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HIE Lawyer: Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy

HIE Medical Malpractice

HIE Lawyer: Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy

Hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy refers to a type of brain damage in infants that occurs as a result of a lack of oxygen at the time of birth. Cases of HIE can range from mild to severe. It can cause minor or major neurological complications and, in some cases, even death.

While hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy is a direct result of a lack of oxygen supply to the brain, there can be a range of causes for it, with negligent medical care being one of them. If you believe there has been a breach in the duty of care that led to your child suffering from a lack of oxygen, our HIE birth injury lawyers could help.


To speak to one of our experienced team, with no obligation to proceed, call us on 0330 100 1014 or:

Contact us online >



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Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy Claims

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What is hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy?

Hypoxic brain injury happens when a baby doesn’t have enough oxygen or blood flow to its brain. It occurs either during delivery or shortly after birth and affects around one in 1,000 babies every year in the UK. It is also referred to as neonatal hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy and birth asphyxia.

HIE can present with mild, moderate or severe consequences. More serious cases can cause long-term neurological damage, disability and, unfortunately, death in some infants. Lasting effects of hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy brain injury can include cerebral palsy, behavioural difficulties, epilepsy, problems communicating and sensory issues.

Symptoms of hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy

The signs of hypoxic ischaemic brain injury in infants are usually seen shortly after birth. These can include:

  • Reduced or increased levels of awareness
  • Irritability
  • Seizures
  • Pauses during breathing
  • Increased floppiness or stiffness

What causes hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy?

Problems during delivery and birth can cause hypoxic ischaemic injury. Factors that could contribute include:

  • Abnormally long labour
  • The infant’s shoulders becoming stuck
  • Uterine tearing
  • Placental abruption

While most cases are unpreventable, in some instances a failure in a medical professional’s duty of care can result in hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy. Delivery should be monitored and managed appropriately by the medical team to reduce any risk factors in the event of labour complications. If the maternity team failed to act accordingly, or HIE medical malpractice played a part in the severity of your baby’s condition, then you could make a claim.

To find out how we can help you and your family, call us on 0330 100 1014 or
Contact us online >

Can hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy be treated?

Mild cases of hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy in a newborn generally improve without intervention. If HIE is more severe and there is a risk of long-term brain damage, the medical team might suggest a treatment called cooling.

This involves a cooling mattress which is used over a period of three days to lower the baby’s temperature to reduce the risk of long-term disability. During this time, the infant’s vital statistics are monitored and any necessary medication is administered.

Making a claim for HIE medical malpractice

Finding out your child has suffered a hypoxic ischemic brain injury can be a devastating experience, even more so if you discover that it could have been prevented. We understand how difficult it can be to come to terms with this type of diagnosis and to have to face the consequences, especially if there is long-lasting damage or, sadly, a loss of life.

Our empathetic team can help you decide whether to make a HIE medical malpractice claim. Your initial chat with us is free and there is no obligation to make a claim if you feel it’s not the right way forward for you or your family.

Can I make a claim for hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy?

You might be able to make a claim if your infant has suffered a hypoxic ischaemic brain injury due to a breach of duty of care either during delivery or shortly after birth. If you’re unsure about the circumstances surrounding a birth injury, our team can discuss your experience with you and help get your questions answered.

Call us today on 0330 100 1014 or fill in our online form and one of our team will get back to you.

Why should I make a HIE malpractice claim?

Ultimately, the decision to make a claim is down to you and your family and what feels right for you. But some factors you might want to take into consideration are:

  • Compensation can help cover related costs: If your child has a long-term disability due to hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy, compensation can help pay for additional costs such as home modifications, any required physical therapy or language therapy. It can also help cover any loss of income your family has suffered.
  • Making a claim can help you move forward: While claiming compensation won’t diminish your suffering or make you forget the experience, it can go some way in helping you and your family move forward with your lives.
  • Receiving a settlement can highlight areas of concern: Identifying the mistakes made due to a lack of duty of care can help ensure they don’t happen again.

Does it cost to make a claim for hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy?

