Oregon Wrongful Death Charged by Inmate’s Family

A lawsuit recently filed in Salem charges both doctors and prison officials with the Oregon wrongful death of a Salem man in 2010. The suit was filed by the alleged victim’s mother, according to a report in the Salem Statesman-Journal.

According to the newspaper, her son, Robert Haws, was a pre-trial detainee two years ago this month “when he got into an argument with another inmate.” The other inmate attacked Haws “hitting his head on concrete and knocking him unconscious. He died at the hospital after undergoing brain surgery and lingering for days on life support.”
At issue are “the hours following the fight and the lengthy delay in treatment for Haws’ injuries,” according to the Statesman-Journal. Haws’ mother believes that the jail staff did not give her son the attention he needed in the minutes and hours immediately after the fight. It also alleges that once Haws reached the hospital doctors treated him as if he were a patient coming down from a drug overdose despite significant evidence that he needed urgent treatment for an Oregon head trauma.

Legal documents cited by the newspaper indicate that Haws did not receive treatment for approximately seven hours after arriving at the hospital. When considering the Oregon brain injury from which Haws died, the newspaper notes, time was essential. Documents filed with the court state that the mortality rate for people with similar injuries is 30 percent if they are seen by a doctor within four hours, but after that it quickly rises to 90 percent. Regardless of the outcome of this case, those numbers are a reminder of the importance of prompt care whenever a severe head trauma or brain injury is involved.

The suit is a reminder that an Oregon wrongful death lawyer can offer valuable advice and insight to families at every stage of the judicial process. The fact that Haws was in custody places a special burden on the people holding and caring for him to ensure his safety.

Salem Statesman-Journal: Woman sues hospital, deputies over jail death