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Types of Birth Injuries: Brain Cooling

Birth Injury Attorneys Serving Long Island & New York

The time surrounding the birth of a baby is supposed to be a joyous time. However, when the baby is deprived of oxygen prior to delivery the results can be tragic. When an infant is cut off from its supply of oxygen while in the womb or during delivery, it can lead to a condition known as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).

Birth asphyxia occurs in approximately one in every 200 births.

Brain damage from HIE is caused by lowered oxygen levels, which both causes the brain to function without the necessary energy, and kills brain cells, and also decreases the output of the heart. HIE is a known cause of serious birth injuries, such as cerebral palsy and mental retardation. Over half of HIE victims die within the first few years.

In order to counteract HIE, brain cooling, or hypothermia, is now an established standard or care. By reducing the child’s temperature, the advancement of HIE can be slowed down and potentially reversed. A water-cooled cap or a fluid-filled blanket is placed on the child in order to reduce the brains temperature by a number of degrees – typically three or four degrees Celsius for three days. Not only does this slow the progress of HIE, but it can give the brain a chance to repair itself.

Contact qualified New York City birth injury lawyers!

As HIE progresses slowly over the first few hours, if the medical professionals act quickly enough, they can prevent the majority of the damage – in fact, studies have shown that the brain cooling must be initiated within six hours of the delivery to be truly effective. If utilized, the baby will be cooled for 72 hours to slow their metabolic rate and slow or sometime even fully prevent the damage.

After, they will slowly be brought up to normal body temperature. Studies have shown that this technique has been effective in reducing cerebral palsy by half.

If a doctor or hospital failed in their responsibility to make the necessary decisions regarding treatment of HIE, they could be held accountable for any birth injury that occurred as a result. A Long Island medical malpractice lawyer from The Law Offices of Joseph Lichtenstein, PC could review your case and determine whether medical malpractice was a factor in your child’s suffering. To find out more, call the firm at to talk to experienced birth injury lawyers in the Bronx area or visit our contact us page, today!

We also serve other areas of New York City including communities in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Westchester, and Long Island, as well as Suffolk County, and Nassau County.