Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy

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Indianapolis Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy Attorney

Was Your Child Born with HIE Due to Medical Negligence?

If your child was born with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) due to negligence before, during, or after childbirth, you may be entitled to compensation.

Under Indiana law, victims who suffer preventable injuries have the right to take legal action. In cases involving preventable birth injuries like HIE, for example, families can pursue civil medical malpractice claims to hold negligent healthcare providers responsible for failures to meet accepted standards of care and liable for resulting damages.

The Cline Law Firm, LLC is an award-winning trial practice known nationally for litigating complex medical malpractice and birth injury cases. We’re backed by decades of experience, boast a record that includes millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements, and are led by Attorney Lance D. Cline, one of only two Indiana lawyers invited into the prestigious Inner Circle of Advocates, the nation’s most exclusive group of plaintiffs’ trial attorneys. When Indiana families have cases they can’t afford to lose, we’re the firm they trust. 

Learn more about your rights and options during a FREE consultation with an Indianapolis HIE attorney from our team. Call (317) 526-4467 or contact us online today.

What is Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy?

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a serious neurological condition that occurs when there is a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the brain, particularly during birth. This condition can lead to brain damage, long-term neurological complications, and lifelong disabilities.

HIE typically occurs during childbirth when there are complications that interfere with the baby's oxygen supply. These complications may include, among others, umbilical cord issues (cord compression or prolapse) that restrict oxygen supply, placental complications (abruption or placenta previa) that disrupt oxygenated blood flow, prolonged labor, and maternal factors such as low blood pressure.

HIE can also be caused by the acts or inaction of medical professionals who fail to meet the standard of care before, during, or after childbirth. 

How Negligence Can Cause HIE

While some complications leading to HIE cannot be prevented, many cases are the result of preventable medical errors and negligence. For example:

  1. Failure to monitor fetal distress signs: Healthcare providers must carefully monitor fetal heart rate and other signs of distress during labor. Failure to recognize and respond to signs of fetal distress, such as abnormal heart rate patterns, can result in prolonged oxygen deprivation and HIE.
  2. Delayed or improper delivery: In cases where complications arise, such as umbilical cord compression or placental abruption, timely intervention is critical. Failure to promptly deliver the baby, either through emergency cesarean section or other appropriate measures, can lead to prolonged oxygen deprivation and HIE.
  3. Mismanagement of labor and delivery: Medical professionals must follow established protocols and guidelines during labor and delivery to ensure the safety of both the mother and the baby. Deviating from these standards of care, such as using excessive force during delivery or administering improper medications, can increase the risk of HIE.
  4. Improper Use of Labor-Inducing Drugs: Labor-inducing drugs, such as Pitocin, are not without their risks, which is why providers must provide acceptable care to determine when administering these medications is appropriate and to monitor babies as labor progresses. Failures involving these drugs can result in complications that lead to oxygen deprivation.

In cases where medical negligence contributes to HIE, victims have the right to pursue legal action against the responsible parties. An experienced Indianapolis HIE injury attorney from our firm can review the circumstances surrounding your child’s birth to determine if you have a case.

Common Disabilities Caused By HIE

Babies born with HIE can experience a range of symptoms depending on the severity and length of oxygen deprivation, as well as the quality and timeliness of medical interventions taken after the oxygen-depriving event. Common symptoms include seizures, feeding difficulties, weakness or poor muscle tone, breathing difficulties, and lethargy. 

In the most serious cases, HIE can result in severe brain damage and considerable physical and mental disabilities. Some of these include:

  • Cerebral palsy, a group of movement disorders caused by damage to the brain.
  • Developmental delays, including cognitive and motor skill delays.
  • Epilepsy, a condition involving recurring seizures due to abnormal brain activity.
  • Vision or hearing impairments resulting from brain damage.
  • Behavioral or emotional issues such as ADHD or anxiety disorders.

Living With HIE: Long-Term Effects 

The long-term effects of HIE can be profound, affecting not only the child but also their family and caregivers. These effects may include:

  • Financial strain due to costs of medical treatments, therapies, and ongoing care, as well as lost income caused by parents missing work or leaving the workforce to care for their child.
  • Emotional suffering and anguish suffered by parents and siblings coping with the child’s disabilities, and by the child themselves as they grow and learn to live with limitations.
  • Educational challenges involved in navigating special education services and accommodations.
  • Physical limitations that impact the child's ability to participate in daily activities.

Navigating these long-term effects requires substantial support and resources, which can become quite costly over time. If you suspect that your child’s HIE could and should have been prevented, it’s worth exploring your options for pursuing legal action that allows you to recover financial compensation for these losses. 

Compensation in Indiana HIE Claims

When medical negligence causes preventable harm to a child, victims have the right to file medical malpractice claims against the responsible parties. 

In Indiana, the term “medical negligence” refers to the failure of a healthcare provider to provide a standard level of care – which means that they failed to act in the manner a reasonably competent healthcare professional with similar training and experience would be expected to act under similar circumstances. In cases involving preventable HIE, this could mean failing to properly monitor fetal distress signs, timely intervene to address complications, or properly adhere to established protocols during labor and delivery.

When successful, medical malpractice claims give victims and families affected by HIE a chance to recover a broad scope of compensation. This can include compensation for:

  • Medical expenses, including the cost of past and future medical treatments, therapies, and assistive devices.
  • Lost wages for parents who must take time off work to care for their injured child.
  • Pain and suffering, both physical and emotional, caused by the injury.
  • Future care costs, including ongoing medical treatments, therapy, and support services for the child's disabilities.

