Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) (also known as perinatal asphyxia) is a type of brain injury that results when the supply of blood and oxygen to a baby’s brain is temporarily cut off during childbirth.
What is Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)?
What are the Possible Effects of HIE?
What are the Initial Symptoms of HIE?
- Stiffened muscle tone and slightly abnormal tendon reflexes in first few days
- Abnormal behavior such as poor feeding, unexplained irritability, excessive crying or sleeping
- Symptoms of mild HIE usually go away after first few days
- Notable hypotonia (floppy baby syndrome) with very little tendon reflexes
- Very poor or absent grasping and/or suck reflexes
- Periodic apnea
- Seizures (typically within first 24 hours)
- Significant seizures occurring with increasing frequency over first 2 days
- Stupor or coma (no response to external stimulus)
- Irregular breather (ventilator may be required)
- Severe hypotonia (floppy muscle tone)
- Abnormal eye movements or eye control with pupils dilated
- Irregular heart rate and blood pressure
- Death from cardiorespiratory failure
Formally diagnosing HIE initially involves observation of the physical symptoms described above. Lab tests including tests of serum electrolyte levels and cardiac and liver enzyme tests are also utilized. Imaging tests including MRIs and CT Scans will also be used to make a diagnosis.
What Causes HIE?
Causes of HIE During Pregnancy
Intrapartum Causes of HIE
Treatment Options for HIE
Malpractice Claims for HIE
Recent HIE Settlements and Verdicts
Below are summaries of recently reported settlements and verdicts in malpractice cases involving infant HIE. Every case is unique and these summaries are offered for comparative purposes only.
- ZIOLKOWSKI v. ESCOBAR (2018 – Pennsylvania) – $7.2 million settlement: When a baby was born he needed emergency respiratory assistance but none of the doctors present in the delivery room were qualified in neonatal intubation techniques. The result was an 8-min delay before intubation which interrupted blood and oxygen to the baby’s brain. The baby was diagnosed with HIE causing severe cerebral palsy. Just prior to trial parties agreed to settle for $7.2 million.
- DOE v. DEFENDANT HOSPITAL (2017 – Massachusetts) – $2.1 million settlement: Plaintiff alleged that doctors and hospital staff failed to properly monitor during the administration of Pitocin and did not realize that drug caused placental abruption. As a result, the baby suffered brain damage from hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. The case was settled for $2.1 million prior to trial.
- DOE v. AAA Corp. (2017 Michigan) – $8 million settlement: Another case alleging negligent use of Pitocin to induce labor resulting in HIE. Plaintiff also alleged that doctors were negligent in their initial response to HIE after birth. HIE resulting in permanent disabilities to entire life side of child’s body.
This is just a few cases. But there is no a question that the settlement value of HIE case can be in the tens of millions of dollars. The calculus for determining the settlement value focuses on how severe the negligence was and how much future care the child will need.
Contact HIE Malpractice Lawyers at Miller & Zois
If you have a child that was born with HIE that may have been the result of medical negligence, contact the birth injury lawyers at Miller & Zois. We can investigate your case and determine whether you have a valid malpractice claim. Call us at 1.800.553.8082 or submit a request for a free consultation.