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Articles Posted in Birth Injury Lawsuits

Hypoxic Ischemia and Birth Injuries in BabiesIf you are like most parents, you had never heard of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) until your child was diagnosed with it. Sometimes referred to as perinatal asphyxia, it refers to a brain injury where the supply of blood and therefore oxygen to a newborn’s brain is halted temporarily during the process of childbirth. It can lead to a host of health problems, both physical and mental, as your child develops.

Your child’s HIE may be mild, severe, or somewhere in between. It is normal to be extremely frustrated and upset by an HIE diagnosis—and it makes complete sense to wonder what went wrong that led to your child’s injury. You may have already considered the possibility that your child’s doctor made a mistake that caused the HIE. Or, you may have not wanted to think about such an upsetting idea.

If your child’s injury was caused by medical malpractice, it is important to get to the truth of what happened. Not only does proving medical malpractice increase the odds that you can get much-needed financial support to take care of your child from your doctor’s insurer, but it also allows you to hold those responsible for the injury accountable.

C Sections and Risks for the BabyEven though in recent decades there been significant advancements in birthing children, following their doctor’s recommendation to undergo a cesarean section may not be good for your newborn. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that approximately 30% of all childbirths are performed by cesarean section (c-section). The relatively straightforward surgical procedure to deliver the baby requires an incision through the mother’s abdomen and uterus. Most C-sections are performed safely and avoid any risk to the baby or mother. However, there are incidents when the injury caused to the child or mother could have been prevented.

An Unplanned C-Section

Before your baby is delivered, the doctor may recommend that you undergo a cesarean section for your safety and the safety of your baby. The doctor may recommend a C-section if:

“Care Bundle” StrategiesIf you would look at the state of delivery rooms on hospitals, you will see that it has become advanced in terms of handling infants. However, what you may not know is that, contrary to what you may see on hospitals, most birth injuries, including major ones, occur here. Most of these injuries occur due to simple communication problems.

It is normal for us to trust our doctors. It is because, after all, they know what they are doing. Even when faced with high amounts of stress, they are expected to do everything right, even on times like birthing and labor.

However, this is not true. One study shows that teamwork between doctors and nurses diminish after stress takes over. The diminished teamwork causes a major threat to the unborn infant more than anything else, as the stress may cause them to keep track of their duties, especially for a hospital that handles thousands of patients in a single day.

Recovery for Brain InjuryA Chicago family has been awarded an unprecedented settlement in the amount of $53 million twelve years after negligent healthcare resulted in birth injuries to an infant showing symptoms of fetal distress. The lawsuit alleged that medical staff employed by the University of Chicago ignored the child’s mother for hours even though she was in desperate need of an emergency C-section. Twelve years later, the child is unable to walk or speak and will suffer from neurological impairment for the rest of his life. This case is an example of the types of claims the childbirth injury attorneys of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC take on in their pursuit of enacting real change in the healthcare industry.

A Routine Birth Gone Disastrously Wrong

Lisa Ewing was under the illusion that she was receiving the best care available and that her child’s birth was proceeding exactly as planned. While in labor, however, she went for extended period without any supervision or follow up by nurses or doctors. It was during this time that it is alleged her child went into fetal distress.

Cesarean Section Legal Case

Introduction to Lebron v. Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, 237 Ill.2d 217 (2010): A Battle over Litigation Costs

On a cold night in the end of October of 2005, Francis Lebron entered Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Cook County, Illinois to undergo a Caesarean section. After being admitted, she was placed under the care of Dr. Levi D’Ancona and Florence Martinoz, a registered nurse. However, things did not go swimmingly. Her child, Abigaile Lebron, was born with severe brain injury and impairment as well as cerebral palsy. Consequently, doctors discovered that she would not develop brain functions normally or be able to eat without the assistance of a feeding tube. For the economic and noneconomic damages (i.e. trauma, medical costs, and reduced quality of life to name a few), the Lebrons sued the hospital as well as the attending doctor and nurse.

The family soon ran into the wall of existing laws. Just in that same year, through 735 ILCS 5/2-1706.5, the Illinois state legislature had put a cap on non-economic damages at $500,000 for doctors and $1,000,000 for hospitals for “any medical malpractice action or wrongful death action based on medical malpractice.” The Lebrons’ claim asked for a lot more than that. Based off of the Illinois Supreme Court’s ruling in Best v. Taylor Machine Works (179 Ill.2d 367 (1997)), the circuit court held that 2-1706.5 was unconstitutional as an improper exercise of legislative power and declared the entire act void. Unhappy with the result, the defendants appealed to the Supreme Court.

