Maria and Emma’s HIE Story
Maria’s pregnancy was perfectly normal, and she experienced no complications or issues until her contractions began.
Maria* felt that she was going into labor and called her obstetrician. Her OB told her that she was not going into labor yet, but an hour later, when she still felt contractions and pain, she decided to go to the hospital anyway, against the judgment of her doctor. Could this possibly be medical malpractice happening??
At the hospital, doctors placed a fetal heart monitor on her stomach, a device which evaluates the baby’s heart rate.
A normal fetal heart rate is between 120 to 160 beats per minute (bpm). A fetal heart rate of less than 120 bpm for more than 10 minutes indicates fetal bradycardia.
This was the case for Maria and her daughter.
With such a low heart rate, the hospital doctors should have immediately known something was horribly wrong.
A well trained OB/GYN is familiar with HIE and other birth injuries that can occur from complications with delivery.
In cases like this, an attentive doctor would begin what is known as fetal resuscitative measures, including giving IV fluids, oxygen by face mask and changing the baby’s position.
All of these techniques are designed to improve oxygen flow for the baby.
None of these techniques were performed for Maria’s child.
Nor was a c-section timely called or performed. As such, the baby’s heart rate remained low for approximately one hour.
The infant brain cannot go for such a long period of time without oxygen. As a result, Maria’s child suffered severe brain damage due to hypoxia.
Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)
Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is caused when the brain does not get enough oxygen (known as hypoxia) and the brain is damaged as a result.
HIE is an extremely dangerous condition, requiring immediate intervention at the first signs of oxygen loss. The condition affects 20 out of every 1000 full-term births, and about 60% of all premature live births.
HIE is the leading cause of infant mortality and the leading cause of severe impairments during infancy, such as cerebral palsy or quadriplegia.
Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is a condition with which OB/GYNs should be very familiar. Damages that result from severe loss of oxygen are permanent as well as costly.
Handling HIE Diagnosis
Maria knew something was wrong from the start, and like any good parent, she wanted answers. An MRI was performed, and came back showing HIE.
Doctors informed her after the delivery that her daughter’s heart rate dropped due to a placental abruption.
The placenta provides food, nutrients and oxygen from the mother to the baby. When the placenta dislodges from the mother, it is called a placental abruption, which means that the baby is not getting adequate oxygen.
Physicians and medical staff are trained that when the fetal heart rate is low, it is to be treated with fetal resuscitative measures and that they should suspect a number of conditions, including placental abruption.
So if doctors and medical staff are trained for scenarios just like Maria’s, why was nothing done? It’s infuriating, to say the least.
Maria’s daughter will struggle her entire life from the consequences of this inaction.
Maria will need to pay for countless medical treatments and physical therapy sessions. Her daughter may never become independent, and Maria must plan for the future.
How can she afford to take the time away from work to care for her child?
Can she afford a nanny or day care professional that is trained for children with special needs?
How much will all of this cost? Will she have enough savings to assure Emma will be looked after when she is gone?
Maria decided to take action to make sure that her daughter would receive the medical care and treatment that she will need for the result of her life.
She contacted Merson Law and we filed a medical malpractice lawsuit on behalf of Maria, the mother of a baby girl who suffers from cerebral palsy and quadriplegia due to hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) when she was born.
Living with HIE
In this case, the injuries are obvious. Sadly, Maria’s daughter, Emma, cannot walk or talk. Emma suffers from frequent seizures to this day.
These are classic signs of severe cerebral palsy due to hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.
The cost of conditions like cerebral palsy and HIE are tremendous.
This is why when a birth injury like HIE occurs, it is crucial you call an experienced medical malpractice and birth injury lawyer like Merson Law.
Merson Law has litigated many birth injury cases. We understand the pain and suffering birth injuries cause, and we seek to do what we can to alleviate at least some of your pain and suffering.
The statute of limitations in birth injury cases is ten years from the date of birth. However, there are exceptions to this rule.
If your baby was born in or if you had medical care provided by any government institutions, like the City, County or the State of New York, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of malpractice.
If your child cannot walk, talk, speak, suffers from seizures, or has a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, the circumstances of his or her birth should be thoroughly investigated immediately.
But in some cases you can do so up to ten years later.
If you need help or you know of somebody that has suffered like Maria and her baby have, you need to contact Merson Law now and possibly pursue a medical malpractice claim.
Remember, Merson Law only collects money if we win your case. You and your baby have suffered enough already through this birth injury, let us help you get the money you deserve.
*All names used in this story have been replaced to ensure privacy for our clientele.