Our Indianapolis HIE attorneys at The Cline Law Firm, LLC know that this condition comes with a lifetime of costs and consequences. We can help you learn more about your rights, the damages to which you may be entitled, and what we can do to help during a FREE consultation. 

Why You Should Work with an Experienced HIE Lawyer

Birth injury lawsuits are some of the most complex types of cases in the civil justice system. They deal with profound injuries affecting newborns and an incredible amount of emotions, concern highly technical issues of law and medicine, and are commonly defended against aggressively by medical malpractice insurance carriers and medical institutions that view these high-value cases as threats to their bottom lines.

Given the challenges inherent to these cases – and the importance of securing compensation that will allow families to care for and support their children as they grow – it is simply invaluable to have the right legal counsel by your side.

At The Cline Law Firm, LLC, we’ve devoted our practice to handling complex and consequential cases like HIE birth injury lawsuits. Led by one of the nation’s most respected plaintiffs’ advocates and backed by decades of experience, we know how to support our clients through every step of their legal journeys. This includes providing support to:

  • Evaluate the merits of potential claims and your right to legal action.
  • Conduct independent investigations and consult with relevant experts who help us prove claims, establish negligence and liability, and illustrate your damages.
  • Construct and submit compelling complaints for review by the Indiana Department of Insurance to preserve your right to file a claim. 
  • Handle communications with insurers and defendants and key court processes such as discovery, depositions, motions, and more.
  • Negotiate out-of-court settlements that reflect the severity of your losses – including losses you’ve already suffered and losses you’re likely to suffer in the future.
  • Litigate at trial when defendants dispute claims or refuse to offer what you deserve. 

Speak with an Indianapolis HIE Attorney Today:

The Cline Law Firm, LLC has been trusted to handle all types of birth injury and medical malpractice claims and proudly serves families across Marion County and beyond from our office in Carmel. As our case results show, we know how to effectively advocate for clients who’ve suffered tragic harms and consequences and how to secure the top-dollar results they deserve.

If you have questions about an HIE lawsuit in Indianapolis or anywhere else in the state of Indiana, we’re here to help. Contact us today for a FREE consultation.

Millions of Dollars Recovered For Our Clients

Real Results

The Cline Law Firm, LLC exists for the sole purpose of listening to and advocating for individuals and families who have sustained great harm and losses as a result of the negligent, intentional, or other wrongful conduct of others. It is the sole type of legal work that attorney Lance D. Cline has done during his 40-year legal career. Every lawyer and employee of our team is solely and fully dedicated to helping victims of such conduct in our society.

  • $5,634,669 Verdict for a Wrongful Death Caused by Pneumonia

    Lance D. Cline obtained a jury verdict of $5,634,669.84 for the wrongful death of a fifty-two-year-old Indian female married to a sixty-four-year-old Indian male at the time of her death. The couple had no children. The decedent developed MRSA pneumonia, a rare form of pneumonia.

  • $4,100,000 Verdict for Birth-Related Brachial Plexus Nerve Injuries

    Lance D. Cline tried this case to a jury in 2012. The plaintiff was a minor male who sustained injuries to brachial plexus nerves in his right arm at the time of his birth. A shoulder dystocia occurred during the vaginal delivery.

  • $3,500,000 Verdict for a Brachial Plexus Nerve Injury During Shoulder Replacement Surgery

    Lance D. Cline tried this lawsuit to a jury in a conservative, northern Indiana county in 2018. The sixty-five-year-old plaintiff had a history of multiple dislocations in his left shoulder between the ages of fourteen and twenty-five that led to the performance of a Magnuson-Stack procedure upon his left shoulder at the age of twenty-five that prevented further dislocations.

  • $1,285,000 Verdict For a Minor Who Sustained Permanent Brachial Plexus Nerve Injuries at Birth

    Lance Cline presented expert witness testimony from two board-certified obstetricians and a biomechanical engineer with expertise and knowledge regarding physician-applied forces during child delivery. The Defendant made no offer of settlement before the trial. The jury deliberated for ninety minutes before ignoring the medical review panel opinion and returning a verdict in favor of the client in the amount of $1,285,000. That was a record verdict in the county where the case was tried.

Award-Winning Representation of Injured People

Nationally Recognized, Locally Focused

  • The Inner Circle of Advocates
    The Inner Circle of Advocates
    Founding member, Lance D. Cline, is one of only two Indiana lawyers ever invited into this most prestigious and selective organization of plaintiff trial attorneys.
  • Best Lawyers
    Best Lawyers
    Lance D. Cline has been voted by his peers as a Best Lawyer in America in the fields of medical malpractice and personal injury every year since 1997, as the Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Lawyer of the Year three times and as the Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year in 2019.
  • Super Lawyers®
    Super Lawyers®
    Lance D. Cline has been selected by his peers as an Indiana Super Lawyer and as one of Indiana's Top 50 Lawyers since the inception of the award in 2004. He has also been selected as one of Indiana's Top 10 Lawyers in 2018, 2019, and 2020.
  • Indiana Trial Lawyers Association
    Indiana Trial Lawyers Association
    Lance D. Cline has been a member of ITLA's Board of Directors since 1984 and was selected by his ITLA peers as the Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2018.
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