Wagner Reese is a high-caliber personal injury practice serving residents in Indianapolis and throughout the state of Indiana. Over the years, we’ve proven our ability to handle complex medical malpractice and birth injury claims, including those involving devastating injuries such as HIE and infant brain damage. Our attorneys are readily available to discuss your potential case, rights, and options, and explain what we can do to guide you through the legal journey ahead.
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HIE: A Devastating Birth Injury
Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a serious and potentially life-threatening medical condition involving decreased blood and oxygen to an infant’s brain (a form of birth asphyxia). This deprivation can result in infant brain damage, as well as heightened risks of significant impairment, permanent disability, or death.
Though the effects of HIE and related disabilities depends on various factors – such as the severity and duration of oxygen deprivation and management of conditions by medical professionals immediately after complications – families with children born with HIE must often confront a lifetime of physical, emotional, and financial hurdles, including:
- The costs of long-term medical care and monitoring
- Expenses for specialized education, accommodations, and other needs
- Intellectual and developmental disabilities, including delays in reaching developmental milestones
- A child’s diminished ability to work and earn wages in the future, or support and care for themselves
- Emotional and psychological suffering of parents and families
HIE & Medical Malpractice
While pregnancy and childbirth do pose risks, injuries such as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and infant brain damage are heavily associated with medical negligence and the failures of doctors, nurses, and other health care providers who fail to meet their “duty of care” – or their professional and legal obligation to provide acceptable care. In birth injury lawsuits involving HIE, a family alleges their child’s injury resulted from a failure to meet this duty, and that it could and should have been prevented.
HIE may be caused by a number of medical mistakes and forms of malpractice during various phases of pregnancy and delivery. For example:
- During pregnancy – Doctors who treat pregnant mothers have a duty to reduce risks and provide a level of treatment any reasonably competent physician would be able to provide. This means being able to identify and properly address known risk factors for oxygen deprivation that can lead to HIE, such as low or high blood pressure in the mother, placental ruptures or reduced blood flow, maternal infections, umbilical cord problems, and other potential risks.
- During labor and delivery – Proper care and prompt response to complications is critical during labor and delivery and to avoiding preventable oxygen deprivation. If doctors and nurses fail to appropriately monitor signs of fetal distress, for example, they may fail to recognize when an infant is at risk of suffering brain damage and / or fail to take the necessary immediate response, such as performing a C-section. Other acts of negligence may also lead to oxygen deprivation during childbirth, such as medication errors involving the improper use of labor-inducting drugs or anesthesia, birth trauma and injuries caused by forceps or vacuum extractors or an inappropriate response to shoulder dystocia, and more.
- After birth – Medical professionals also have obligations to properly and promptly administer necessary treatments to manage complications and medical conditions involving infants. In cases of oxygen deprivation, this includes not only a prompt response during delivery (such as an emergency C-section), but also post-delivery treatment such as therapeutic hypothermia, or “brain cooling,” which can reduce risks of long-term damage. When there is reason to suspect HIE, doctors are required to perform therapeutic hypothermia.
Your Rights When Pursuing a Birth Injury Lawsuit
The unfortunate truth is that HIE is commonly preventable. The silver lining, however, is that parents and families do have rights when medical malpractice is to blame for their child’s injuries. Exercising those rights through the filing of a birth injury lawsuit can be critical to not only allowing victims to recover needed compensation, but also to ensuring accountability and prompting changes that may very well prevent other children and families from suffering similar fates.
At Wagner Reese, our award-winning trial lawyers are passionate about protecting the rights of the injured and the wronged, but want to remind victims that compensation is never automatically granted or guaranteed. The corporations and insurance companies which defend against these cases are focused on paying as little as possible, and they go to great lengths to deny liability and evade payment of compensation. This being the case, it becomes critical to work with a firm that has the resources, targeted experience, and professional connections these complex claims require.
Learn More About Your Rights & Options: Call Wagner Reese Today.
Wagner Reese is comprised of Indianapolis HIE attorneys who leverage over 150+ years of collective experience and considerable knowledge in medical malpractice law to fight for families in a range of birth injury cases. Over the years, our attorneys have earned the respect and esteem of their colleagues and our local communities, as well as top-tier distinctions such as Indiana Super Lawyers® and Indiana Trial Lawyer of the Year. Our experience and abilities to litigate tough cases is matched only by our genuine passion for helping families during some of the most difficult times in their lives.
Learn how Wagner Reese can fight for you by discussing a birth injury case personally with a member of our team. Contact us today for a free case review.