Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Caused by a Failure to do a C-Section

October 31, 2022 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman

Healthcare professionals failing to handle the birth process correctly can be considered medical malpractice and can lead to poor health conditions for the mother and baby. One such example of medical malpractice during the birth process is a failure to do a cesarean section (c-section) at the right time, which can lead to hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). This type of brain dysfunction for your newborn can lead to heart disease, lung malformations, and fetal infections.

If a healthcare provider negligently delayed a c-section and caused HIE, you could file a medical malpractice claim to pursue compensation for your baby’s damages, such as medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. The medical malpractice attorneys at Dolman Law Group have years of experience holding healthcare professionals liable for negligence that leads to birth injuries and can help you too.

Why Choose Dolman Law Group for Your Medical Malpractice Claim?

At Dolman Law Group, we understand the stress of the aftermath of childbirth, especially if a mistake from the doctor led to a severe medical condition for your newborn. The medical malpractice lawyers at Dolman Law Group can help to ease the stress of a medical malpractice claim while you focus on the health of your newborn. Our medical malpractice lawyers can use our law firm’s extensive resources to hold the negligent medical practitioner accountable for their delaying a c-section that led to HIE.

Dolman Law Group’s medical malpractice lawyers put the thoughts and concerns of our clients above all else and keep in constant contact with clients to represent their interests correctly. Our personalized approach to legal counsel allows our medical malpractice attorneys to shape the medical malpractice claim process around the specifics of your case. Contact Dolman Law Group today for a free consultation to learn how our medical malpractice lawyers can help you pursue compensation to pay for the full cost of your damages.

Dolman Law Group Case Results

At Dolman Law Group, we have a proven track record of earning fair settlements and court awards for our clients to help pay for the full cost of their damages. We understand how an insurance company can attempt to limit your settlement through our experience processing medical malpractice claims. We can assess your damages to determine what losses you’ve already incurred and what losses you could incur down the line. Our medical malpractice lawyers will handle the claims process to maximize your potential settlement so that you can pay for the extensive economic and non-economic damages associated with HIE.

The following are some of the case results Dolman Law Group has earned for our clients:

What is Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy?

Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a brain dysfunction that can happen to a baby during childbirth that causes a shortage of oxygen and blood flow in the brain. An HIE during the birthing process can result from umbilical cord compression or a ruptured umbilical cord, both of which can result in decreased oxygen levels and blood flow and cause significant brain damage. 

With a baby’s brain still developing at this stage, a severe brain injury like HIE can cause catastrophic damage and result in cognitive functioning issues for the baby now and later on in life. An HIE can cause motor disability through cerebral palsy, lung or heart disease, infections, brain trauma, low blood pressure, or respiratory failure.

Hypoxia Ischemic Encephalopathy Symptoms

It’s vital to be able to identify symptoms of HIE immediately after the birth of your newborn so that they can receive medical treatment. The severity of the symptoms depends on what part of the brain was affected by HIE.

The following are some of the symptoms of hypoxia ischemic encephalopathy in a newborn:

  • Abnormal movements
  • Seizures
  • Unreactive to sights and sounds
  • Feeding problems resulting from weak muscles in the mouth and throat
  • Weak crying
  • Signs of organ dysfunction

HIE can result from medical errors by a doctor, including failing to do a c-section when the baby shows signs of distress during the birthing process. If your baby has HIE due to medical negligence, contact a medical malpractice attorney immediately to learn what your options are for pursuing compensation.

When Should a Doctor Perform a C-Section?

A cesarean section (c-section) is a way that a baby can be delivered that involves making an incision in the mother’s abdomen and uterus. This method of delivery is done over vaginal birth when it is the more optimal path if the baby or mother’s health is compromised.

In some cases, a surgical birth through a c-section is the only way to safely deliver a distressed. According to The American College of Obstetricians, a healthcare provider delivering a baby has thirty minutes between an emergency sign from the baby or the mother and when an incision for a c-section must be made. Waiting longer than this can lead to brain damage and other severe health consequences for the baby.

In certain situations, waiting as long as thirty minutes can be too long. For example, cases involving uterine rupture, placental disruption, or umbilical cord relapse can accelerate a baby’s oxygen deprivation. The doctor must move fast to begin the c-section or risk a severe birth injury, like an HIE. In these cases, commitment to a vaginal birth is negligent behavior that can serve as the basis of a medical malpractice claim.

