What is hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and what is a good follow up question for your baby’s doctor? In the last few days, we have fielded questions from families dealing with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and one question kept coming up behind the lead question of how this happened to my baby, and what’s next. That question is what is a good follow-up question for the doctor regarding my baby following a diagnosis of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy?


Although there are a lot of questions a family may have regarding a hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy diagnosis, for the purposes of this article, and supporting video, I am going to focus on one of the more common questions we have gotten recently. At the conclusion of this article you will not only have a better grasp of this question, but also one way hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy can occur during labor and delivery.




What is hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy? The best way to understand hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is to break the word down into its three components. When you see the word hypoxic, or hypoxia, you should start thinking about a reduced level of oxygen. The word ischemic deals with blood flow. Finally, encephalopathy means an injury to the brain. Add the three words together and you get a reduced level of blood and oxygen leading to an injury to the brain. This is essentially what hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy means. The technical definition of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is a brain injury caused by asphyxia (deprivation of oxygen).


According to some data, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy accounts for around 23% of neonatal deaths worldwide. Because of the serious nature of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, many parents have serious concerns regarding the challenges their child will face in the future.


Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy at its basic level focuses on the lack of blood and oxygen in the tissue. When this occurs, developmental delays and other types of brain injuries can occur, like cerebral palsy.




A good follow up question for your baby’s doctor when diagnosed with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is what area of the brain has been injured and how will this injury manifest itself? This question can be very important because not only does it help you understand what part of the brain is injured; it allows the parents to have an idea of what treatment options may be available for their baby.


Depending on what area(s) of the brain are injured, parents can get a better understanding of not only possible cognitive issues, but the possibility of physical limitations. For example, a baby can develop swallowing and “eating” difficulties, or limitations regarding their limb usage, or vision/hearing issues, etc.…Understanding these issues can help a family get a jump start on possible medical care and treatment available for assistance.





Has your baby been diagnosed with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and you have questions about what can be done to help with your baby’s future challenges? Or, has your baby been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and there was an initial diagnosis of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy? Sometimes families think that all hope is gone regarding the possible help that their child may be able to receive. This is just not true. There are professionals who can help.


To speak with me further regarding your baby’s challenges, pick up the phone and give me a call. I can be reached at 301-850-4832. I answer questions regarding labor and delivery, brain injuries, cerebral palsy diagnosis, and much more surrounding birth injuries all the time and I would be happy to listen to your story.


Marcus B. Boston, Esq.

Boston Law Group, LLC

2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 700

Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815



1-833-4 BABY HELP

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. blgesq.com