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Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)

Charleston Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy Lawyers

What is Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)?

Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), commonly known as birth asphyxia, is when there is a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the baby's brain near the time of birth. Hypoxia-ischemia in the prenatal period can result in various disabilities. A sufficient amount of oxygen is critical to sustain cells within the body, most notably the child's brain cells. When sufficient oxygen is not provided to the brain, the death of these cells can occur. This lack of oxygen (also known as apoxia or hypoxia), can result in mental and physical damage such as mental retardation, developmental disabilities, cerebral palsy and brain damage.

The extent of the damage depends on the length of time that the baby was deprived of oxygen and the condition of the baby prior to the oxygen deprivation. Generally speaking, the longer an infant goes without oxygen or with decreased oxygen, the more severe and permanent the injury will be. If your family is undergoing the stress and pain of seeing your child born with HIE, hire a skilled Charleston attorney to help mitigate some of that stress if their condition is a result of medical malpractice during the birth.

What Signs at Birth Indicate That Your Baby Might Develop Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)?

If you had a normal pregnancy and have no family history of brain disease and one of these situations applies to the birth of your child, it is highly indicative of the possibility that a medical error may have taken place.

Some of the common symptoms of HIE in babies include:

  • Poor coordination
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Seizures in the first days of life
  • Coma
  • No brain stem reflexes (eg. breathing, responding to light)
  • Only blood pressure and heart function reflexes are functioning
  • Cerebral palsy

Call one of our attorneys at Berthold Law Firm, PLLC at (304) 605-2040 to discuss your options.


What Are Some Specific Medical Errors That Might Have Caused Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)?

There are several causes of HIE in newborns, which include:

  • Prolonged birth
  • Delayed delivery of the baby
  • Delayed emergency C-section for a baby with fetal distress
  • Indications on the fetal monitoring strips that show late decelerations, elevated fetal heart resting tone in between contractions, or fetal monitoring errors
  • Indications that the child's Apgar scores at 5 minutes to 10 minutes were a 0, 1, or 2
  • Prolapsed umbilical cord
  • Excessive/improper use of forceps or vacuum extraction
  • Excessive administration of Pitocin to stimulate labor
  • Trauma to the baby's brain during delivery

How Common is Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)?

In the United States and in most technologically advanced countries, the incidence of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is 1 to 8 cases per 1,000 births. The mortality rate is reportedly 25 to 50 percent, and most deaths occur in the first week of life due to multiple organ failure or redirection of care (moving to a new unit or hospital).

Winning Compensation to Cover Medical Costs

If your child has suffered Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) as a result of a medical error, you will be faced with many years of specialized medical care, physical and occupational therapy for your child, special equipment, special education, and many special services to provide for the child's needs. The Charleston, West Virginia HIE lawyers at Berthold Law Firm, PLLC have the skill and experience to pursue a settlement or verdict that can provide for your child's needs over their lifetime.


Call (304) 605-2040 today to schedule an initial consultation. You pay nothing when you hire us and owe nothing unless we win money.


Contact Berthold Law Firm, PLLC Today

For the Experience Necessary to Pursue Justice on Your Behalf
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