Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy FAQ

Q: Birth injury attorney Jesse Reiter answers a frequently asked question: Are there long-term effects associated with HIE?

A: Yes, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) — or birth asphyxia — can result in long-term physical, mental and cognitive problems. Most times, the HIE is diagnosed early. However, other times, the brain damage from HIE is not discovered until years after the hypoxic event when a child fails to meet certain developmental milestones.

The severity of the disabilities is dependent upon how long the oxygen deprivation lasted. A child deprived for a short time will likely have less disability than a child that was without oxygen for a longer time. Some of the typical long-term effects of HIE include the following:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Epilepsy, seizure disorder
  • Severe hearing impairment
  • Blindness or severe vision impairment   
  • Problems learning, thinking and speaking. This is called cognitive developmental problems and is often accompanied by a low mental development index (MDI) score.
  • Problems with walking and coordination, also called motor and behavioral developmental problems which results in a low psychomotor development index (PDI) score.

Help for HIE victims

The long-term effects of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) can be devastating. It's especially tragic when the circumstances surrounding the hypoxic even may have been preventable. If your child suffers from any of the permanent disabilities above and you believe there may have been mistakes made during labor and delivery, Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers can help. Call our knowledgeable birth injury attorneys at (888) 419-BABY for a free consultation.