Birthing Complications That Can Lead to Hypoxia Ischemic Encephalopathy

Babies can suffer birth injuries due to the medical negligence of a doctor. A healthcare professional should continually monitor and control a baby’s oxygen intake to determine whether there are emergency signs that require a c-section. There are certain risk factors in babies during the birthing process that can cause oxygen deprivation and would require a c-section to prevent a brain injury like HIE.

The following are some of the birthing complications that would require an emergency c-section:

  • Abnormal positioning or malpresentation
  • Umbilical cord wrapping around the baby’s neck
  • Compressed umbilical cord
  • Cephalopelvic disproportion (when the baby’s head is too large to pass through the mother’s pelvis)
  • Placental abruption (partial or complete separation of the placenta from the uterus)
  • Uterine rupture
  • Placenta previa (placenta covers the cervical opening)
  • Preeclampsia (high blood pressure and protein in the urine)
  • Shoulder dystocia (when the baby’s shoulder is stuck behind the mother’s pelvic bone)

Each of the above health complications can cause oxygen deprivation which leads to HIE. It’s vital for the healthcare professional responsible for the safe delivery of the baby to pay close attention to the baby’s oxygen levels and monitor their heart rate to determine whether a c-section is required. Delaying a c-section can cause hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and is considered medical negligence.

Is Delaying a C-Section Considered Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is when a healthcare professional fails their duty to keep a patient safe while under their supervision. Failing to do a c-section when a baby shows emergency signs of oxygen deprivation is a form of medical malpractice, as the doctor’s mistake led to brain damage causing an HIE.

In this case, a medical malpractice lawyer can help you file a medical malpractice claim to pursue compensation from the doctor’s insurance company. Their mistake and medical negligence led to severe health complications in the form of HIE, which can cause long-term catastrophic effects. Due to their medical negligence in failing to do a c-section at the appropriate time, the doctor could be liable for damages.

Pursuing Damages for HIE Medical Malpractice Damages

Damages are losses associated with medical malpractice that you or your baby can suffer now or in the future. In the case of HIE caused by a delayed c-section, your baby will require treatments with potentially expensive medical costs to help deal with HIE. 

Your baby can also suffer from severe long-term effects from hypoxia ischemic encephalopathy, including blindness, vision impairments, and motor issues. You can pursue compensation for lost earning potential, as your child will not have the ability to work due to health complications caused by the doctor's medical negligence.

The health complications that arise can also significantly negatively affect your child’s mental health. They may have a severe lack of self-esteem due to how their life is different from other kids their age. You can pursue compensation for how the doctor’s negligence negatively affected your child’s life through non-economic damages. Some non-economic damages you could pursue compensation for include mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, and loss of society.

How Can a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Help You With an HIE Delayed C-Section Claim?

While you could handle a medical malpractice claim independently, your inexperience with medical malpractice claims could lead to a mistake that could affect your ability to recover full compensation for damages. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help to avoid these mistakes and handle the claims process to maximize your potential compensation.

You just prove the doctor breached the standard of care, the acceptable industry standard for the level of care, skill, and treatment a doctor should provide, they owed you and your unborn child by not performing a c-section. A medical malpractice lawyer can help you collect evidence to prove they breached the standard of care through negligence and caused HIE as a result.

They can also help you assess damages, assign liability, interview expert witnesses, negotiate a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company, and represent you in court. With the help of an experienced medical malpractice attorney, you can put yourself in the best position to recover full compensation for damages caused to you and your child by a doctor’s medical negligence.

Contact Dolman Law Group for Help With Your Medical Malpractice Claim

The last thing you expect when you put your life and the life of your baby in the hands of a trained medical professional is for them to commit medical negligence and cause catastrophic damage. A doctor not performing a c-section can cause a hypoxia ischemic encephalopathy that can dramatically alter the course of your baby’s life. A medical malpractice attorney can help you hold that doctor accountable for their medical negligence.

At Dolman Law Group, our medical malpractice attorneys have worked with medical malpractice victims across the United States for over a decade. We understand the stress and suffering caused by medical malpractice and are here to listen to your story to craft a medical malpractice claim plan that considers your case's specifics. Let us use our vast medical malpractice claim experience, resources, and personalized legal counsel to help you recover compensation for the full cost of your baby’s HIE damages.

The medical malpractice attorneys at Dolman Law Group offer free consultations to give potential clients a feel for how our attorneys can help with their claims. Contact us today at (727) 451-6900 or leave a message on our online contact page.


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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