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Seattle Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy Lawyers

Strong advocacy for birth injury victims in Washington

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a catastrophic injury that can cause cerebral palsy, learning disorders, motor disorders, speech difficulty, and many other health complications. At Smith McBroom, we have the experience and medical relationships to show that medical malpractice caused your child’s HIE. We demand compensation for all your child’s financial and personal damages. Contact our Seattle birth injury lawyers today for help.

Free Case Evaluation

Call 206-677-5941 now or fill out the form above to receive a free, confidential consultation.

What is hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy?

The prestigious Cleveland Clinic defines Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) as a birth injury that occurs before, during, or after childbirth when the newborn’s brain doesn’t get enough blood and oxygen. HIE can cause serious or permanent brain damage. HIE is often due to medical malpractice due to pregnancy complications, failing to properly monitor the mother and newborn during the delivery, and other types of medical errors.

HIE is also called birth asphyxia, perinatal hypoxia, and neonatal encephalopathy. HIE is categorized as mild, moderate, or severe. About 9,000 to 12,000 newborns are born with HIE in the United States each year.

What causes HIE?

Some of the many causes of HIE, according to the Cleveland Clinic, include:

  • Infections
  • Low or high blood pressure in the mother
  • Abnormal heart and lung development of the fetus
  • Low levels of oxygen in the mother
  • Failing to monitor and respond to delivery complications including:
    • The umbilical cord is in the wrong position (cord prolapse)
    • The umbilical cord becomes compressed
    • The flow of blood in the umbilical cord ceases
    • The placenta separates from the uterus (placental abruption)
    • There’s a tear in the uterus (uterine rupture)
    • The cervix is blocked by the placenta (placenta previa)

Other causes of HIE in newborns include anesthesia errors, high-risk pregnancies, abnormal fetal positions, and many other causes.

The risk factors for HIE, which doctors should anticipate, include:

  • Low birth weight
  • Contaminated amniotic fluid
  • The mother has preeclampsia, a substance abuse disorder, or gestational diabetes
  • A prolonged labor

Our Seattle HIE lawyers work with gynecologists, obstetricians, and other medical professionals to determine what medical mistakes were made during pregnancy, the delivery, and post-delivery that caused your child to have HIE.

Who is liable for medical malpractice that causes HIE?

The defendants, depending on when the malpractice occurred and what medical mistakes were made, may include:

  • The doctor
  • The hospital where the delivery was performed
  • A midwife
  • An anesthesiologist
  • Other medical providers, including nurses and medical technicians

Our Seattle HIE lawyers file claims against every responsible party.

What are the symptoms my child has HIE?

Some signs your newborn has mild or moderate HIE include fatigue, feeding difficulties, a weak cry, tense muscles or weak, floppy muscles, and irritability. Another symptom is gray or blue pale skin, lips, and fingers.

The signs of severe HIE in newborns include abnormal breathing, poor reflexes, lack of sensitivity to sound or touch, an improper heartbeat, seizures, and loss of consciousness.

Possible complications that may not appear for years after your child is born include delays in development, loss of sight and hearing, cognitive disabilities, lack of focus, infections, epilepsy, and cerebral palsy.

How is HIE diagnosed?

Common diagnostic tests for HIE include:

  • A physical exam after your child is born that looks for the signs and symptoms of HIE
  • Fetal heart monitoring
  • A placenta blood test
  • A wellness assessment of newborns (called an Apgar score test)
  • Blood and gas tests of the umbilical cord
  • An electroencephalogram (EEG)
  • An ultrasound
  • An MRI
  • Blood tests

At Smith McBroom, our Seattle birth injury lawyers examine which diagnostic tests were used, and which tests should have been used to determine if your child has HIE.

Are there treatments for HIE in Seattle?

Common HIE treatments, according to the Cleveland Clinic, include:

  • Using therapeutic hypothermia which is a cooling treatment, which is followed by rewarming your child. This treatment can help protect the brain from further damage.
  • Using EEG monitoring to detect seizures and using antiseizure medications.
  • Addressing the underlying HIE causes helps ensure a proper level of blood and oxygen reaches the brain.

Long-term treatments may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, hearing aids, glasses, and educational programs. Children with severe HIE may live with lifelong complications that require long-term medical care.

Our Seattle HIE injury lawyers review which treatments were given to your newborn, and which may still help your child.

What is the value of my child’s HIE claim in Washington?

At Smith McBroom, we demand compensation for your newborn’s current and future:

  • Medical expenses
  • Physical pain and emotional suffering
  • Loss of bodily function
  • Loss of life’s pleasures
  • Loss of earning capacity

The damages in birth injury cases may also include the costs of the parents to take care of their child, including loss of income because the parents need to take time off from work.

Since the normal life expectancy of children born in America is about 76 years, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HIE birth injury cases can be worth millions of dollars.

Do you have a Seattle HIE lawyer near me?

At Smith McBroom, our lawyers meet parents and newborns at our Seattle office at 16400 Southcenter Parkway Suite 210. If your child is too ill to come to our office, we make alternate arrangements to meet you and your child. We also speak with clients by phone and through online conferences. We’ll answer your questions and calmly and clearly guide you through the claims process.

Speak with our Seattle HIE injury lawyers today

The physicians and hospitals responsible for your child’s HIE diagnosis will have high-priced lawyers on their side. They’ll deny responsibility. You need respected trial lawyers who understand how medical malpractice occurred during the birth of your child, and who can anticipate all the arguments the medical providers and their insurance carriers will make to try to deny your claim. We have helped many victims of malpractice and negligence obtain strong verdicts and settlements. To schedule a free consultation with a Seattle HIE lawyer, call Smith McBroom today or fill out our contact form. We’re ready to help you and your child today.