Your initial chat with us is free. If you choose to go ahead with your claim, you will usually do so under a ‘no win no fee’ agreement, meaning you won’t pay anything unless your claim is successful. If you do receive a settlement, you will pay us a pre-agreed percentage of that amount.

How much compensation could I receive for hypoxic brain injury at birth?

It’s natural to want to know how much you could get in the way of compensation, especially when dealing with such a traumatic experience. As each HIE case is different and circumstances can vary greatly, though, we can’t say exactly how much you could receive before we talk to you about your particular experience.

The amount you receive is calculated as general and special damages, relating to the impact the suffering has had on your family’s lives.

  • General damages: Compensation awarded is based on the pain, suffering and injuries endured as well as the impact on lives.
  • Special damages: This aspect of compensation relates to extra costs incurred such as loss of income and additional care costs.

To ensure any compensation payments are in line with established amounts, the Judicial College Guidelines are used as a reference.

Why choose Freeths to help you seek compensation?

We realise how difficult it can be to make the decision to start the claims process, especially if you’re still suffering from a devastating and traumatic experience. If you do wish to proceed with a claim for HIE medical malpractice, though, you’ll want to know you can rely on your HIE birth injury lawyers.

If you choose to seek support from Freeths, you can expect:

  • A free initial chat to discuss your case with no pressure to continue.
  • A home visit if that suits you and your circumstances, as well as access to our 13 UK office locations for your convenience.
  • A personalised service every step of the way and a team of experts who will keep you updated at each stage of the claims process.
  • High-quality service from a well-respected company ranked by The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners.
  • Three lawyers who are members of the AvMA Panel as well as three Law Society accredited lawyers.
  • A professional team of HIE lawyers specialising in brain injuries at birth to help and support you with your claim.

Take a look at our wealth of awards and accreditations that showcase our commitment to providing customer-focused solutions.

Contact our HIE lawyers

To speak to one of our hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy lawyers or to start the claims process, call us on 0330 100 1014 or
Contact us online >

Hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy claims FAQs

What examples of medical malpractice can result in HIE?

Individual circumstances can vary. Some examples of negligent care that can lead to hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy include failing to correctly monitor the mother or baby during delivery, incorrect use of medicines or delivery instruments, incorrect delivery technique or failure to act upon signs accordingly. However, this list is not exhaustive and there can be a range of other situations in which negligent care is to blame for a lack of oxygen to a baby’s brain.

How can I prove that was the cause of my baby's HIE?

Often, proving negligence can be challenging, especially in complex cases. Our team have a wealth of experience and expertise in dealing with birth injuries and maternity negligence. They will use this to gather evidence, alongside your own account of the events, to help provide proof of a failure of duty of care.

Who pays the compensation if my HIE birth injury claim is successful?

If you’re successfully awarded compensation, the funds won’t come directly out of the hospital trust’s budget. NHS Resolution is a dedicated body that deals with disputes and pays any claims compensation from its already-allocated budget, so you don’t need to worry about taking funds away from a specific hospital or maternity department.

Does the severity of hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy affect the amount of compensation I could receive?

The amount of compensation you could receive depends on factors such as the severity of the damage and any long-term effects, as well as the pain and suffering endured. More severe cases which result in disabilities are likely to be awarded higher amounts of compensation than mild cases, for example. However, every case is different and it’s difficult to predict exactly how much you could receive without knowing the full details of your circumstances.

When should I start a hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy claims process?

Usually, you will have three years from the date that the breach of duty of care occurred to make a claim. If you are claiming on behalf of a child, though, you have up until their 18th birthday to bring forward that claim – once they turn 18, that three-year period begins in which they may make a claim of their own. We recommend, however, that you start the process as soon as you feel ready, as it can become more difficult to remember important details as more time passes.

Contact our experts

We offer a free initial telephone call where we can discuss your case, a free first interview and even a home visit if you’d prefer. Get in touch on 0330 100 1014 or:

Contact us online >

Meet the team

HIE Lawyer: Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy Lawyers

Carolyn Lowe

Carolyn Lowe

0186 578 1019

Karen Reynolds

Karen Reynolds

0345 272 5677

Jane Williams

Jane Williams

0345 272 5724

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