Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is a medical term some parents of children with cerebral palsy have probably heard a doctor mention. Or the term might have been used in a child’s medical records. If you have heard of the word or seen it in the medical records and are still a little confused as to its possible role in your baby’s brain injury, this article is for you.


For many parents who have a child who has suffered a brain injury at birth, helpful information is key to helping their child get the care that they need. Not only will I discuss HIE in general in this article, I will deal with how this condition can lead to a cerebral palsy diagnosis in a child and why doctors and nurses must pay close attention to whether a child is tolerating a vaginal delivery.




What is HIE? To better understand the condition, you need to understand the three words which make up the condition. The easiest way to understand the first word, hypoxic is to look at it in the context of oxygen. Hypoxic in this context will deal with a reduced level of oxygen.



Next, we have the word ischemic. When you see the word ischemic in the context of HIE think of blood flow. Oftentimes a baby dealing with HIE will have a reduction in blood flow.


Finally, encephalopathy means an injury to the brain. So, the third word in HIE deals with the actual injury to the brain.


When we put all of the words back together what do we get? We get a reduced level of blood and oxygen getting to the brain which in turn leads to a brain injury. This is HIE in a nutshell. This is how a child can have a brain injury during birth which can lead to a subsequent cerebral palsy diagnosis. If your child has a cerebral palsy diagnosis you might see the term HIE noted in the medical records.




The reason why I said to watch this if HIE caused cerebral palsy in your baby is because not only do I want you to understand the condition, I want you to see and understand how we see this injury manifest itself in the warier real world.


What can sometimes happen is that doctors and nurses fail to to identify fetal distress and this failure can lead to profusion issues for the child (reduce level of blood and oxygen) which in turn leads to a brain injury. Doctors and nurses, when they fail to carefully and correctly interpret the fetal heart monitor, play a dangerous guessing game with the baby’s well-being.




If HIE caused cerebral palsy in your baby you can call me. To speak with me further about your child’s brain injury and their future challenges pick up the phone and give me a call. I can be reached at

301-850-4832. I answer questions about birth injuries which happen in Maryland all the time and I will be happy to listen to your story.


Marcus B. Boston, Esq.

Boston Law Group, LLC

2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 700

Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815




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. BLG handles cases in Prince George’s County, Baltimore City, Montgomery County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County, and all other Maryland Counties.