What is HIE and How Can it Be Caused by Oregon Medical Malpractice?

Understanding Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE): Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyer Explains


Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, or HIE, is a very damaging birth injury caused by a shortage of oxygen and blood due to the brain which causes brain damage.  This damage occurs during the labor and delivery process, including just before labor begins.  Brain damage caused by HIE can cause severe cognitive impairments and developmental disabilities.  This includes conditions such as cerebral palsy, but could also include processing, functioning, language, and other cognitive abilities.  Unfortunately, many times HIE is a condition which is caused by Oregon medical malpractice and it could be completely avoided.  But when healthcare providers fail to properly treat the mother and the newborn, HIE could occur and result in these horrific injuries.


More specifically, HIE is caused by a shortage of oxygen in the blood and also a shortage of blood flow.  These are two components which feed the body, including the brain.  The blood is what carries the oxygen around the body and to the brain.  When the blood flow is disrupted, there is a shortage of oxygen delivered around the body.  The brain has the largest need for this oxygenated blood.  Thus, when there is a decrease in blood flow and a decrease in oxygen, the brain will suffer the most.  This is what causes the damage which results in a birth injury.


How Oregon Medical Malpractice Causes HIE


There are many ways that Oregon medical malpractice could cause HIE.  These errors are usually completely avoidable with the proper care and treatment that a patient deserves, particularly a newborn.  Some of the most common ways that HIE is caused by reckless, careless, and negligent medical care include the following:


  • Failing to monitor contractions – every time there is a contraction, that presses on the umbilical cord and on the baby.  This makes it harder for oxygenated blood to flow from the mother to the baby.  If the contractions are constant and/or prolonged, the baby will begin to operate at a deficiency of oxygen.  This is what results in HIE.
  • Not monitoring for fetal distress – certain signs of fetal distress such as elevated fetal heart rate, meconium, low O2 sat, and other signs are indicators that healthcare providers need to act to protect the baby before injuries like HIE occur.
  • Overdosing on drugs such as Pitocin and other painkillers during the labor process which could hurt the newborn;
  • Failing to identify damage to the umbilical cord;
  • Improperly managing a high-risk pregnancy;
  • Not repositioning a baby during the birthing process;
  • Delaying in performing a c-section – the longer that the labor process continues, he more damage and stress to the baby that will occur.  Failing to obtain a timely c-section can result in addition stress to the baby; and 
  • Many other medical errors. 


When HIE Occurs to Your Baby, Call our Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyer


A newborn baby is the most precious member of our society.  When a healthcare provider’s malpractice results in HIE which causes permanent and debilitating injuries to a newborn baby, please call our Oregon medical malpractice lawyer at Kuhlman Law, LLC to learn what can be done to protect your rights.  Our law office is located in Bend, Oregon, and we handle cases throughout Oregon including Portland, Eugene, Salem, Gresham, and throughout Central Oregon, Deschutes County, and more generally in Oregon.  We also have an office in Minnesota.  


To receive a FREE consultation, please call our Oregon medical malpractice lawyer by dialing (541) 385-1999 or use our easy and convenient “contact us” box at the bottom of our website.  If we accept your case, we will conduct a FREE investigation to get you the answers that you deserve regarding your birth injury case.

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