The birth of a child is one of the most joyful experiences of a parent’s life. Yet, for one mother, the joy was quickly replaced with heartbreak when her newborn infant suffered a serious birth injury. The mother filed a lawsuit against the hospital, doctor, and several medical groups. The lawsuit is seeking a trial by jury and damages of more than $50,000.
Hypoxic Ischemic Injury
Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, HIE, is brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen (asphyxia) to the brain during labor or delivery. It is estimated that HIE effects an estimated 20 out of every 1,000 births. There is an increased instance of HIE in premature babies. HIE is a medical emergency that requires immediate care and treatment. Unfortunately, many infants suffering from HIE die as a result. HIE by asphyxiation is the most common cause of infant death in the United States, and is the most common reason for serious disabilities in infants.
HIE results in brain injuries that may range from minor to severe in nature. Infants with permanent disabilities may have limited motor skills, and reduced mental abilities. The extent of these serious injuries may not be immediately known. Once the child is older, the doctors will be able to have a better indication of the degree of severity.
Treatment for HIE
Sadly, once the brain has been damaged due to oxygen deprivation, it will not improve. The child in this case will never fully recover, and will require treatment and care for his entire life. He will never be able to live a normal life, and the parents will be facing extreme expenses and emotional distress. The lawsuit alleges that the doctors were negligent because they failed to prevent the injury and did not properly monitor the labor and delivery. Further, the doctors did not take the necessary steps immediately following delivery to diagnose and treat the infant.
Prevention of HIE
HIE can be prevented with the proper use of diagnostic and monitoring of the mother and infant during labor. If distress is noted, it is a medical emergency. HIE may sometimes be prevented by performing an emergency C-section. When the oxygen levels to the baby are monitored, a change in them should be quickly responded to. Additionally, there is some indication that immediate cooling of infants who suffered oxygen deprivation may keep the injury from worsening.
When a doctor of medical professional fails to properly treat or diagnose a medical issue, and the patient experiences a serious injury, the doctor may be responsible for medical negligence. In this case, the doctor, medical groups, and hospital, are all blamed for negligent care of the infant. While there is nothing that can be done to repair the damage that was done, legal action may help to prevent it from happening to another family in the future. A lawsuit seeks compensation for medical expenses, which are going to be astronomical over the life of the child. If your baby was injured at birth, a lawsuit may be necessary. Contact the legal team at Levin & Perconti to discuss your options.
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