There can be no bigger tragedy to a family than the anticipation of a healthy newborn member of the family turned into a suddenly and unexpectedly injured baby. Many families first ask why did this happen? How did this happen? While not always caused by medical carelessness, many birth injuries are in fact caused by inattentiveness or labor mismanagement by the medical team. This is particularly true when the baby suffers some form of brain injury during the labor or birthing process.
While the general public often uses the term brain damage, in general, one of the medical terms is Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy or HIE. In simplest terms, HIE occurs when an infant’s brain does not receive enough oxygen and blood. This extremely dangerous condition demands immediate medical intervention such as a cesarean section. The longer the deprivation continues, the higher the likelihood of severe, permanent and life-long brain injury. When the brain is deprived of blood and oxygen, brain cells are injured and some may die. About 2 to 3 per 1000 births in the United States are affected by HIE every year. The mother and the baby have the right to medical intervention and protection from a disabling brain injury.
Oxygen and blood deprivation to a baby’s brain during labor and delivery is detectable. The best way to prevent HIE is to eliminate the asphyxia during pregnancy and delivery by the medical team. Close and specific fetal and maternal monitoring is key, especially for those mothers who are at increased risk for fetal asphyxia. Electronic fetal monitoring during delivery is a key tool in determining whether a baby is suffering from blood flow and oxygen deprivation.
Families should ask their medical providers about the delivery process and voice medical staff preferences. Families must understand their patient rights. If your child, a family member or a family friend have unfortunately suffered from HIE or other birth injury and you have questions about why or how this happened, call Attorney Rolf Louis Patberg at the Patberg Law Firm at 412-232-3500 or 1-800-671-6880. You can also email Attorney Patberg at Rpatberg@patberglawfirm.com.