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Zofran and Birth DefectsMany pregnant women have taken Zofran (ondansetron) to treat morning sickness, vomiting and nausea occurring during pregnancy. However, research has linked the prescription drug to serious birth defects that include cleft palates, heart defects and other crippling conditions. As a result, many women who took the drug during pregnancy have filed suit against the pharmaceutical company and their doctors for failing to warn them of the potential risks to their unborn child. Glaxo Smith Kline is the pharmaceutical manufacturer and distributor of Zofran.

Zofran has been proven highly effective for treating nausea and other symptoms of morning sickness. However, prescribing the medication for treating morning sickness is considered an “off label” use of the drug, and does not have the approval of the Food and Drug Administration. Without FDA approval, no conclusive clinical studies have been conducted on pregnant women to determine if any contraindications or side effects were produced in the mother or fetus.

Originally, Glaxo Smith Kline marketed the medication for patients undergoing chemotherapies and surgeries that produced unbearable nausea as a way to control the pain. However, because the pharmaceutical company is a “for profit” corporation, their marketers took steps to purposely push the medication for off label use.

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Monitoring of pregnant women can lead to less c-sections.A new study indicates that mothers and babies can be protected from serious delivery complications involving C-sections that sometimes end in death. In recent years, there has been a significant rise in the number of babies being delivered through cesarean sections (C-sections). New research indicates that labor and delivery clinicians who continuously monitor women in labor tend to have a reduced number of potentially dangerous C-sections compared a hospitals that provide clinicians on standby as needed.

In a C-section birth, an incision is made through the abdominal wall and uterus, avoiding a traditional vaginal delivery. In recent years, one and three births in the United States have been performed through cesarean section. This number is up by 60 percent over the total number of C-sections in the 1990s.

Although the procedure is used to save the lives of many babies and mothers under certain emergency scenarios, it is believed to be widely overused. Many medical professionals are concerned that many of these C-sections are performed without clear evidence of any significant improvement over newborn or maternal outcomes.

Low Dose of Aspirin May Help Lower PreeclampsiaThe Dangers and Complications Resulting from Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is a dangerous condition that can be fatal for pregnant women. The Mayo Clinic defines preeclampsia as a condition in which pregnant women have a high blood pressure and excess protein in urine for 20 weeks after pregnancy. The cure for preeclampsia is to deliver the baby. This condition can also be fatal for a baby. Pregnant women who have this condition while a baby is still premature should consult with a medical professional to assess treatment options.

Aspirin May Reduce the Risk of Preeclampsia

Baby Death can be linked to hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy
One matter that is of high importance that is currently pending on my office is about a boy that sustained an injury on his brain due to the doctor’s delay in performing a C-section. Due to this injury, the boy contracted a condition known as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy or HIE in short, which is also called perinatal encephalopathy. This is a result of the brain not being able to receive enough oxygen, known medically as hypoxia. HIE refers to all brain injuries that are caused by oxygen deprivation or hypoxia, but is only referred to injuries that are common amongst newborns which can cause long-term to permanent disability and, in worst cases, death.

HIE in newborns are most usually caused by injuries or complications in time of birth where the fetus suffers from hypoxia. Some known causes of HIE include:

  • An injury during birth / labor process

Braxial Plexus Injuries at Birth May Cause Life Long ProblemsBrachial plexus birth injuries are a common, yet often preventable injury that can happen during difficult or complicated births. The brachial plexus is a group of nerves located in the shoulder region that control arm and hand function that when damaged in an infant can lead to long-term complications such as Erb’s Palsy. Although some infants recover fully from this type of injury within a few months, others can be left with permanent impairments and disabilities.

Causes Of Birth Brachial Plexus Injuries

A brachial plexus injury during birth is caused by trauma to the infant’s head, neck or shoulder, putting pressure on these delicate nerves. Often this happens when an infant’s shoulder becomes wedged behind their mother’s pelvic bone, resulting in what is called shoulder dystocia. To dislodge the infant, the doctor or midwife may use traction to pull the child, which can cause pressure on the shoulder and damage the brachial plexus.