Portland Hypoxic Brain Damage Attorney
Just Compensation for Birth Injuries
A lack of oxygen during birth can cause serious injury to your baby. There are many different birth injuries that are caused by a lack of oxygen, including hypoxic brain damage. At Angel Law, P.C., our birth injury attorney in Portland represents clients with babies who have suffered hypoxic brain damage due to mistakes during delivery.
How Hypoxic Brain Injuries Happen
Hypoxia occurs when oxygen is restricted, and the body begins to operate at a deficiency. This can result in certain organs shutting down or sustaining damage. During the birth process, umbilical cord compression can reduce oxygen and lead to hypoxic brain damage. A decrease in oxygen can lead to catastrophic injury, especially in a newborn baby with a rapidly developing brain.
Hypoxic brain injury can lead to problems that include:
- Developmental disorders
- Permanent speech and communication disabilities
- Vision or hearing loss or impairment
- Motor and balance impairment
- Seizure disorders
Tissue can begin to die after four minutes without oxygen. As a result, hypoxic brain injuries are always damaging. Healthcare providers have a responsibility for protecting the life and well-being of newborns. If your baby has suffered serious injury or developmental delays caused by hypoxic brain damage, our Portland birth injury lawyer can help.
What is HIE?
Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is the most common type of hypoxic brain injury suffered by infants and newborns. It is a life-threatening brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen or blood flow, usually just before, during, or shortly after labor and delivery. Even when administered to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) soon after being born, a baby suffering from HIE will have, statistically, a 20% chance of passing away from it. A baby with HIE will also have, statistically, a 25% chance of developing a permanent brain injury.
Detecting Signs of HIE
HIE is not always obvious. In many cases, a newborn will suffer a lack of oxygen during birth but to such a degree that it causes immediate and severe symptoms. Instead, the infant will start to show symptoms in the following hours, days, or weeks.
Symptoms of HIE can include:
- Unexplained seizures
- Persistent and strong lethargy
- Disinterest in milk and feeding
- Vomiting after feeding
- Sensitivity to light or no reaction to light
- Labored breathing
Severe symptoms of HIE can include falling into a comatose state or a paralyzing seizure. You should call 911 immediately if your child is experiencing severe HIE symptoms or is unresponsive. If you notice less severe symptoms, you should still take your child to the emergency room immediately.
Other Conditions Related to HIE
In many cases, HIE is not a standalone birth injury. It is often diagnosed alongside other birth injuries and potentially permanent health complications.
Two health conditions often diagnosed with HIE are:
- Cerebral palsy: Oxygen deprivation suffered by an infant can cause cerebral palsy (CP). This birth injury is attributed to a severe muscle control disorder that makes walking, talking, and dexterous manipulation difficult or impossible for the child. Even years of physical therapy might be unable to completely alleviate the worst symptoms of CP.
- Epilepsy: Children born with HIE are often diagnosed later with epilepsy, a brain disorder caused by unusual neural activity that can trigger a seizure. HIE-related epilepsy is often triggered by bright or flashing lights, but it can also be caused by varying sensory inputs.
Treatments for HIE & Next Steps
An immediate treatment for HIE is brain cooling or a hypothermia treatment. If a newborn’s brain is swelling due to neural damage caused by oxygen or blood deprivation, then cooling it to a safe temperature and for a prolonged period has been shown to reduce the severity of HIE and its lingering symptoms.
However, there is currently no known cure for HIE. The next step after it is diagnosed and seems to be permanent is to try to make the child’s life more comfortable through different therapies. Disabilities caused by HIE might be permanent, but the consequences of them can be mitigated.
Recovering Compensation for You & Your Child
When a medical mistake leads to serious injury in a newborn, the parents may seek compensation by filing a lawsuit. Attorney Patrick Angel helps families recover compensation for injuries caused by avoidable medical errors. The specific damages depend on the situation but may include compensation for medical bills, physical and occupational therapy, accommodations to the home, emotional damages, and pain and suffering.
Call (503) 862-8666 to discuss your case with our attorney. We want to help you take legal action!
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