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01 Oct 2009

Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy & Michigan Birth Injury Lawyers

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Our Michigan birth injury lawyers handle cases involving Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy injuries.  This can be a very serious condition and can affect a child throughout his or her lifetime.  There are occasions in which this injury could have been prevented and this can give rise to a child birth injury medical malpractice lawsuit.

Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a medical condition in which damage is caused to the brain due to lack of both oxygen and blood flow to the brain.

Causes and Consequences of Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)

This medical condition often arises during birth. There are many factors that account for HIE such as uterine rupture, cord around baby’s neck, knot in umbilical cord, breech birth or other difficulties in birth. Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy can also be caused by stroke, hanging, drowning or any other activity that impedes the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. The irreversible damage can occur due to this condition within minutes.

The damage may also occur in utero. There are instances when the exact cause of HIE in newborns is not determined. Damage caused to the infants can range from very mild to severe. In order to determine the location and severity of the injury, various measures such as EEG, MRI and CAT scans are run.

Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy can also be caused due to cerebral palsy, dysphagia, mental retardation, cortical vision impairment, hearing impairment, temperature instability, microcephaly, seizures and chronic lung disease. Any child diagnosed with HIE has a bleak chance to live with full abilities. At the same time, every child found with the disabilities is unique in strengths and needs.

Treatment for Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Patients

There is no treatment for HIE. Various therapies aid in oral muscle development, muscle tone and control, and vision. Traditional therapies are also performed. These include:

  • Physical therapy, used for gross motor control
  • Occupational therapy, used for small muscle control
  • Speech and language therapy

Oral stimulation is another form of therapy that is performed by the SLT or the OT, depending on their qualifications.

There are some alternative therapies that are also used. However, the benefits of these therapies are still not proven. A very limited research exists on the internet or elsewhere about Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. As this condition is an underlying cause for so many other disabilities, it makes it quite difficult to determine the exact cause, and consequently the specialist who would treat the patient best. This makes it difficult for parents to properly address all the needs of their suffering infant.

Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy may affect a child socially, academically, and vocationally throughout childhood and even into adulthood.  The child may require physical therapy, medical procedures, and other services that can be a significant expense over the course of his or her lifetime.  These types of damage requests are included in a medical malpractice lawsuit filed for the condition of Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.

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