June 25, 2015

The Dangers of an Incorrect Due Date

by Levin & Perconti

Expectant mothers rely on their treating physicians to promote their health, as well as the health of their babies. Part of this responsibility includes the accurate and timely diagnosis of disorders and potential problems. If this task is not carried out adequately, the result can be fatal. When a pregnancy is first diagnosed, one of the details that the mother is most concerned with is the age of the fetus. The due date becomes stamped in the minds and hearts of family and friends, as parents anticipate the arrival of a new life. But an inaccurate gestational age diagnosis can prove much more serious than the inconvenience and disappointment it can cause.

A study on TranstitionToParenthood.com discusses the potential risks of misdiagnosing the gestational age of a fetus. According to the report, about 66% of babies are born relatively close to their due dates, meaning within ten days. Variation from one pregnancy to another is expected, with factors like age, race and multiple births all playing a part in the normal gestational term.

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June 16, 2015

Are Hospitals the Safest Choice for Your Birth?

by Levin & Perconti

When expecting a child, parents are faced with a variety of options. They want to make decisions that are in the best interest of the baby and their family. Some of the most important choices involve medical treatments and the birthing process. Parents may take a considerable amount of time to research and choose the right physician. After all, this is the person who cares for the mother and fetus during pregnancy, and ensures that the baby is brought into the world safely. A growing number of parents choose a different route, opting for a midwife instead of a doctor and deciding to have a home birth.

A Continuing Debate

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June 9, 2015

Feres Doctrine Prevents Birth Injury Compensation for Military

by Levin & Perconti

A recent birth injury lawsuit is igniting debate about a federal law that limits government liability for injuries to military members. The Feres Doctrine became law in 1950. It prohibits military members and veterans from suing the federal government for injuries that occur during active duty. The doctrine is named for Lieutenant Feres, who died in a barracks fire that occurred in 1946. His widow attempted to sue the government, but lost. The creation of the Feres Doctrine shortly followed.

Controversy has always surrounded the law, and its lack of consideration in cases of gross negligence by a medical professional. Some of the situations covered include:

Prescription of incorrect medications
Medical mistakes
Wrongful execution of a service member
Nuclear experimentation on service members
Medical experimentation of mind control techniques

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June 3, 2015

Jury Awards $4 Million for Preterm Tragedy

by Levin & Perconti

A Georgia jury recently awarded a couple more than $4 million in damages over the death of their infant son during a premature birthing injury. With only a short deliberation of 2 ½ hours, the jurors concluded that the medical staff failed to provide adequate treatment and did not act in a reasonable manner to prevent the mother from going into premature labor, which they determined to cause the death of the infant.

According to court papers, the mother entered the hospital for an evaluation after experiencing discharge. An ultrasound additionally revealed that her cervix was abnormally shortened. The parents claimed that, after her admission, the medical staff failed to properly monitor and treat the situation. As a result, the mother went into early labor at around 23 weeks of gestation. According to reports, it was revealed at trial that the expectant mother had a history of miscarriages, as well as a surgical history that led to the shortened cervix. The plaintiffs argued that this information should have alerted the doctor to the need for a heightened sense of urgency and monitoring.

A Cerclage Procedure

Part of the plaintiff’s complaint centered on a medical procedure that could possibly prevent the premature labor. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), premature births affected one in every nine U.S. births in 2012. It is defined as birth prior to 37 weeks of gestation. The potential harm of preterm birth is significant due to the cycle of development that occurs in the womb. When infants are born prematurely, they may suffer from a variety of health problems, including:

***Impaired hearing of sight
***Difficulty breathing
***Delayed developmental milestones
***Feeding difficulties

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May 28, 2015

The Misdiagnosis of an Ectopic Pregnancy

by Levin & Perconti

Though pregnancy may seem like an easy condition to diagnose, there are numerous possibilities for misdiagnosis. When physicians are negligent and incorrectly identify a medical condition, there can be fatal consequences. The development of the fetus in the womb is an intricate and delicate process. By failing to adequately diagnose problems or potential issues, doctors place the mother and the child at risk. The misdiagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy can prove particularly dangerous and a negligent physician should be held accountable for his or her actions.

What is ectopic pregnancy?

In a normal pregnancy, the fertilized egg implants in the lining of the uterus to develop and grow. As explained by the Mayo Clinic, the egg sometimes implants in other areas of the reproductive system, resulting in an ectopic pregnancy. Possible places for ectopic pregnancy include:

*Fallopian tubes – These are the tubes that connect the ovaries to the uterus, for movement of the unfertilized egg each month. A pregnancy in this area of the body is commonly referred to as a tubal pregnancy.

*Abdominal Cavity – Though it rarely occurs, the fertilized egg sometimes implants in the abdomen of the mother. It may also occur as a secondary implanting that began as a tubal pregnancy, with the fertilized egg moving from the tubes to the abdomen.

*Ovary – A fertilized egg in the ovary is also characterized as an ectopic pregnancy. It typically occurs when the egg does not release during ovulation. Instead, the fertilization process occurs within the ovary.

*Cervix – A cervical pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg implants in the uterine endocervix. Though this type of pregnancy normally aborts during the first few months gestation, it may continue if the implanting occurs close to the uterine cavity

The Dangers of Ectopic Pregnancies

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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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