HIE Lawyers Helping Children who have Birth Injuries caused by Mismanaged Uterine Rupture, Nuchal Cord & Other Obstetrical Emergencies
A baby has hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), cerebral palsy (CP) and seizures because the physician failed to quickly deliver her when the mother’s uterus ruptured and the baby began to experience oxygen deprivation (birth asphyxia). The prolonged birth asphyxia caused the baby to develop HIE, which is a brain injury caused by inadequate oxygenation (hypoxia) and reduced blood flow (ischemia) in the brain. The brain injury was worsened by the fact that a critical treatment for hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, hypothermia (brain cooling) treatment, wasn’t given to the baby within 6 hours after birth.
The birth injury attorneys at Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers have helped dozens of families affected by hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Attorney Jesse Reiter, president of ABC Law Centers, has been focusing solely on birth injury cases for over 28 years, and most of his cases involve hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and cerebral palsy. Partners Jesse Reiter and Rebecca Walsh are currently recognized as being two of the best medical malpractice lawyers in America by U.S. News and World Report 2015, which also recognized ABC Law Centers as being one of the best medical malpractice law firms in the nation. If your baby was injured during birth, call Reiter & Walsh at 888-419-2229. Our award winning birth injury attorneys are available 24/7 to speak with you, and no fees are ever paid to our firm until we win your case.
HYPOXIC ISCHEMIC ENCEPHALOPATHY (HIE) & HYPOTHERMIA TREATMENT
Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is commonly caused by birth injuries, which are injuries that occur during or near the time of birth. Birth asphyxia is a common birth injury that can cause HIE and brain damage. In this very sad case, the baby experienced birth asphyxia when the mother’s uterus (womb) ruptured. A uterine rupture is an obstetrical emergency because it causes severe hemorrhaging, which can cause the baby to be deprived of oxygen. As long as the medical team is properly monitoring the mother and baby – and quickly delivers the baby when a uterine rupture occurs – the baby will typically experience no permanent brain damage. However, when a baby is left in oxygen-depriving conditions for too long and birth asphyxia is prolonged, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy can occur. HIE can cause permanent brain injury and lifelong conditions such as cerebral palsy and seizures.
Hypothermia (brain cooling) is a groundbreaking treatment for HIE, but it must be given within 6 hours of the time the baby experienced birth asphyxia. This usually means that treatment must occur within 6 hours of delivery. Hypothermia treatment is crucial because it halts almost every injurious process that starts to occur when the baby’s brain is deprived of oxygen for too long. The treatment can prevent the HIE from evolving into more severe brain injury; research shows that brain cooling can prevent cerebral palsy or decrease the severity of CP in a baby who has HIE. Failure to give hypothermia treatment can cause the baby to develop permanent brain damage and cerebral palsy.
EMERGENCY C-SECTION DELIVERY TO PREVENT HYPOXIC ISCHEMIC ENCEPHALOPATHY (HIE), SEIZURES, BRAIN DAMAGE & CEREBRAL PALSY
In this case, the medical team was monitoring the baby’s heart rate, but nobody recognized the baby’s fetal distress when it began happening. When the physician realized the mother had a ruptured uterus, he took far too long to perform an emergency C-section. His lack of preparation caused the baby to experience prolonged birth asphyxia. Experts agree that when a C-section is indicated, it must be performed well within 30 minutes. In certain situations, such as a uterine rupture, complete placental abruption or complete umbilical cord compression, a C-section delivery must be performed within a matter of minutes.
Indeed, prompt delivery when a baby is experiencing fetal distress and birth asphyxia is so important that it is the standard of care for the medical team to continuously monitor the baby’s heart rate during labor and delivery and be able to perform a C-section as soon as fetal distress (an indication of oxygen deprivation) occurs. A hospital that has a labor and delivery unit must have the capability to quickly perform a C-section delivery when needed. Failure to have this capability and failure to properly monitor the baby’s heart rate throughout labor and delivery is negligence.
