May 18, 2015

Inducement May Prove Healthier for Large Babies

by Levin & Perconti

There is arguably no more natural process than pregnancy and delivery of a baby. The female body is wired for this process and most experts agree that the healthiest option for all concerned is to let nature take its course. But a growing trend is taking the delivery date out of Mother Nature’s hands and putting it into the hands of the expectant mother and her physician. Women are choosing to schedule their deliveries prior to their actual due dates. Termed elective induction, many health care professionals advise against this decision, citing increased risk of injury to the mother and the baby. But a recent study suggests that an elective induction may prove the best choice when an infant is considerably larger than average.

There are a variety of reasons why women choose elective inductions:

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May 5, 2015

Injury Basics - The Risks of Breech Births

by Levin & Perconti

As the world celebrates the birth of a new royal princess, it is important to also recognize the risks of childbirth to both the mother and the baby. Parents expect physicians to act in a professional manner when diagnosing and treating problems that arise during pregnancy. When doctors do not meet these standards, the results can prove devastating for the entire family.

A breech positioning is one condition that should cause considerable concern for the treating physician. The healthiest position for an infant in the womb is facing down, so the head is the closest body part to the birthing canal. When babies deliver head first, the rest of the body has an easier transition through the canal. Breech positioning occurs when the baby's feet or buttocks are closest to the birthing canal.

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April 30, 2015

Choosing the Right Doctor for your Delivery

by Levin & Perconti

When a pregnant mother chooses a physician to deliver her baby, she expects a capable doctor who will act in a professional manner to protect her life and the life of her newborn. However, some women fail to adequately check the background of a potential obstetrician. They understandably assume that a practicing doctor is in good professional standing, without repeated incidents of patient injuries or deaths. Unfortunately, this assumption is not always correct and an expectant mother can end up with a physician who routinely provides substandard care.

A North Carolina Fox News affiliate reported about a doctor who was recently order to cease performing deliveries after three babies died during or closely following their births. The doctor first received his medical license in 2002 and reportedly focused his practice on at-home deliveries. The North Carolina Board of Medicine issued an Interim Non-Practice Agreement stopping the physician from giving any obstetrical care until the conclusion of a full investigation and disciplinary hearing.

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April 23, 2015

Recognizing Brain Injuries in a Newborn

by Levin & Perconti

The birth of a baby is one of life's most significant and beautiful events. Some families have to wait years and spend thousands of dollars to experience parenthood. When mothers and fathers anticipate the arrival of a child, they imagine a successful delivery and a healthy delivery. Unfortunately, reality does not always meet these expectations.

Every year, thousands of babies are born with various birth injuries. While all of these conditions are serious, brain injuries can prove particularly debilitating or even fatal. Further complicating the issue is the fact these injuries often escape diagnosis at the time of birth. It is vitally important for parents to recognize symptoms of brain injury in a baby. Early detection is key to adequate treatment, as well as a determination about the cause of injury. Brain injuries in newborns are often avoidable and with the help of a capable attorney, affected families can secure compensation for their loss.

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April 15, 2015

The Potential Danger of a Gestational Diabetes Medication

by Levin & Perconti

Gestational diabetes is the development of diabetes during pregnancy. Its an extremely serious condition that can lead to a life or death situation for the mother, as well as the fetus. A recent article in Endocrine Today discusses risks involved with a medication that is increasingly prescribed to treat gestational diabetes. Glyburide is taken orally to assist in controlling blood sugar levels. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists the medication in the pregnancy category C, which means that the agency has made no official determination about its safety and unborn babies.

Dangers of Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes generally occurs in four percent of all pregnancies. Risk factors for the disease include women over the age of 25-years-old, family history of type-2 diabetes, excessive body weight and women of a non-white race. According to the Mayo Clinic, inadequate management of the condition can lead to the following complications:

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April 8, 2015

Back to the Basics - The Dangers of a Vacuum Extraction

by Levin & Perconti

When labor begins, it is vitally important to deliver the newborn in an adequate amount of time. Extended labor can prove dangerous for the mother, as well as the baby. When faced with the situation, physicians commonly employ tools to assist with the delivery process. The decisions made during this time are extremely important and often mean the difference between a healthy delivery and a birth related injury.

Vacuum extraction is one of the tools often used in these situations. A cap-like cup is placed on the head of the baby. An attached vacuum is then used to apply gentle suction and guide the baby through the birth canal. Physicians may choose this method of delivery as an alternative to a Cesarean section, but the risks of a vacuum extraction may not be worth employing this option.

