The Life-Changing Birth Injury You’ve Never Heard Of

Man holding baby on chest

Many injuries can happen in the delivery room, each with a unique set of symptoms. However, there’s one life-changing birth injury that you’ve probably never heard of: Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy or HIE.

Break It Down

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is an intimidating term. It looks like medical jargon few can comprehend, but when we separate the words and describe them one by one, the term is easy to understand.

Hypoxic: Lacking oxygen

Ischemic: Not getting enough blood

Encephalopathy: Brain damage

Put these three terms together, and the meaning becomes clear: The baby suffered brain damage due to a lack of blood flow and oxygen.

In general, HIE is the name for the brain injury that occurs as a result of asphyxiation during labor or delivery. In other words, it is not an issue with brain development; it is a birth injury.

Signs and Symptoms

HIE is a cause of cerebral palsy. Many babies born with HIE are diagnosed promptly in the NICU and show signs such as seizures, and problems on brain imaging studies.

But HIE can be a latent birth injury, meaning the symptoms do not become evident until the child is older. In moderate to severe cases of HIE, the child may experience seizures or organ disfunction.

As a child impacted by HIE or neonatal asphyxiation grows, parents should watch for symptoms of a latent birth injury. Those include:

  • Missing or delayed developmental milestones

  • Epilepsy/seizures

  • Cognitive impairment

  • Poor motor skills

When parents understand these symptoms and their causes, they’re better equipped to recognize a pattern of behavior consistent with HIE. With that knowledge, they can identify cases of birth injuries caused by medical malpractice and can work with an attorney to pursue the justice their child deserves.

If you or your child suffered birth injuries due to medical negligence, we are here for you. If you’d like an experienced North Carolina birth injury attorneys from Daniel, Holoman & Associates LLP to evaluate your case, please send us an email or call (866) 380-2281.