Hypothermia Therapy

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Indianapolis Hypothermia Therapy Attorneys

Neonatal Brain Cooling Error Lawyers in Indiana

When an infant is born with signs of a brain-related birth injury like hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), hypothermia therapy – also called brain cooling, cooling therapy, and neonatal therapeutic hypothermia – may help reduce the impact and permanency of the brain injury. If hypothermia therapy should have been used but wasn’t, and the newborn’s injury or condition was worsened, it could constitute medical malpractice. If this situation has happened to your child or your child was born with a brain injury that required brain cooling therapy, you should already be considering what legal action you can use to stand up for the rights of your child.

The Cline Law Firm, LLC in Indianapolis has a team of highly experienced birth injury lawyers ready to help the moment your family needs it. Using our insight and the expertise of trusted medical professionals who can provide detailed testimonies, we can see if you can file a medical malpractice claim after your child was born with an injury, including those related to hypothermia therapy. Trust us to handle your claim or lawsuit, so you can stay focused on taking care of your child. 

Call (317) 526-4467 or contact us online to arrange a consultation with an Indianapolis neonatal brain cooling lawsuit attorney today. 

What is Hypothermia Therapy (Neonatal Cooling)?

Hypothermia therapy or neonatal cooling is a medical treatment used to rapidly cool down the body’s core temperature and keep it at that lower temperature for the duration of the treatment. Although it might seem unusual to deliberately drop a newborn’s body temperature, this method has been proven to help prevent injuries, especially brain injuries, from worsening and to allow the healing process to begin.

Hypothermia therapy is usually administered in one of two ways:

  1. Selective head cooling (SHC): If the newborn’s target temperature for treatment is between 93.2 degrees and 95 degrees Fahrenheit, selective head cooling will likely be used. A specialized cooling cap will be placed on the baby’s head, only to be temporarily removed every 12 hours or so to check the brain injury’s progression. SHC helps to cool the cortical region of the brain.
  2. Whole-body cooling (WBC): If the newborn’s target temperature for treatment is between 91.4 degrees and 93.1 degrees Fahrenheit, whole-body cooling could be used. The baby will be placed under a specialized blanket that circulates cooled water. WBC helps to cool all brain structures, including structures in the central brain.

Both forms of neonatal cooling should be conducted for around 72 hours or 3 days. When the treatment is concluded, the newborn’s body temperature will be allowed to gradually rise by about 1 degree Fahrenheit an hour, so the warming period can take 4 to 6 hours.

How Does Hypothermia Therapy Work?

According to studies recognized by the National Library of Science, the “death” of a neuron can occur when hypoxia or a lack of adequate blood oxygen causes cellular damage that interferes with the transfer of energy. As hypoxia worsens, the injury can worsen within a few hours as damage is caused by mitochondrial failure, nitric oxide synthesis, cytotoxic actions of microglia, and free radical injuries. Hypothermia therapy has been proven to slow these secondary forms of neuronal damage when it is applied soon after the brain injury is first noticed. The colder a cell is, the slower it can complete different processes, which include negative processes that exasperate injuries and damage. When doctors cool a baby, the baby’s brain slows down all processes, reducing further injury and encouraging healing.

Where is Hypothermia Therapy Provided?

Typically, neonatal therapeutic hypothermia is administered within the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of a hospital. Children’s hospitals tend to have more equipment to provide newborns with hypothermia treatments than standard hospitals, too.

Was your child injured due to a lack of hypothermia therapy at a children’s hospital or within a NICU? We have the experience and resources needed to confidently file claims against such medical institutions and even bring them to court when necessary. 

When Should Hypothermia Therapy Be Used for My Baby?

Neonatal brain cooling is usually used in these medical situations:

  • Baby was born prematurely with a minimum of 36 weeks of gestation.
  • Newborn is showing significant signs of brain damage.
  • Newborn has been diagnosed with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.
  • Pregnancy or delivery included risks of infant brain injuries.

If the above medical situations applied to your newborn but brain cooling therapy was not administered, it could be a form of medical malpractice. Not sure if your child should have received hypothermia therapy? Our Indianapolis hypothermia therapy lawyers can work with medical experts to determine if it should have been, so there’s no guesswork in your case.

How Do Doctors Decide If a Baby Is Eligible for Therapeutic Hypothermia?

Therapeutic hypothermia is a serious medical treatment that should only be used when appropriate. Doctors need to decide if a newborn is eligible for the treatment on a case-by-case basis. Usually, only newborns with signs of brain damage or HIE should undergo brain-cooling therapy or whole-body cooling therapy.

If your baby was not eligible for therapeutic hypothermia but was given this treatment, it could be a form of medical malpractice if your child suffered an injury or health complication as a result. We can help you determine and understand your rights based on how your child’s health and well-being were impacted by a medical provider’s mistakes.

What is a Hypothermia Therapy Error?

A hypothermia therapy error can occur in many different ways, depending on what the medical professional did incorrectly.

Some of the most common forms of medical errors related to neonatal hypothermia therapy are:

  • Waiting too long to administer hypothermia therapy.
  • Not administering hypothermia therapy for long enough, resulting in the worsening of the brain injury.
  • Administering whole-body cooling when selective head cooling should have been used, and the other way around.
  • Administering hypothermia therapy for too long, resulting in new health complications.
  • Administering hypothermia therapy when it was not necessary or safe.

A neonatal hypothermia therapy error can constitute medical malpractice if it reasonably never should have happened in the first place. If another medical professional reasonably would not made the same mistake while administering neonatal hypothermia treatments, an injury claim or lawsuit against the medical provider that did make the mistake could be justified. Let us investigate your child’s injuries and treatments to see if you can take legal action.

Talk to Our Birth Injury Attorneys Now

You and your child could be owed justice and compensation after medical malpractice resulted in a birth injury related to neonatal hypothermia therapy errors or harm that could have been prevented if neonatal hypothermia therapy was used correctly. Learn your rights and options by reaching out to The Cline Law Firm, LLC in Indianapolis today. We can help you through your case from start to finish. Even if your case heads to court for trial, we’ll be ready to stand up for you and your child’s future.

Learn more today by dialing (317) 526-4467 and asking for a FREE case consultation.

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