A DELAYED DELIVERY IS OFTEN THE CAUSE OF BIRTH INJURIES SUCH AS HYPOXIC ISCHEMIC ENCEPHALOPATHY (HIE), CEREBRAL PALSY & SEIZURES
Most of the time, babies are born healthy. But when something does go wrong during labor and delivery, the medical team must act quickly to safely get the baby out of the dangerous conditions. Conditions that often require prompt delivery to prevent birth asphyxia and brain damage include the following:
- Anesthesia mistakes, which can cause blood pressure problems in the mother, including a hypotensive crisis. This can greatly decreases the supply of oxygen-rich blood going to the baby, causing birth asphyxia.
- Umbilical cord problems, such as a nuchal cord (cord wrapped around baby’s neck), umbilical cord prolapse, short umbilical cord and cord in a true knot
- Uterine Rupture
- Preeclampsia / eclampsia
- Placental abruption
- Placenta previa
- Oligohydramnios (low amniotic fluid)
- Premature rupture of the membranes (PROM) / premature birth
- Prolonged and arrested labor
- Intracranial hemorrhages (brain bleeds), which can be caused by a traumatic delivery. Forceps and vacuum extractors can cause brain bleeds. Sometimes intense contractions (hyperstimulation) caused by labor induction drugs (Pitocin and Cytotec) can cause head trauma. Mismanagement of cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD), abnormal presentations (face or breech presentation), and shoulder dystocia also put the baby at risk of experiencing birth trauma and birth asphyxia.
- Hyperstimulation caused by Pitocin and Cytotec can also cause oxygen deprivation that gets progressively worse.
- Fetal stroke
- Postmaturity syndrome
- Placental insufficiency and intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). Babies with IUGR typically do not tolerate labor very well.
BABIES WITH SEIZURES, HYPOXIC ISCHEMIC ENCEPHALOPATHY (HIE) & OTHER BRAIN INJURIES MUST RECEIVE PROPER MEDICAL MANAGEMENT AFTER BIRTH OR THE BRAIN INJURY WILL GET WORSE.
As discussed, hypothermia treatment for hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy must be given within 6 hours of delivery, in most cases. HIE is the most common cause of neonatal seizures, and seizures must also be treated right away since each seizure can cause brain damage. When a baby is suspected of having HIE or a brain injury, the medical team must closely monitor the baby for seizures.
Sometimes the only sign of a seizure is activity on EEG (electroencephalography – brain activity monitoring). Cardiopulmonary monitoring devices may also alert the medical team that the baby is experiencing seizures. One sign of a seizure is apnea, and monitoring devices can detect this. In addition, respiratory rate and heart rate may change during a seizure, which also can be detected on a monitor. Sometimes a seizure can be observed. If the medical team witnesses signs of a neonatal seizure, such as the body going limp, the baby losing consciousness, or the baby staring and / or making bicycle “pedaling” movements, EEG monitoring and diagnosis of seizure activity must promptly take place.
Treatment of neonatal seizures first involves identifying and treating the underlying cause. Thus, if a baby has high bilirubin levels (jaundice) or hypoglycemia, the bilirubin levels and blood sugar levels must be normalized. While the medical team is working on finding and treating the underlying cause of the seizures, seizure medication usually should be given right away. If an underlying cause is found and treated, the seizure medication may be able to be stopped. Phenobarbital is the most frequently used initial drug for seizures that are epileptic in origin. Other seizure medications include diazepam, lorazepam and phenytoin. Very close monitoring must occur if seizure medication is given because the drugs can be dangerous.
Treating any type of brain injury in a baby involves supportive care designed to ensure adequate blood flow to the baby’s brain and minimize brain swelling and fluid build-up. If the baby has a brain bleed or hemorrhage, it must be quickly diagnosed and treated. This may involve giving the baby packed red blood cells, IV fluids and anticoagulant therapy.
