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Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Birth Injury Lawsuit Lawyers

December 21, 2021

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy birth injuries caused during delivery are severe and life-altering.  Although the ailment usually occurs due to an error or delay, the condition will affect the child for the rest of their life.  Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (also known as HIE) is one of the primary causes of cerebral palsy in newborn children, and the injury cannot be reversed.  Physicians and other medical staff might be able to avoid inducing HIE when they follow standard medical protocols and exercise caution in the delivery room.

What is Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy?

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is a brain injury brought on by the disruption or termination of oxygen and/or blood flow to an unborn child's brain.  The name describes the means of injury: "hypoxia," meaning a reduction of oxygen that reached the brain. "Ischemia" means the reduction or interruption of the flow of blood to the brain.  The word "Encephalopathy" means a disease that affects the structure or functioning of the brain.  In other words, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is an injury or a disease brought about by an interruption or reduction of oxygen and blood to the brain.  

Approximately two to nine out of every 1,000 newborn babies suffer from HIE.  It is estimated that up to 60 percent of newborn babies who have HIE will die as newborns, and 25 percent will survive but will have severe, life-long impairments.

The effects of HIE do vary a lot from child to child and depend on many different factors such as:

  • The severity of the disruption of blood and oxygen.
  • The amount of time passed before blood, and oxygen flow was restored. 
  • The baby's medical and physical condition immediately prior to oxygen and blood flow interruption. 
  • The quality of medical care provided to the child once HIE is discovered in the baby. 

The most important factor in determining the prognosis of the child is how much time passed between the beginning of HIE and effective treatment.  Brain cell damage occurs within minutes of oxygen deprivation.  Therefore medical personnel must diagnose HIE and perform medical treatment right away.

Ways in Which Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy is Caused

Health complications and medical errors are the most common cause of HIE in unborn babies.  The most common causes of HIE are:

  • Umbilical cord complications;
  • Uterus and/or placenta tears;
  • Excessive contractions;
  • Delayed cesarean section (C-section)
  • Trauma to the baby's brain during birth;
  • Low levels of amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios);
  • Premature birth; and/or
  • Prolonged or delayed labor.

If the unborn baby is under distress during delivery or when labor becomes stalled, a prompt decision to perform an emergency C-section is vital.  Unnecessary delays in making that decision and/or carrying out the procedure could deprive the baby's brain of blood or oxygen.

Signs That Your Child Suffers From Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

When a newborn baby has been delivered under challenging circumstances or when there are causes or risk factors for HIE present, medical professionals must be looking for additional signs that the baby suffered HIE.  These signs include: 

  • The baby had to be resuscitated after delivery;
  • The baby has low APGAR scores.  APGAR tests are a quick evaluation of the baby's vital signs;
  • Seizures occurring within one to two days of birth; and/or
  • Limpness, or hypotonia.

 If HIE is suspected, additional testing and scans are required to confirm the diagnosis.  EEGs, MRIs, and Ultrasounds maybe a few of the tests and scans ordered to make a diagnosis.  

Unfortunately, by the time a baby is diagnosed with HIE, it will likely be impossible to treat the damage to the baby's brain.  That is because brain cells that were deprived of oxygen or blood cannot be revived.  This is the reason why HIE must be diagnosed quickly.

Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy and Cerebral Palsy

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy typically leads to severe neurological, cognitive, and/or developmental impairments like cerebral palsy.  Cerebral palsy also presents itself in one or more conditions.  Cerebral palsy affects the brain's capacity to transmit messages to the muscles.  This can make it difficult for children to walk, balance, speak, eat, and swallow.

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy can lead to one or more types of cerebral palsy, such as spastic cerebral palsy and nonspastic cerebral palsy (twitching).  The severity of a child's cerebral palsy symptoms will depend on the extent of the brain injury.

Legal Help for Parents and Children With Birth Injuries 

It is a traumatizing experience for a parent to find out that their child has been diagnosed with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy and/or cerebral palsy.  Cerebral palsy symptoms are lifelong and may or may not improve over time and with treatment. 

If your child was harmed by medical malpractice, protect your legal rights by calling Montlick Injury Attorneys Nationwide, 24/7, at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). Our Birth Injury Lawyers in Georgia are here to listen, understand your situation, and advise you. 

We Know What It Takes To Win!™ 

If you child has been injured, contact Montlick & Associates, Injury Attorneys, for your free consultation today. Our law firm has been representing those who suffer serious injuries or lost a loved one in an accident for over 38 years.  Our trial attorneys have recovered billions of dollars for our personal injury clients through negotiated settlements, litigation/lawsuits, settlement of lawsuits, jury verdicts, mediation, and arbitration awards.

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No matter where you are located, our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us nationwide 24 hours day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333), or simply dial #WIN (#946) from your mobile phone. You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or Free 24-hour live chat.


Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law

Address: 17 Executive Park Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30329, United States
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Phone: (404) 529-6333
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Birth Injury Lawyers in Georgia

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.