Understanding Oregon Medical Malpractice: Baby With Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy
Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a type of birth injury. A birth injury is any type of injury that occurs during the labor and delivery process. But unlike some birth injuries that may not be particularly devastating, like abrasions from forceps, HIE is a devastating birth injury that occurs due to the newborn being deprived of oxygen due to a lack of blood flow. As a result, it is very common for babies to have significant and permanent disability or injury, including catastrophic damages. A baby with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy could suffer serious conditions such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and permanent brain damage slowing development.
The worst part about HIE though is not necessarily the damage it cases, but the fact that it can be caused unnecessarily and needlessly to a helpless and defenseless baby. As a result, the baby could have had all conditions and damages completely avoided if a healthcare provider properly cared for the baby. This means that the baby’s injuries were likely due to the negligence of another person recklessly or carelessly. While a healthcare provider may say that it is not due to negligence but naturally occurring complications or unavoidable risks, that is a telltale sign of medical malpractice. In fact, any type a healthcare provider says that any poor result is a risk of the procedure or labor and delivery, it is imperative to get to an Oregon medical malpractice lawyer for a FREE consultation. This is a classic and common way healthcare providers shift blame and liability, or try to convince a victim that it was not the healthcare provider’s fault. Do not be fooled! Anytime a baby with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is inured in Oregon, get our help.
What is HIE?
Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is just a type of brain injury to a baby that is caused by exactly how it sounds. It is when an infant loses blood flow (ischemia) that results in a deficiency of fresh oxygen (hypoxia) to the brain, which results in brain damage. This injury is particularly devastating and life changing as brain damage that occurs due to this injury is irreversible and frequently catastrophic.
The newborn likely face a lifetime of permanent disability to some extent. The type and extent of the injury depends greatly on the location in the brain that the brain damage occurred. While there are instances in which this type of birth injury may be unpreventable, there are many instances in which hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy could have been prevented. In these situations, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy was due to medical malpractice.
Medical Malpractice Related a Baby With Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy
As discussed above, HIE is a birth injury that occurs due to lack of oxygenated blood flow to the brain during the labor and delivery process. This lack of oxygenated blood flow causes irreversible brain damage. There are many instances in which hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy could have been prevented, but is caused by a medical professional’s error. Due to their error, the child’s life will be forever altered due to the brain damage that the child sustained. Common causes of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy include the following:
- Umbilical cord compression
- Umbilical cord rupture or prolapse
- Failure to identify and respond to signs of fetal distress
- Inappropriate monitoring of fetal heart rate
- Opting for a vaginal delivery when a c-section is indicated
- Mismanagement of medical problems involving the placenta, uterus, fetal presentation or umbilical cord
- Failing to promptly treat a newborn with HIE, including providing hypothermia therapy to minimize brain damage
- Shoulder dystocia
- Anesthesia errors
- Overuse of labor enduring drugs (i.e. Pitocin)
- Improper monitoring of the baby and mother
- Allowing excessive contractions without intervention
- Failure to identify and intervene when wrapping of the umbilical cord around the baby’s neck occurs during labor and delivery
These are just a few of the many ways that medical malpractice can cause your child’s hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy birth injury.
Who Can be Held Liable for Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy-Related Birth Injuries in Oregon?
The answer for who can be liable may not always be so simple. The first two obvious answers are the following:
- Doctors are often made most liable as it is a physician’s responsibility to oversee care, monitor, and prescribe treatment plans for the mother and baby. They are the individuals who make the decision of when to intervene in the event of any labor and delivery complication. It is their decision to order an emergency c-section when there is fetal or maternal stress. Improper handling of the newborn at birth can also be a contributing cause of HIE. Failure to properly do any of these things can result in HIE. While anyone can make mistakes, these are not the type of mistakes that should ever be made.
- Nursing staff – Nurses are the most involved with patients throughout the labor and delivery process. Nurses see them from time of admission and throughout the labor process. It is their responsibility to monitor the patient’s contractions and notify the physician that the mother or baby is in distress. Additionally, it is a nurses’ responsibility to monitor the mother’s oxygen, blood pressure, and heart rate. Failure to appropriately monitor both mother and baby can lead to numerous birth injuries, including hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.
But there are also other entities or individuals who could be liable for HIE in Oregon. This is because Oregon, like all states, recognizes vicarious liability between an employee and employer. This subset of vicarious liability is known as respondeat superior and it is very common in medical malpractice cases, especially when a baby with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is injured due to medical malpractice. Some of the entities that could be liable under a theory of respondeat superior include the following:
- Practice group
- Partners in a practice group (i.e., group of doctors)
- Outpatient centers
- Surgical sites
- OB-GYN offices
- Family care practitioners or primary care offices, and
- Other types of healthcare providers in Oregon, including their businesses and entities.
How Can Our Oregon Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Attorneys Help You?
Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is a catastrophic birth injury that should almost never occur as most of the time, it is avoidable. Often times, HIE is due to pure negligence. This is unacceptable as this type of injury alters the newborns’ life forever as well as the parents. A child with HIE may never walk, talk, have a job, or meet many other milestones due to this injury, depending on the severity.
Our experienced Oregon HIE attorneys understand just how avoidable these injuries can be and are fully prepared to review your case for FREE to determine if your child’s HIE was the direct result of medical malpractice. If your child’s HIE was due to medical malpractice, you may be eligible for compensation, including the following:
- Past physical pain and suffering
- Future physical pain and suffering
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Past, present and future medical bills
- Physical therapy coverage
- Occupational therapy coverage
- Speech therapy coverage
- Nursing care and home care coverage
- Assistive device coverage
- Lost wages
- Lost future wages, and
- Other damages due to HIE and the birth injuries, conditions, disabilities, and damage that it can cause.
Ask Our Lawyers for Help if Your Baby With Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy is Diagnosed in Oregon
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice contact the Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form. We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.
Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles, St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.
We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take medical malpractice cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.