Often, babies with brain damage need help breathing because brain injuries can cause the baby to have a depressed ventilatory drive and / or periods of apnea. To make sure the baby gets enough oxygen and gets rid of enough carbon dioxide, the baby may need the assistance of a breathing machine (ventilator). The machine may give just a little support, or sometimes full support is needed.
In addition, babies with brain injuries often experienced a difficult birth. They may have inhaled meconium or they may have been born prematurely, which means they will likely have respiratory distress, thereby requiring the support of a ventilator. In order to receive a medication called surfactant to help premature lungs develop, the baby will need a breathing tube placed in her upper airway and she will be attached to a ventilator. The medical team must closely monitor babies on ventilators to make sure they do not experience overventilation injuries, such as hypocarbia (low carbon dioxide levels) or a pneumothorax (a hole in the lung).
Infection in a baby must also be quickly treated. Certain conditions can cause an infection to be transferred to the baby at birth. When chorioamnionitis is present or the mother has herpes simplex virus (HSV), Group B Strep (GBS), a urinary tract infection (UTI) or bacterial vaginosis (BV), the baby can become infected during delivery if the mother isn’t properly treated. These conditions should be recognized and treated before delivery. But if any bacterial infections are even suspected of existing during labor and delivery, antibiotics should be given to the mother because they will transfer to the baby. Viruses must also be properly treated, and sometimes a C-section delivery is indicated. After birth, a baby exposed to infection must be closely monitored and treated to prevent viral or bacterial infections from causing conditions such as sepsis, septic shock, meningitis, brain damage and cerebral palsy.
BRAIN INJURIES SUCH AS HYPOXIC ISCHEMIC ENCEPHALOPATHY (HIE) & MENINGITIS CAN CAUSE LIFELONG CONDITIONS SUCH AS CEREBRAL PALSY & SEIZURE DISORDERS
When a baby experiences a brain injury caused by birth asphyxia, infection or a brain bleed, the baby can have lifelong problems. Listed below are conditions that can be caused by brain insults that occur during or near the time of birth:
- Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). HIE usually involves damage to the basal ganglia, cerebral cortex or watershed regions of the brain, but it sometimes includes periventricular leukomalacia (PVL)
- Neonatal encephalopathy
- Permanent brain damage
- Seizure disorders
- Cerebral palsy (CP)
- Intellectual disabilities
- Developmental delays
- Learning Disabilities
- Motor disorders
- Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL)
AWARD WINNING BIRTH INJURY LAWYERS HELPING CHILDREN WHO HAVE HIE, CEREBRAL PALSY, SEIZURES & OTHER BIRTH INJURIES
If you are seeking the help of a lawyer, it is very important to choose a lawyer and firm that focus solely on birth injury cases. Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers is a national birth injury law firm that has been helping children with birth injuries for almost 3 decades.
Birth injury lawyer Jesse Reiter, president of ABC Law Centers, has been focusing solely on birth injury cases for over 28 years, and most of his cases involve hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and cerebral palsy. Partners Jesse Reiter and Rebecca Walsh are currently recognized as being two of the best medical malpractice lawyers in America by U.S. News and World Report 2015, which also recognized ABC Law Centers as one of the best medical malpractice law firms in the nation. The lawyers at ABC Law Centers have won numerous awards for their advocacy of children and are members of the Birth Trauma Litigation Group (BTLG) and the Michigan Association for Justice (MAJ).
If your child was diagnosed with a birth injury, such as cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), the award winning birth injury lawyers at ABC Law Centers can help. We have helped children throughout the country obtain compensation for lifelong treatment, therapy and a secure future, and we give personal attention to each child and family we represent. Our nationally recognized birth injury firm has numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements that attest to our success and no fees are ever paid to our firm until we win your case. Email or call Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers at 888-419-2229 for a free case evaluation. Our firm’s award winning lawyers are available 24 / 7 to speak with you.