Are the doctors hiding the cause of your baby’s HIE diagnosis? Although this is not always true, in some cases families can have a hard time nailing down the cause of their baby’s HIE diagnosis. I recently spoke with a family and but for them speaking with another medical professional they would have had a hard time finding the underlying calls of their babies HIE diagnosis. Not every doctor will talk in circles regarding all the possible ways in which HIE can occur, but sometimes families will go a while before truly understanding how they got to a HIE diagnosis.


In this article, I will tackle not only what is HIE, but from a medical legal standpoint how it can be caused when genetics, developmental issues, and maternal issues are not present. This may help clear up some confusion from parents, especially mothers, who think that they were in some way at “fault” for their child’s diagnosis, when in reality it was nothing they did in the first place.




HIE stands for hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. This is a medical condition that can occur at birth, and later in life if there is a brain injury. The best way to understand HIE is that it is a reduced level of blood and oxygen, which leads to a brain injury. During labor and delivery there are tools that doctors and nurses can use to check on your baby’s fetal well-being. One of these is the electronic fetal heart monitor. When a baby is tolerating a vaginal delivery with no problems, it is said that things are more than likely moving in the right direction for mother and baby.


The electronic fetal heart monitor will display to doctors and nurses your baby’s heart readings. Anything in the 120-60 beats per minute range will suggest that things are moving along in a good fashion. In addition to heart readings, the monitor will alert doctors and nurses as to mother’s contraction patters. When mothers are given drugs like Pitocin, monitoring the contraction patters is super important.


When a baby is given a diagnosis of HIE, at sometime there was a reduced level of blood and oxygen which has contributed to a brain injury. The HIE diagnosis is the result of this action.




Understanding what causes your baby’s HIE diagnosis can help families get closure as to this issue. In my experience, it seems that mothers can sometimes really beat themselves up regarding this issue. As one mother told me, “it’s as if I failed to be able to protect my baby.” With that said, the truth of the matter is that in some cases, the reason for a baby’s HIE diagnosis rests at the feet of the doctors, nurses, and hospital.


HIE can be caused by a multitude of things. For example, if there are genetic abnormalities, then this can sometimes lead to a brain injury. In addition, a baby can have problems with development, and this leads to a HIE diagnosis at birth. Finally, mother can sometimes have things that happen during pregnancy (infections, fevers, etc.….) that can lead to an HIE diagnosis at birth.


The question that is sometimes missing from all of this however, is what about an HIE diagnosis when none of the above are present? What about an HIE diagnosis when no genetic issues are present, or no developmental issues are noted? Add to it, what if mom did not have any issues during pregnancy because in many ways, her pregnancy was uneventful?


When this is the case, it could be that the reason for the HIE diagnosis is because of birth trauma. It is because of something that the doctors and nurses failed to do during labor and delivery. Can this be one of the reasons why in some cases, parents seem to get the “runaround” when none of the above is present as to the cause of injury, but the baby still ends up suffering a traumatic brain injury at birth?


As I have explained in other videos, when doctors and nurses fail to properly interpret the fetal heart monitor, fail to diagnose fetal distress, and fail to properly treat the fetal distress (usually with an emergency C-section when warranted if other conservative measures do not work), a baby can suffer a brain injury during labor and delivery, which can result into an HIE diagnosis in the future.




If you want to speak with me further about what may have happened to your baby during labor and delivery, this is what I invite you to do. Pick up the phone and call me.


I can be reached at 301-850-4832. I talk with families all the time about birth trauma related injuries 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.