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April 3, 2015

Off-Label Use of Zofran Can Cause Birth Defects?

by Levin & Perconti

In February 2015, two lawsuits were filed in federal courts alleging that the use of Zofran during pregnancy increased birth defects. These lawsuits are aimed at GlaxoSmithKline LLC, the maker of Zofran, and seek compensatory and punitive damages, equitable relief, and other relief deemed just and proper arising from the injuries as a result of prenatal exposure to Zofran.

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March 23, 2015

FDA Issues Warning About Keepsake Image Businesses to Expectant Parents

by Levin & Perconti

Expecting parents cannot wait for that first glimpse of their new baby. They make predictions about eye color and hair type. The ultrasound image becomes the first portrait of the baby. Unfortunately, the clarity of a traditional ultrasound leaves much to the imagination. Countless fathers have pretended to see a foot or a hand, when they really see nothing but masses of black and white. In the age of 3D, those grainy and unclear pictures are transformed into 3D images, with unmistakable details.

The popularity of these 3D ultrasounds grew so quickly, that they moved from the doctor’s office into strip malls and boutiques. However, as tempting as these “keepsake ultrasounds” are, The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning parents about their potential dangers, asserting that an instant keepsake can potentially lead to long term birth injuries.

The FDA's Warning

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March 14, 2015

Johnson and Johnson Ordered to Pay a $5.7 Million Jury Verdict for Transvaginal Mesh Injuries

by Levin & Perconti

We recently saw landmark settlement in the realm of transvaginal mesh litigation. Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay a $5.7 million jury award to a woman named Colleen Perry who suffered injuries from the company’s vaginal-mesh implant. Specifically, a California jury awarded Ms. Perry $700,000 in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages for her injuries.

Ms. Perry was implanted with the product in 2011. Her complaint alleges that the Abbrevo vaginal-mesh implant eroded inside of her and was defectively designed, and that Johnson and Johnson’s Ethicon unit failed to properly warn doctors and patients about the implant’s risks. As the device eroded inside her, Ms. Perry experienced immense pain. The case is Perry et al v. Luu et al,

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March 6, 2015

Debate Begins for the Maryland Birth Injury Fund

by Levin & Perconti

Efforts to create a statewide birth injury compensation fund took another step forward as Maryland lawmakers listened to opposing testimony from medical professionals and trial lawyers, who advocated for their injured clients. The bill, which was introduced about a year ago, seeks to create a fund that would provide limited compensation for victims of birth related injuries. Though the legislation is limited to the state of Maryland, its passage or failure can have far-reaching implications for citizens of various other states.

The Baltimore Post Examiner is reporting about the legislative hearings that are currently taking place in consideration of the bill. Three medical doctors are included among its sponsoring delegates. Under its provisions, area hospitals will pay a mandatory amount into the fund each year based on an estimate of qualifying injuries. Proponents assert that seven injured babies are likely to qualify for compensation each year. Based on that information, the collective contribution will equal about $25 million.

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February 22, 2015

Abrupted Placenta Place Babies in Danger

by Levin & Perconti

Abruptop placentae or placental abruption is an uncommon, but serious condition in pregnancy. According to the Mayo Clinic, the placenta develops inside the uterus to provide nourishment for the fetus during development. This circular shaped organ attaches to the walls, passing oxygen and nutrients to the baby through the umbilical cord. It also produces hormones that promote the healthy growth of the fetus.

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February 19, 2015

Saving Lives: Preventing BPD in Infants

by Levin & Perconti

Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD) is a serious lung disease affecting newborns. According to the American Lung Association, it generally occurs in premature infants who are born more than 10 weeks early. It is often seen as a complication of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), where the lungs of the baby are not developed enough to take in an adequate amount of air. Treatment of RDS generally requires a breathing machine to assist the infant in breathing. Flexible plastic tubing is placed into the trachea for the purpose of opening the airway. Unfortunately, the process often leads to the development of BPD with symptoms that include lung inflammation and scarring.

BPD is reportedly a leading cause of early death among extremely low birth weigh newborns. For this reason, physicians often prefer alternative treatments to invasive breathing machines. A recent study in The New England Journal of Medicine compared the effectiveness of noninvasive ventilation strategies.

The Study Details

Participants were chosen among 34 neonatal units, across 10 countries. Each infant was screened to ensure their appropriateness for noninvasive respiratory support. Half of the participants were treated with Nasal Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). With this treatment, a mask with nasal prongs is placed over the infant's face and continuously exerts pressure that prevents collapse of the lungs. It closely resembles the machine that many adults use to treat sleep apnea during the night.

The second set of infants were treated with Nasal Intermittent Positive Ventilation (IPPV), which gives “continuous positive airway pressure with extra breaths,” according to a report by MedicineNet.

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