Birth Asphyxia | Birth Injury Lawyers - RB Law
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Birth Asphyxia | Romanucci & Blandin

Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), more commonly called birth asphyxia, is when there is a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the baby’s brain at or close to the time of the baby’s birth.  HIE occurs in approximately 2-9 out of 1,000 live births.  Out of those who are affected, 10-60% die when they are a newborn and around 25% who live will suffer from severe brain damage and long-term neurodevelopmental impairments.

What Can Cause HIE/ Birth Asphyxia?

HIE can be caused by many different situations that can occur during labor and delivery, including:

  • Complicated from the baby’s position or size
  • Delayed delivery
  • Delayed emergency C-section
  • Elevated fetal heart resting tone between contractions
  • Fetal monitoring errors
  • Problems with the placenta or uterus
  • Tachysistole (excessively frequent uterine contractions)
  • Trauma to or hemorrhages during delivery in the baby’s brain
  • Umbilical cord injuries
  • Undiagnosed or improperly treated conditions in the mother

What are the Signs and Symptoms?

There are several different signs and symptoms  that can be seen at birth, including:

  • Abnormal limpness
  • Coma
  • Difficulty feeding
  • Hypotonia (low muscle tone)
  • Low APGAR Scores that last more than 5 minutes
  • Multiple organ problems
  • No brain stem reflexes
  • Resuscitation of the newborn at birth
  • Seizures within 24-48 hours of delivery

How is it Diagnosed?

Birth Asphyxia is confirmed through a variety of tests and neuroimaging studies, which include:

  • Arterials Blood Gas Tests
  • Blood Glucose Tests
  • CT scans
  • EEGs
  • MRIs
  • PET scans
  • Ultrasounds

These tests will be performed if a doctor suspects that the baby might have HIE.  In some cases though, symptoms may not develop until the child is older.

How is Birth Asphyxia Treated?

It has traditionally been treated by supportive care in order to limit brain damage and prevent any further injury.  This type of treatment will generally include controlling/preventing seizures, NICU care, ventilation, minimizing cerebral swelling, maintaining blood glucose and blood pressure and getting care from specialty physicians.

There is now a new type of therapy, called hypothermia or brain cooling that has been shown to help babies.  This type of therapy has been shown to improve the outcome of babies with HIE by decreasing the severity of their neurological injury.  This therapy involves lowering the baby’s body temperature to approximately 91 degree Fahrenheit for around 72 hours in order to slow their metabolic rate in order to allow for cell recovery over a longer period of time.

Free Consultation with a Chicago Birth Injury Attorney

RB Law has vast experience with handling birth injury cases for babies.  If your baby suffered from a lack of oxygen during delivery and did not receive the proper care, contact our proficient birth injury attorneys right away so we can help you get the compensation you deserve.

If you have questions regarding your birth injury case, contact us today for a free consultation at (312) 458-1000, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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