What are the most common signs of brain damage in a newborn baby for parents when they contact us regarding their baby’s HIE, or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy brain injury? For many of these families, their baby has an HIE diagnosis or doctors and medical professionals are looking to either confirm or rule out that a traumatic brain injury has occurred.


The list that I am going to provide today is not exhaustive of all of the signs and areas of concern. This list is just the most common areas families discuss with us. Generally, these families are looking for us to perform a birth injury investigation to help them understand the cause of their baby’s HIE birth injury.


Common Signs Of Brain Damage In A Newborn Baby


Below I will talk about the common signs of brain damage in a newborn baby, as reported by families who contact my office.


  • Seizures: Seizures are the most common signs as reported by families. Seizures can occur either right after birth or hours after birth. They can be discovered by either medical professionals caring for the newborn or by family members. The most simple way to understand seizures is that seizures are viewed as abnormal brain activity.


  • The Need For Oxygen: In many instances, when a baby has suffered brain damage, or brain damage is suspected, oxygen is given to the baby. A newborn could either be suffering from poor oxygen intake or not breathing at all.


  • Newborn Is Blue Or Discolored: When a baby has suffered brain damage, or suspected brain damage, they will be blue or discolored. This can sometimes be a sign that oxygen deprivation occurred. In addition to being discolored, parents can sometimes report that their baby was either floppy, or as some families report, look dead.


  • Handoff To The NICU: The NICU can be on standby when certain criteria are present during labor and delivery. For example, if there are concerns on the fetal heart monitor the doctors and nurses may have the NICU in the labor and delivery room. A non-reassuring fetal strip might be present, or the presence of heavy meconium might trigger the need for the NICU team.


  • Hypothermia Cooling: Hypothermia cooling is a treatment that is now being used when a baby has suffered a brain injury or there is a suspected brain injury. Doctors have certain criteria which they use to determine when hypothermia cooling is needed. It is important for parents to remember that hypothermia cooling is not a cure so to speak for a brain injury. What the treatment can do is help slow the spread of the injury. It will not “make the brain go back to normal,” as one parent asked me.


If you have questions regarding the cause of your baby’s HIE injury, and you would like us to do a brain injury investigation to help you understand the cause, you can reach me at my contact information below. It costs nothing for you to call me initially and talk with you about your baby’s story.


Marcus B. Boston, Esq.

Boston Law Group, LLC

9701 Apollo Dr. Suite 100

Largo, Maryland 20774



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