Wisconsin Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) Attorneys
Oxygen deprivation at birth can lead to a diagnosis of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, a brain injury caused when cells starved of oxygen begin to die. Oxygen deprivation injuries occur in a process of damage over time, not just in a single moment, which means there are usually multiple ways to prevent an oxygen deprivation injury in a baby. Once such an injury has occurred, however, it is key that babies get hypothermia treatment/ cooling therapy to mitigate the damage within six hours of birth. After that, the baby should receive physical, occupational, speech or other therapy and specialized care to ensure maximized outcomes.
Whether you are in Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha, Racine, Appleton, Waukesha, Eau Claire or Oshkosh, or any other Wisconsin city, the Wisconsin birth injury attorneys at Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers can help you understand the circumstances of your child’s birth. We can investigate to determine whether there was medical malpractice in your child’s birth and help you pursue justice if you choose to file a suit. If you are concerned about the way your child is developing, please reach out to us 24 hours a day at 888-419-2229 or online at abclawcenters.com.
Labor and delivery are extremely complex processes, managed by many medical staffers with a large arsenal of techniques and interventions at their disposal to ensure optimal outcomes for mother and baby. However, there are instances where certain procedures are done inappropriately, causing a preventable injury. In these cases, this is medical malpractice, an event that parents of children with disabilities should know about. Children injured by medical malpractice may need extra care; birth injury attorneys exist to help you secure your child’s care for the entirety of their lifespan so you, as a parent, can have peace of mind knowing that your child will be well cared for.
What Are Potential Signs of Oxygen Deprivation at Birth (Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy)?
First, parents should know the indicators that something may have gone wrong during labor and delivery. Oxygen deprivation in a baby may not necessarily always be obvious (like seizures or skull trauma), so it is important to know not only what an injury looks like, but also the factors that can contribute to an injury overall. These injuries can range from mild to severe depending on the duration of the oxygen deprivation and the location of the injury; if injuries are caught early and treated properly, children may have minimal to no disability, while severe outcomes can necessitate around-the-clock lifelong care.
Noting whether or not the following factors were present during your pregnancy, labor and delivery can help your attorneys direct their investigation. If any of these factors were present, it is likely there were procedural steps that medical staff may have taken to prevent the hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. Although a lawsuit cannot heal your child’s injuries, it can help your child live the fullest life possible.
Common indicators, causes and/or risk factors of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy include:
Maternal Risks for HIE
- Traumatic birth
- Heavy bleeding
- Labor induction drugs provided (Pitocin or Cytotec)
- High-risk pregnancy without differential high-risk care (for diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, or a prior history of preterm birth or difficult labor)
Fetal Risks for HIE
- Baby having seizures after birth
- Baby was diagnosed with a fetal stroke
- Baby breathed in its first stool (Meconium Aspiration Syndrome)
- Baby had low Apgar scores (didn’t breath or cry at birth, or was born limp, floppy, blue, or pale)
- Baby had jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)
- Umbilical cord is too long or too short
- Umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck
- Umbilical cord comes out before the baby
- Heavy bleeding
- Baby is born in an incorrect position
- Baby had an infection after birth
- Baby had low blood sugar
- Baby has a diagnosis of another brain injury, such as periventricular leukomalacia (PVL) or hydrocephalus (water on the brain)
- Baby is born with an abnormally small or large weight
- Baby begins to miss developmental milestones as they grow
What Can Parents Do to Help Their Child with Oxygen Deprivation Injuries in Terms of Medical Care and Therapy?
There is only one treatment for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy called hypothermia therapy (brain cooling). In this treatment, the baby’s body or brain temperature is cooled to below physiological norms to slow down the baby’s metabolism and help the brain repair itself. This treatment is only effective, however, in the first six hours after birth, making timing of paramount importance.
There are other remedial methods that parents can help children have better outcomes, however, such as intensive physical or occupational therapies, which can help them gain functional ability in areas where they may need additional assistance. Parents can develop an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) when the child is between the ages of one and three, and later switch to an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). These documents help outline and plan the child’s continuing long-term medical and therapeutic care and educational goals, and is made in conjunction with numerous specialized professionals whose role is to help the child maximize their abilities. For more information on IFSPs and IEPs, please visit My Child Without Limits, IFSPWeb, and Understood.org. For information on free resources available to families of children who need early intervention in Wisconsin, please visit the following sites:
- Wisconsin Department of Health Services: Birth to 3 Program
- Wisconsin Department of Health Services Services for Children with Delays/Disabilities
- Wisconsin DHS Resources
- Wisconsin Centers for People with Intellectual Disabilities
- Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Services for Children with Intellectual Disabilities
- Kenosha Achievement Center Early Intervention Program
- Aspiro, Inc. Early Intervention
- ReferWeb Early Intervention Database (185 programs found)
- Family Voices of Wisconsin
- Waisman Resource Brochure
- Family Support and Resource Center
- Wisconsin Family Ties
- Wisconsin BRIDGE and Support Services
- Wrightslaw Disabilities Yellow Pages
What Can Parents Do to Help Secure Funds for Their Child’s Care if Their Child Had a Birth Injury in Wisconsin?
Financing a child’s care can be complicated, and parents might not always know where to start. There are government programs available to help cover the costs of a child’s care (most notably, Medicare and Medicaid, as well as Supplemental Security Income in certain cases). But these costs may not always be completely covered by these programs. For more information on funding your child’s care, please visit the following sites:
- The PACER Center: Financial planning for parents of children with disabilities
- Kiplinger: Financial planning for disabilities
- Wisconsin Children’s Long-Term Support Waivers
- Family Voices of Wisconsin Assistance Organizations
- Waisman Finding Your Way: A Navigation Guide for Wisconsin Families Who HAve Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs and Disabilities
- Wisconsin Medicaid Waiver Programs
- Wisconsin Child Care Information Center
Parents of children with birth injuries have another option open to them. If the birth injury was caused by medical malpractice, they can talk to a birth injury attorney about filing a suit to secure their child’s care. Parents who choose this option don’t pay legal fees out-of-pocket, making this a no-risk option of obtaining justice. The money secured from a settlement or verdict is often paid into a trust in the child’s name, and this trust pays for costs that insurance and other programs will not cover. If you suspect medical malpractice played a role in your child’s disabilities, please call the offices of Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers at 888-419-2229, or contact us 24/7.
Getting Help for Your Child’s Wisconsin Birth Injury
If you believe your child has developmental or motor disabilities that are caused by medical malpractice, feel free to reach out to the birth injury attorneys at Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers. Our attorneys have nearly a century of combined experience, and are one of the few firms to employ in-house medical staff to assist us in our cases. The firm has consistently won numerous awards, including listings in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Lawyers and Best Law Firms listings. We hope to help families gain peace of mind knowing their children will be cared for. Call us for a free and confidential case evaluation.
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