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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 15, 2019 12:52 PM
From: Representative Wendy Ullman
To: All House members
Subject: Recognizing April 2019 as “World HIE Awareness Month”
Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, or HIE, is a type of brain damage that occurs when a child’s brain does not receive enough oxygen and blood. HIE can happen at any time prior to, during, or after birth as well as during childhood. Although the exact cause is not always identified, many factors can contribute to an HIE diagnosis.

HIE occurs in 2 to 3 per 1,000 live births. On the surface, this number may seem small, but when considering the 137,771 live births in Pennsylvania in 2017 alone, approximately 276 to 413 children may have received an HIE diagnosis.

When a child receives a diagnosis of HIE, parents can understandably find it difficult to process and comprehend exactly what that means for their child’s future. Some children affected by HIE may develop conditions such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, vision and hearing loss, speech delays, intellectual impairment, feeding issues, and global delays. No two children with HIE are the same.

Every year, more families are affected by HIE and many parents do not know where to turn to. Recently, a constituent of mine educated me about Hope for HIE, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering hope in families affected by HIE. Hope for HIE was established on Facebook in 2010 as a way to connect families affected by HIE to one another for support and to provide helpful resources and education. At this time, about 80 Pennsylvanian families are connected through this organization.

As a show of support for the many Pennsylvanian families affected by HIE, I am introducing a resolution to officially designate the month of April 2019 as “World HIE Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania. Please join me in helping to shed light on HIE and let affected families know that they are not alone in their journey.

Introduced as HR205