Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is the medical term for oxygen deprivation. It only affects two infants out of 1,000 births, but the condition can be fatal; one of five babies who suffer hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) at birth will die.
To reduce the risk of death, and brain damage that may result in cerebral palsy, hospitals continue searching for ways to treat babies who suffer from HIE during birth. One method, hypothermia treatment, has become quite popular.
Hypothermia treatment lowers the infant’s body temperature to 92.3 degrees for 72 hours after birth. When oxygen deprivation occurs, brain cells begin to die off, but this cooling helps prevent some of the cells from dying. It isn’t a miracle cure and cannot reverse harm already done, but hypothermia treatment can mitigate some of the brain damage caused by HIE.
Sadly, brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation is often the result of medical negligence. Failing to properly monitor an infant’s oxygen levels can allow the child to suffer unnecessary brain damage that an emergency c-section could prevent. If you believe that your child’s brain damage was caused by medical malpractice, contact an experienced Ohio birth injury attorney to discuss your options.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Hypothermia Cure: Cooling Infants To Battle Brain Damage,” Shirley S. Wang, April 8, 2013