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San Francisco Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) Attorney

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits for Preventable Brain Damage During Birth

Many risks of childbirth can be effectively managed when health care providers act with reasonable care and conform to accepted medical standards.

When medical professionals fail to act within the accepted standard of care during pregnancy and childbirth, however, they greatly increase the chance for life-altering birth injuries like HIE.

If your child suffered hypoxic brain injury or another form of infant brain damage because of substandard medical care, our San Francisco hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP can determine if you have grounds for legal action and explain what we can do to help.

Bostwick & Peterson, LLP: Proven Birth Injury Results

Bostwick & Peterson has earned national recognition representing victims of preventable birth injuries, including infant brain damage resulting in permanent disabilities and deficits. As leaders in birth injury litigation, we are trusted by clients and colleagues across the country, and have built a proven record of success:

  • Over $1 billion in compensation recovered for clients.
  • Record birth injury recoveries in California, Hawaii, Washington & Colorado.
  • Ranked by U.S. News – Best Lawyers®“Best Law Firms” as a Tier 1 Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury law firm.
  • Led by two of the nation’s most accomplished trial attorneys.

Call (888) 831-8448 to discuss your case during a FREE consultation.

HIE Birth Injury

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is an acquired brain injury – meaning it is not hereditary or congenital – that occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygenated blood.

  • Hypoxia is a condition involving inadequate oxygen supply.
  • Ischemia is inadequate blood supply.
  • Encephalopathy means affecting the brain.

Neonatal HIE is a medical emergency when it occurs during childbirth, as it can deprive a baby’s brain of oxygen and result in severe brain damage or death. HIE occurs in approximately two to three of every 1,000 births. Roughly 75% - 80% of babies survive HIE, 50% - 70% experience seizures, and 30% to 40% suffer developmental disabilities. It requires immediate medical intervention.

Did Malpractice Cause My Baby’s HIE?

Determining the underlying cause of your baby’s birth injury is critical to understanding whether you have a right to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit.

While ever case is unique, there is ample evidence to indicate that HIE can be caused by negligence before, during, or shortly after labor and delivery.

  • Before birth: Providers are obligated to treat pregnant mothers in a manner that conforms to accepted standards of their profession / specialty. Substandard care during pregnancy – such as failing to identify and timely treat risk factors or complications such as infection, placental rupture, or maternal high blood pressure – can increase risks of HIE.
  • During birth: Failures to meet the standard of care during labor and delivery can lead to oxygen deprivation and brain damage. Failing to monitor fetal heart rate and respond promptly to signs of fetal distress, deviating from accepted standard under specific circumstances (i.e. administering excessive Pitocin in unwarranted situations), or failing to perform a timely C-section are a few examples of negligence during labor and deliver that can lead to HIE.
  • After birth: When newborns suffer oxygen deprivation, the standard of care may require timely intervention and head cooling (therapeutic hypothermia), which has can significantly reduce the risks of lasting brain damage. Head cooling is the most effective and accepted treatment for HIE, but doctors must perform the therapy promptly in order to improve outcomes.

Assessing whether care provided during pregnancy, labor and delivery, or post-delivery rose to the level of medical negligence requires considerable investigation.

At Bostwick & Peterson, we work with medical experts and specialists who help us evaluate whether providers failed to act in a manner a reasonably skilled, knowledgeable, and careful provider would have acted, and how we can best demonstrate negligence as the cause of our clients’ injuries.

Compensation for HIE Victims

Birth injury lawsuits allow families to obtain financial compensation for their damages.

In cases involving HIE, which can cause long-term and life-long problems with vision or hearing, epilepsy, speech and feeding problems, cerebral palsy, cognitive deficits, and other developmental delays, these damages can be quite significant.

As a victim of medical negligence, you can recover damages for:

  • Hospital and medical bills
  • Future medical treatment, therapy, and assistive care
  • Past and future lost income
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Other economic and non-economic damages

Examples of Our Birth Injury Results

  • $17 Million over failure to treat a pregnant mother’s routine infection that became septic and resulted in severe brain injury to her baby. This is the largest medical malpractice recovery in California history.
  • $14 Million over a neonatal surgical error involving a 3-day-old newborn who suffered severe brain injury when gas from a needle used to insufflate the abdomen went to the heart and brain. This was the largest medical malpractice settlement in California at the time (2018)
  • $11.4 Million over failure to timely identify and respond to fetal distress, resulting in brain injury and cerebral palsy. This was the largest birth injury settlement in California at the time (2010)
  • $10 Million over the alleged failure to promptly deliver when fetal monitoring showed potential problems, resulting in severe cognitive deficits and spastic quadriplegia.This was a record birth injury settlement in the state where it was obtained.
  • $7.1 Million over failure to timely respond to fetal distress, resulting in cerebral palsy. This confidential case was settled for a record amount in a mid-west state.

If you have questions about HIE and whether you have grounds to pursue a birth injury lawsuit, our award-winning attorneys at Bostwick & Peterson are available to help. Contact us to request a FREE and confidential case review.



What Sets Bostwick & Peterson, LLP Apart?

  • More than $1 billion recovered for our clients
  • Since January 2018, the firm has twice broken the California record for the largest medical malpractice settlement
  • James Bostwick was named Trial Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers® in 2012
  • James Bostwick is a Nationally Certified Specialist by the American Board of Professional Liability
  • Included in the list of "Best Lawyers in America" by U.S. News - Best Lawyers® since its inception in 1983
  • James Bostwick received the Trial Lawyers "Presidential Award of Merit"
  • James Bostwick is a member of the Inner Circle of Advocates, limited to the nation’s top 100 plaintiff lawyers
  • Record-setting verdicts and settlements in five states for medical malpractice and motor vehicle accidents
Experienced Trial Lawyers

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