Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) Attorneys in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan offers a wealth of medical and lifestyle resources for individuals with lasting injuries from hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. From adaptive recreation opportunities to highly regarded rehabilitation programs, Grand Rapids is one of the best cities in Michigan—and perhaps the country—to live with and recover from a traumatic birth injury. Unfortunately, these programs and services are financially out of reach for so many affected individuals. At Michigan Cerebral Palsy Attorneys, our Grand Rapids, Michigan hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) lawyers are dedicated to securing the funds necessary for clients to participate fully in Grand Rapids’ many disability programs. Our team of Grand Rapids birth asphyxia lawyers and medical professionals has an extensive track record of successful HIE verdicts and settlements and urges you to reach out for help today. Michigan Cerebral Palsy Attorneys will not charge you unless we win your case. Contact our Grand Rapids hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) lawyers today for your free legal consultation by calling us toll-free at (888) 592-1857 or filling out our online contact form.

Contact Our Team

What is Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy?

Understanding HIE as a Birth Injury: Quick Facts

Grand Rapids, Michigan Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) LawyersBefore delving into in a detailed description about hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, let’s first discuss the basics about HIE. Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (also commonly called birth asphyxia, intrapartum asphyxia, HIE, NE or neonatal encephalopathy) is a dangerous brain injury that occurs when insufficient oxygen levels reach a neonate’s brain before, during, or just after birth.

HIE occurs in roughly 2-9 of every 1,000 live births, often leaving affected individuals with lifelong disabilities including seizure disorders and epilepsy, cerebral palsy (CP), neurodevelopmental impairments, motor delays, intellectual impairments, and other developmental delays. The severity of a baby’s brain damage depends on the severity of the hypoxic ischemic insult (the oxygen-depriving injury).

What Causes Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)?

Causes, Medical Malpractice, and Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy: Grand Rapids, Michigan

As most of us know, few pregnancies progress without any complications—fortunately, medical care standards require medical professionals to detect, diagnose, manage, and treat the many complications that can result in hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and other birth injuries. Unfortunately, devastating mistakes and medical malpractice occur every year in Grand Rapids and other cities around Michigan. In this section, we’ll list a few of the most common pregnancy and delivery complications that, when mismanaged, cause hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).

  • Complications related to the umbilical cord often lead to hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. Since the umbilical cord connects the baby to the mother’s oxygen supply, interference to its function and flow often results in dangerous fetal oxygen deprivation. Nuchal cords, which occur when the cord wraps around the neonate’s neck, may reduce oxygen flow and cause HIE. Additionally, short umbilical cords reduce fetal movement within the womb and can cause growth restriction and oxygen deprivation. Prolapsed umbilical cords enter the birth canal before the baby, often causing compression of the umbilical cord and decreased oxygen transmission.
  • Delaying emergency C-section operations in dangerous, oxygen-depriving delivery situations commonly cause hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. Medical professionals are required, based on the standard of care, to quickly order and perform emergency C-section operations in cases of fetal oxygen deprivation.
    • Prolonged labor is a delivery emergency that necessitates emergency C-section delivery. Labor is generally considered prolonged when its first and second stages last longer than twenty hours (or fourteen hours for women who have previously given birth). When medical professionals fail to provide an emergency C-section delivery in cases of prolonged labor, the baby’s chances for suffering HIE increase dramatically.
  • Macrosomia is a pregnancy complication in which the baby is larger than average for his or her age. Macrosomia often results in scenarios of cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD), in which the baby is too large to pass through his or her mother’s pelvic region. Macrosomia and CPD may result in labor that fails to progress, head trauma, and hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.
  • Legal Help for Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) in Grand Rapids, MichiganPremature birth: Since the baby’s lungs develop between 32 and 34 weeks of gestation, premature birth can cause HIE. In cases of premature birth, medical professionals are obligated to carefully monitor fetal respiration after delivery in order to avoid hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.
  • Strong contractions and hyperstimulation, most notably from the misuse of labor-inducing drugs Pitocin and Cytotec, occur when the mother experiences prolonged periods of contractions and pushing during labor and delivery. These rapid uterine contractions may lead to HIE.
  • Uterine rupture is a pregnancy and delivery emergency in which the uterus tears open (most often in VBAC deliveries), resulting in diminished blood flow to the fetus.
  • Post-term pregnancies often see diminished placental and uterine functioning. As a result, the fetus receives less oxygenated blood and has higher chances of suffering hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.
  • Fetal monitoring mistakes during labor and delivery are a dangerous and common cause of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. When a medical professional fails to properly address fetal heart tracings, he or she risks missing important indicators that the baby is experiencing oxygen deprivation. Additionally, mistakes monitoring ventilation equipment after birth can result in HIE. Both are instances of medical malpractice.
  • Maternal health problems including preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced high blood pressure), polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid), and oligohydramnios (too little amniotic fluid) can interfere with a neonate’s intake of oxygenated blood and cause hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.
  • The mismanagement of infant health problems including fetal stroke and post-delivery anemia can cause hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.
  • Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM) occurs when the amniotic sac and chorion rupture before they are supposed to. This pregnancy and delivery complication can lead to infection and premature birth, both of which may result in HIE.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy?

