Skip to Content
Potter Law, LLC Potter Law, LLC

Birth Injury: What Is Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)?


Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, also known as Intrapartum Asphyxia, is one of the most common types of brain damage in babies. According to the World Health Organization, HIE is the fifth leading cause of death worldwide in children under five years of age.  HIE causes an astonishing 23% of neonatal deaths worldwide.

HIE is a condition that occurs when a baby’s brain does not receive enough oxygen in the womb. In many cases, HIE is the result of a birth injury caused by medical malpractice.

Children with HIE typically start showing symptoms right away, although the extent of their impairment usually cannot be determined until the child is 3-4 years old. Babies with HIE may have seizures in their first 24 hours of life. Organ dysfunction, particularly in the liver, blood, heart, lungs, and kidneys can also be a sign that a child has HIE. Babies exhibiting symptoms such as seizures, delays in development, difficulty speaking or moving muscles, hearing and vision problems, or delayed learning ability should be monitored closely. These symptoms are all potential signs of HIE.

Common factors that put babies at risk for HIE include:

  • Bleeding or hemorrhage in the womb
  • Mothers with sudden low blood pressure
  • Poorly managed high-risk pregnancy
  • Pressure on the baby’s skull that changes its shape
  • Stress during labor and delivery
  • Umbilical cord issues, including around the baby’s neck
  • Trauma from tools used during the delivery, such as forceps or suction
  • Uterine rupture

When medical professionals fail to take necessary precautions, diagnose a condition, or treat a condition that another doctor may have caught; the subsequent Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) diagnosis could be the result of medical malpractice.

Birth injuries can cause permanent damage. They can leave your child severely disabled, and your family with lifelong care responsibility. Our experienced team of birth injury attorneys can help your family determine if your child may have been a victim of medical malpractice. If your baby was harmed because of negligent medical care, you have the right to compensation. Contact Potter Law, LLC today to discuss your available options.