While talking about your child’s birth injury the doctor has mentioned to you a medical condition called hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (“HIE”).

Based on this conversation with the doctor, it is looking like your child may have a serious injury to the brain and now you are wondering if hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is present in child’s birth injury.



To help you get a basic understanding of HIE, we are going to break down the three words for you.

Hypoxic deals with oxygen.

With brain injury cases during birth, often times an injury can occur if the baby does not get enough oxygen.

Ischemic deals with blood flow.

In birth injury cases, when there is an issue with blood flow to the baby, serious injuries can occur.

Finally, encephalopathy on a basic level deals with an injury to the brain.



There are a number of instances which can lead to HIE.

With that said, we can sometimes see a serious brain injury to a child when the delivery is prolonged and complicated.

A tipping point to whether the baby has had a stressing event is the presence of meconium.

Add to this sometimes the fetal heart strip will reveal that the baby is not tolerating a vaginal delivery well.

For example, the baby’s baseline heart might increase drastically over a long period of time.

This can then cause sudden and serious late decelerations.

Doctors have to make sure that they are paying close attention to the fetal heart strips and move to an emergency C-section when needed.



A shoulder dystocia condition can also lead to HIE.

Shoulder dystocia can occur when the baby gets trapped behind the pelvis.

This creates an emergency because doctors have to work to get the baby free.

If the baby is not freed in enough time the baby can die.

When a doctor panics and uses too much force to free the baby, injury to not only the baby’s shoulder and arm can occur, but also injury to the baby’s head and brain can occur.



Parents often time have a lot of questions when hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is present in child’s birth injury, or any other type of injury is present at birth.

To speak with us more about these issues, we invite you to give us a call.

It costs nothing to pick up the phone and call us.

We can be reached at 301-850-4832.

We answer Maryland child birth injury questions like yours all the time and we would be happy to take some time to listen to your story.


Marcus Boston is a Maryland medical malpractice attorney who helps people navigate the Maryland childbirth injury and medical malpractice process to get money for their injuries caused by the carelessness of doctors and hospitals.