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Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

Upstate New York Lawyers Assisting Victims of Medical Malpractice

Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is a brain injury that infants may suffer as a result of significant oxygen deprivation. It can result in motor or cognitive impairments or developmental delays. Forty to sixty percent of infants with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy die by the time that they are two years old or suffer severe disabilities. If you suspect that your baby’s hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy was caused by your health care provider’s medical malpractice, you should consult the Upstate New York birth injury lawyers at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano. Birth injury cases are complicated. They should be handled by attorneys who have experience pursuing damages. Our tenacious attorneys may be able to represent you. We have assisted many families in the areas around Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, and Albany.

Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

An infant can compensate for brief periods of decreased oxygen, but when deprivation lasts for too long, and the baby experiences asphyxia, tissues in the brain may be destroyed. The impact of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is determined by the area of the brain that is damaged. If the brain stem is damaged, respiration, blood pressure, and heartbeat may be troubled. If the cerebellum is damaged, a baby may have problems with motor control, movement, attention, and language. If the cerebrum is damaged, a baby’s memory, movement, reasoning, judgment, and perception can be adversely affected.

Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is a significant cause of disability or death among infants. It can result in serious impairments, such as epilepsy, cognitive impairments, or neurodevelopmental delays. Often, it is not clear how severe the disability is until a child is three or four. The length of oxygen deprivation to the affected part or parts of the brain will affect the severity of a child’s hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.


When a health care provider’s professional negligence causes asphyxia that leads to hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, it may be possible to recover damages through a birth injury lawsuit. Your attorney will need to prove that the defendant owed the baby a professional duty of care, the defendant departed from the professional standard, the departure caused your baby’s hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, and actual damages resulted.

In most cases, it is necessary to retain an expert to opine on what the accepted medical practices among other health care providers in the same specialty and geographic location are, whether your doctor departed from them, and whether the departure, rather than another event, caused hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. In other words, the professional standard of care in your case will likely depend on accepted medical practices of reasonably prudent obstetrician-gynecologists in Upstate New York when faced with similar circumstances.

A health care provider may breach the professional standard by failing to respond appropriately to acute maternal hypotension, labor and delivery stress, fetal distress, cardiac complications, poor lung development, umbilical complications, injury from cephalopelvic disproportion, prolapsed cord, intrapartum hemorrhage, impaired blood flow to the brain, placental abruption, cranium pressure, uterine rupture, or ruptured vasa previa. For example, if you suffer a severe placental abruption late in your delivery, your provider may need to immediately deliver the baby; a failure to do so may be a breach of the professional standard of care.

Signs of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy after birth could include organ dysfunction or seizures. If doctors suspect hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, imaging should be conducted; MRIs, MR spectroscopy, and diffusion-weighted imaging may be needed to make a diagnosis and determine a course of treatment. Treatment may include physical or occupational therapies. To determine whether hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy was a result of medical malpractice, we will need to send your records to an expert.


Once liability for hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is established, you may be able to recover damages on behalf of your child. These damages are usually compensatory damages, meaning that they are supposed to return you to the position in which you would have been had there been no medical negligence, and therefore no injury. They can include tangible losses, such as past and future costs of medical interventions, medical equipment, medication, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. They can also include intangible losses like lost enjoyment of life and pain and suffering. In some cases, it is necessary to retain experts not only to establish liability but also to establish damages, such as the costs of medical care and how long that care will be needed.

Consult a Seasoned Upstate New York Attorney

When you see an obstetrician-gynecologist and their team for your pregnancy and labor and delivery, you trust that you will receive competent treatment. Unfortunately, health care providers sometimes make errors that cause serious birth injuries. If your baby developed hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy due to medical negligence in Upstate New York, you should contact the experienced birth injury attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano. Contact us at 833-200-2000 or via our online form.

Client Reviews
Mr. Falgiatano was very professional and did an incredible job when he worked with my family on our case. He met with us numerous times and was available when we called with questions. He explained the whole legal process to us and made sure we made the correct decision for my family! I could not thank Mr. Falgiatano enough and he is the only lawyer for my family! Jeff M.
Jeff Defrancisco and his team represented me after a bad fall while working on a construction site. They were always available to answer any and all questions and they genuinely cared regarding my health and were very sincere in helping me attain a settlement that far exceeded my expectations. My family and I received an amazing outcome and they are by far the best in the business. I highly recommend hiring their firm. Justin M.
I cannot thank DeFrancisco and Falgiatano enough! Charlie Falgiatano took my case and i couldn't have done it without him. I highly recommend this team of lawyers especially, Charlie. I will forever be grateful for him and because of him, all the time and effort he put into my case, my son can have a much easier life. Charlies understand, patient, kind, and one of the best people I know. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Katie C.