No child should be forced to live with a serious injury due to the negligence of a medical practitioner. Unfortunately, many doctors fail to exercise due care when providing treatment to a mother and her child, which can lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit. If your child suffered hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy due to a doctor’s negligence, consult with an experienced Maryland birth injury attorney today.
At Bennett & Heyman, we are dedicated to providing our clients with the legal representation need to stand against a negligent medical practitioner. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your claim, contact Bennett & Heyman at (410) 429-7856. You may also contact the firm online.
What is Infant Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy
Infant hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a brain injury that is caused when an infant’s circulation of oxygen to the brain is cut off. HIE is especially dangerous because a child may develop permanent brain damage if flow to their brain is impacted for too long.
A child that experiences HIE can exhibit a number of symptoms. For example, if a child has a low heart rate, this may be indicative of HIE. Other signs and symptoms of HIE include:
- Labored breathing or lack of breathing
- Skin that appears blue or pale
- Decreased muscle tone
- High levels of acid in the child’s blood
This is not an exhaustive list. If a child has experienced HIE, they could be affected in many ways. For example, children suffering from the effects of HIE could have motor skill issues, epilepsy, and could even miss critical developmental milestones.
To learn more about the common causes of HIE, you should continue reading and speak with an experienced Maryland HIE injury attorney today.
Common Causes of HIE
An infant may experience HIE due to several circumstances. While some cases of HIE may occur without any person being at fault, other instances of HIE may occur due to medical malpractice. The following is a list of common causes of HIE in Maryland that may lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit.
A child can easily be asphyxiated during birth if their umbilical cord becomes wrapped around their neck, also referred to as a nuchal cord. Nuchal cords can be separated into two categories:
- Type A Nuchal Cord – When the umbilical cord is wrapped around a baby’s neck in 360 degrees, but the child can break free with sufficient movement
- Type B Nuchal Cord – The baby’s umbilical cord gets turned into a true knot that cannot be untangled as the child moves around
Doctors should be aware when a child has a nuchal cord so they can formulate a plan to handle the delivery. If a doctor believes that a nuchal cord could asphyxiate a child during labor, they should inform a mother that a cesarean section or other means would be safer for the baby.
A breech birth is when a child that is close to birth does not move into a head-first position for delivery. Instead, the child may place their feet or buttocks to the entrance of the birth canal. As a result, a child may have their head stuck in the birth canal for an excessive amount of time, which may cause brain damage. Asphyxiation is another possible outcome of a breech birth.
To deal with a breech birth, a doctor may perform an external version. An external version is a noninvasive procedure where a doctor attempts to rotate a child in the womb so they can face the birth canal. Another option is for a mother to have a cesarean section to avoid having their child experience HIE during delivery. If a doctor does not apprise a patient of the risks of a breech birth, they could be liable for medical malpractice.
Throughout a pregnancy, a doctor should continuously be checking on the health of a mother that is expecting a child. Frequent check-ups are essential in order to treat any complications that may arise. For example, some infections could cause a child to experience HIE. If a doctor fails to diagnose an infection that may affect the mother and the child, he could be liable if the baby is seriously injured.
Damages for a Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for Infant Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy
If a plaintiff prevails in a medical malpractice lawsuit against a negligent doctor or hospital in Maryland, they can be awarded damages by the court. Compensatory damages are typically broken into two categories: economic damages and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages are awarded for financial losses that a plaintiff can easily quantify. For example, the cost of medical expenses can be readily identified by a plaintiff. Noneconomic damages are for losses that cannot be measured or quantified. For example, the emotional distress suffered by a victim can be used to seek noneconomic damages. Other examples of economic and noneconomic damages include:
- Costs of medication
- Loss of wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
In some cases, a plaintiff can be awarded punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded when a defendant is proven to have committed a grossly negligent act.
Contact an Experienced Maryland Lawyer for Infant Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy
If your child was diagnosed with HIE due to medical malpractice, contact an experienced Maryland birth injury lawyer today. The medical malpractice lawyers at Bennett & Heyman possess decades of combined legal experience, and we would be honored to use our legal knowledge to represent you. You do not have to fight your medical malpractice case alone, contact Bennett & Heyman at (410) 429-7856 for a free legal consultation.