HIE Awareness Month: Raising Support for Birth Injury Victims
The Becker Law Firm has handled many complex claims in courtrooms across Ohio and beyond over preventable injuries – and we know those involving birth injuries like HIE are among the most devastating for victims and their families.
Because HIE is a life-altering injury, support is truly invaluable to families who face uncertain futures after their child is diagnosed. For this reason, April has been designated as a month of observance for HIE awareness – and our team at The Becker Law Firm is proud to show our support.
HIE Awareness Month 2020
HIE Awareness month is a global campaign coordinated by HOPE for HIE, a volunteer-run organization that’s grown from its humble beginnings on social media into a worldwide network serving thousands of parents and families in need of resources and guidance.
The theme for HIE Awareness Month 2020 is CHOOSE HOPE, and its success is driven by the many caring advocates and everyday folks who help spread HIE awareness, education, and the message of hope.
Amid uncertain times, hope is a something we can all get behind.
Learn how you can get involved, spread the word on social media, and show your support for HIE Awareness Month by visiting HOPE for HIE’s website.
Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is a type of brain injury that occurs when a baby’s brain is deprived of oxygen for an extended period of time.
Because HIE can result in severe and lasting deficits, obstetrical caregivers must be prepared to timely diagnose, treat, and manage oxygen deprivation during childbirth, as well as the various conditions which can put babies at risk for HIE, such as
- Cranial compression (head trauma)
- Delayed C-sections / failure to perform C-section
- Failure to treat preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and other risk-factors
- Failure to timely give prophylactics and/or treat infection
- Improper use of labor-inducing drugs
- Umbilical cord prolapse and cord compression / knots
- Uterine rupture, placental abruption
- Trauma during delivery (i.e. vacuum / forceps injuries, shoulder dystocia, etc.)
HIE Facts & Statistics
1. HIE stands for:
- Hypoxic (lack of oxygen);
- Ischemic (restricting blood blow);
- Encephalopathy (affecting the brain).
2. Roughly 3 out of every 1,000 babies born are diagnosed with HIE.
3. The effects of HIE:
- 75% - 80% survival rate
- 50% - 70% experience seizures
- 30% - 40% developmental disabilities
4. Other conditions HIE may cause:
- Cerebral palsy
- Vision / hearing loss
- Speech delays / feeding issues
- Intellectual impairment
Head cooling, or therapeutic hypothermia, is the most widely recognized treatment for reducing death and disability in babies who suffer HIE. Though head cooling is the only proven effective way to treat babies with HIE (by reducing body temperature through controlled cooling), there is ongoing research that could lead to changes, and more effective, targeted HIE treatment.
6. The Future of HIE Treatment
One recent study published in The Journal of Pediatrics offers insight into how providers may personalize head cooling therapy in the future by targeting and cooling specific regions of the brain.
Doctors at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles conducted the study using whole-body hypothermia and specialized MRI technology to measure the temperature of different areas of babies’ brains, confirming that the treatment effectively targets and cools the brain.
The doctors thought the center of the brain – that part usually the most impacted by HIE – would be the warmest, but they found that with whole body cooling, the center of the brain was actually the coolest. Doctors were able to measure the temperature of different parts of the brain without disrupting the cooling treatment and found that the brain did not have a uniform temperature, which is important because this can potentially allow for doctors to tailor cooling treatments for babies depending on the HIE injury:
“The outer portion of the brain is hit harder in about 20% of hypoxic patients,” says the lead researcher,“[s]o this study shows us how we could better serve individual babies.”
Help for HIE Victims & Their Families
Whether mild, moderate, or severe, an HIE diagnosis can strike fear upon parents – many of whom face concerns about the physical and emotional well-being of their child, their futures, and their ability to financially support the needs of the child as he or she grows and matures.
At The Becker Law Firm, we play an important part in the puzzle when we help families in the aftermath of medical malpractice by seeking justice and compensation for their losses – sending a message to all providers that the standard of care must be met to prevent these tragic injuries and improve outcomes when possible.
If you have a potential case, call (440) 252-4399 or complete an online case review form to speak with an attorney. Free and confidential consultations are available to clients throughout Ohio.