Medical professionals must be on the lookout for any clinical signs that a newborn baby suffered a hypoxic ischemic event. The following signs and symptoms are common indicators of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy:

  • Low Apgar scores: Apgar scores are used to measure an infant’s general health immediately after delivery. Low Apgar scores commonly indicate oxygen deprivation and HIE.
  • Seizures are often the first clinical sign of HIE in an infant. Infants must be monitored for seizures 24-48 hours after delivery, in the NICU, or after being discharged from the NICU.
  • Feeding challenges
  • The absence of brain stem reflexes (such as breathing or normal responses to light) may indicate HIE.
  • If the baby is in a coma after delivery, shows decreased muscle tone (hypotonia), or requires resuscitation, he or she should be further evaluated for HIE.
  • Organ problems and/or failure
  • Metabolic or mixed acidemia (acidity) in sample of umbilical cord blood indicates that a hypoxic ischemic event likely occurred.

If any of these signs or symptoms are present (or another indication that HIE occurred), the baby should be monitored for hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy further. Diagnostic tests and evaluations (such as CT scans, MRIs, PET scans, EEGs, arterial blood gas tests, ultrasounds, and others) must be conducted. Additionally, parents, guardians, teachers, caretakers, and anyone else close to the child should watch out for developmental cues throughout childhood.

Treatment for Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)

HIE Treatment and Therapy in Grand Rapids, Michigan

The hypothermia treatment is the only treatment known to reduce the severity of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. The treatment works by lowering a baby’s body temperature to around 91 degrees Fahrenheit for roughly 72 hours within a six hour time frame of the hypoxic ischemic insult. Cooling the baby’s temperature slows down the metabolic rate, halting the progression of cell death and allowing the brain to recover. It is now the standard of care for all babies with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy that are eligible for the treatment based on indications to undergo hypothermia treatment.

Beyond the hypothermia treatment, treatment for HIE is supportive and therapeutic. Individuals with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy in Grand Rapids are encouraged to take advantage of the city’s impressive selection of therapy programs, facilities, and opportunities. Individuals with personalized therapy plans make great strides towards cognitive, physical, emotional, and social rehabilitation.

Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Resources in Grand Rapids, Michigan

As we noted earlier in our discussion, Grand Rapids has a number of wonderful resources for disabled individuals. Infants, children and adults have limitless opportunities for rehabilitation, medical help, and lifestyle supports. To learn more about how individuals with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy in Grand Rapids, Michigan can get the help and resources they needs, please visit our Grand Rapids Cerebral Palsy and Disability Resources page.

Financial Compensation for Grand Rapids, Michigan HIE and Birth Trauma Victims

Grand Rapids, Michigan Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) Lawyers

If your loved one has hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy or another birth trauma injury, we encourage you call our Grand Rapids, Michigan Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) Lawyers. Our staff of legal and medical professionals will provide you with a free legal consultation and inform you of your legal options. We will not charge you unless we win your case. Don’t hesitate to contact us today—you may fill our out online contact form or call Michigan Cerebral Palsy Attorneys toll-free at (888) 592-1857.

Related Reading: Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

Our Grand Rapids, Michigan hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) lawyers understand how much work it can be to sift through all the available information on HIE. To make understanding HIE easier for the public, we’ve compiled the following easy-to-use HIE resources and informational pages. The following resources help explain everything from the medicine behind hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy to specific HIE resources in Grand Rapids.

Contact Our Team
Share this: