HIE and cerebral palsy are two conditions that some parents experience when they contact us looking for answers as to what caused the initial HIE diagnosis, and help regarding the future challenges that their baby might face now and into the future. Since March is cerebral palsy awareness month, and we get calls on these two issues, I have decided in this educational article, and supporting video, to talk about these issues from a medical legal prospective.
If you are reading this article, know that there are those out here who can answer your questions. In addition, understand that you are not alone in this journey.
WHAT IS HIE?
HIE is short for hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. In the context of this article HIE is a reduced level of blood and oxygen which can cause a brain injury. According to some data, HIE is responsible for around 23% of neonatal deaths worldwide.
During labor and delivery, doctors and nurses use a tool called the electronic fetal heart monitor to determine fetal well-being. Monitoring fetal well-being is crucial during labor and delivery because if a baby is no longer tolerating a vaginal delivery it can be said that the baby might be in fetal distress. One reason for fetal distress can be due to blood and oxygen problems. For example, compression of the umbilical cord during labor and delivery can lead to blood and oxygen problems for a baby. If these issues are not cleared up in a timely fashion, serious injury can occur to the baby.
As I mentioned above, when blood and oxygen problems are present a baby can experience the medical condition HIE. Again, it is paramount that doctors and nurses pay close attention to the readings on the electronic fetal heart monitor during labor and delivery.
HIE AND CEREBRAL PALSY
At its basic level, cerebral palsy is a movement disorder. It can impact a baby in ways that restrict, or limit movement. The condition can cause difficulties in the arms, legs, and trunk area. In addition, children who are diagnosed with CP might have swallowing and eating challenges.
A CP diagnosis can be unique to a child and should be viewed on a case by case situation. Parents should not assume that another child’s CP diagnosis will be the same for their child. The area(s) of the brain injured, and the severity of the injury will be important in determining the impact of the diagnosis.
HIE and cerebral palsy can exist because an HIE diagnosis is traumatic brain injury. If the areas of the brain that control movement and things of that nature is injured, then a child can have a subsequent CP diagnosis. Please remember that for all of this, the severity of the injury is something that must be considered. Therefore, some children who have a less severe injury demonstrate experience fewer challenges than children who have had a more severe injury.
LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR BABY’S BRAIN INJURY
To speak with me further regarding what may have happened during your baby’s delivery just pick up the phone and call me. I talk with families all the time about birth injury issues. These issues range from what we talked about in above regarding HIE, but also cerebral palsy and other birth trauma issues.
You can reach me at 301-850-4832.
Marcus B. Boston, Esq.
2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 700
Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815
1-833-4 BABY HELP