Who Could be at Fault for HIE? Oregon HIE Lawyers

Oregon HIE Lawyers Explain Who Could be At Fault for HIE: Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Explained

Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is an incredibly devastating Oregon birth injury potentially caused due to preventable medical malpractice.  Also known as HIE, this condition is when there is a decrease in the supply of oxygenated blood to a baby which results in damage to the brain.  The decrease in oxygen creates an oxygen deficiency, meaning that the body and brain has less oxygen than it requires. This oxygen deficiency is what causes damage to the developing brain of a newborn or infant.  The damage to the developing brain is permanent and irreversible.  While there are some natural and unavoidable consequences that could result in HIE forming, our Oregon HIE lawyers know many families ask who could be at fault for HIE in their newborn.  

The answer is any medical professional that worked with you or your child.  Yes, this is a shocking answer.  Even the treatment of the mother could result in HIE damage to the baby.  This is because HIE is a condition that the baby sustains as a result in some abnormality in the prenatal, labor and delivery process, or immediately after birth.  Damages from HIE could also be caused in the NICU, which is the neonatal intensive care unit.  Both mothers and infants must be properly cared for to ensure that the baby is receiving all of the oxygen requirements that his or her body needs.  Since HIE is a type of birth asphyxia, which is a characterization of birth injuries due to oxygen deprivation or deficiencies, any little bit of missing oxygen supply could be crucial to a baby.

Prenatal Treatment: Who Could be at Fault for HIE in Oregon?

Prenatal care and treatment is what happens before a baby is born.  This care focuses on the treatment to a baby in the womb.  Part of this treatment is inherently focused on the mother.  But the main purpose of this treatment is on the baby.  The point is to ensure that the mother and the baby’s bodies are properly functioning together.  Conditions such as gestational diabetes is an example of when the mother and baby’s bodies are not working properly together.  Preeclampsia and eclampsia are other and more dangerous examples of a mother and baby’s body not working well together.

Thus, there is a list of certain providers who could be at fault for HIE during prenatal treatment.  The most likely individuals and entities to be liable include the following:

OB-GYN – this is your primary doctor during the development of your baby.  Your OB-GYN is the medical specialist who handles reproductive health in women.  Having a baby is one of the main areas of expertise that an OB-GYN must have.  This means that an OB-GYN is well-trained, educated, and has experience in this field at a level greater than other specialties.  An OB-GYN is the physician who charts, performs tests, and otherwise regulates how care as the trimesters continue to the due date of the baby.  When there are prenatal issues that are unaddressed by the OB-GYN, it almost always results in injury to the mother and the baby.  This is particularly true of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy which could be caused by OB-GYN errors.

Family Care Practitioner or Primary Care Physician – a FCP or PCP is another common doctor that is used by many expecting couples.  Some expecting families actually relay more on a PCP to perform the regular checks and charting of the baby, as well as to make important decisions about the baby’s care and treatment going forward.  Like an OB-GYN, a PCP has a lot of experience handling the prenatal process.  Errors by a PCP could be catastrophic and result in significant birth injuries.  The most common error or ground for negligence with a PCP is the failure to refer the patient to an OB-GYN or to an emergency c-section.

Nursing Staff – no matter what field or area, the nursing staff is the most important part of any care for any patient.  This includes unborn patients.  Infants can be seriously injured when nurses fail to properly chart, review, follow physician orders, or supervise an expecting mother.  Fetal monitoring is important for the baby and nurses are the ones that normally set up and monitor the baby.

Labor and Delivery Errors Causing HIE

There are so many different people who could be liable for labor and delivery errors.  The list is not too different than above, but also at this stage there are a lot more entities involves.  This is because a mother is likely at a birthing center or hospital.  Thus, there are also more individual doctors and nurses also monitoring a mother.  Some of the most common individuals who could be at fault for HIE in a newborn and be liable for Oregon birth injuries and medical malpractice include the following:

  • OB-GYN;
  • Primary care physician or family care practitioner;
  • Nursing staff;
  • Hospitals;
  • Birthing center;
  • Practice group;
  • Emergency room doctor;
  • Triage nurse;
  • Residents and interns;
  • Technicians;
  • Medical students;
  • Nurse practitioners;
  • Physician assistants; and
  • Other practitioners and healthcare professionals.

Post-Delivery: Who Could be at Fault for HIE?

After delivery, all of the same individuals as above could be liable.  But additionally, NICU nurses could also be liable.  This is because babies that are born in crisis and with complications need specialized care.  NICU doctors are also responsible for the care and treatment of babies.  These doctors can also be liable for Oregon medical malpractice from birth injuries they cause.  HIE can absolutely be caused in the post-delivery ward or NICU, even if the labor and delivery went well.  This means that a family could suffer serious injuries after going through the hardest part, birth.

In addition, when there is a c-section the post anesthesia care unit nurses (PACU) could also be liable for damages to the mother.  While rare, a PACU nurse could float over to the OR if there is a shortage in an emergency.  But this is very rare and if there is a shortage, it is likely that there could really be other serious problems at the hospital.

Was Your Baby Diagnosed with HIE?  We Can Help

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.  

Please act quickly, there is a limited time (Statute of Limitations) in which you can bring a claim under the law.

For a free case evaluation


(541) 385-1999 in Bend, Oregon
(503) 479-3646 in Portland, Oregon
(612) 444-3374 in Minnesota

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