Knoxville

HIE can change the course of your newborn's life. If your child developed hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, you should consult an attorney who is familiar with this area of the law for insight on whether you may have a claim. Call the Hartsoe Law Firm in Knoxville at (865) 524-5657 or contact us through our online form. We also represent families in Clinton, Oak Ridge, Alcoa, Louisville, Maryville, LaFollette, Tazewell, Newport, Crossville, Jamestown, Rutledge, Greeneville, Morristown, Chattanooga, Dandridge, Jefferson City, Strawberry Plains, Madisonville, Lenoir City, Loudon, Athens, and other communities in Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Cumberland, Fentress, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hamilton, Jefferson, Knox, Monroe, Loudon, McMinn, and Bradley Counties.

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