Ortega Law Firm

Call Today 480-582-0981

What is hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy in a newborn?

Women who are in labor will usually expect to give birth to a healthy baby unless they've been told ahead of time that there's something wrong with the child. While this does happen most of the time, there are times when it does not.

One of the duties of people who work in labor and delivery is to monitor the mother and baby to ensure that neither is showing signs of distress. If there are any signals that something is amiss, swift action must be taken to address the issue. When nothing is done and there is something wrong, the child or the mother can suffer great harm.

What is fetal distress?

During labor and delivery, fetal distress is often discovered through the heart rate monitoring of the baby. If the baby's heart rate is too low or much too high, there might be an issue.

A low heart rate is often considered an urgent situation. The nurse, doctor or midwife might have the mother switch positions to try to get more oxygen to the baby. If this doesn't work or if there are any other signs that something is wrong, an emergency Cesarean section, or surgical delivery, might be necessary.

What happens when the baby doesn't get sufficient oxygen?

Failure to get the baby sufficient oxygen can lead to serious complications. One birth injury that can occur in these cases is neonatal hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. This is a dysfunction in the brain that occurs when it is deprived of blood or oxygen. It can lead to catastrophic effects that impact various bodily systems.

When low blood flow or heart rate is swiftly addressed, there is a chance that the impacted organs will eventually return to normal, but the brain may not. The length of time that it was deprived of oxygen and blood has a direct impact on how severe the injury to the brain is.

Can neonatal hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy be treated?

It is sometimes possible to treat this condition, but there aren't any guarantees as to the outcome. A common treatment involves cooling the baby down by a few degrees for a few days. This is done in the neonatal intensive care unit in most medical centers and is a very involved procedure.

The future for a baby who has neonatal hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is uncertain. Parents are often looking at considerable medical bills and other expenses during a time when they'll want to take off work to be with their baby. When this could have been prevented, the parents might opt to take legal action through a birth injury lawsuit.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Ortega Law Firm | 361 East Coronado Road, Suite 101, | Phoenix, AZ 85004-1525 | Phone: 480-582-0981 | Map & Directions