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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February 12, 2015

Pregnancy & Birth Risks: Early Preeclampsia and Fetal Death

by Levin & Perconti

Preeclampsia is a serious medical condition that can prove fatal for the mother and child. A study in the March issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology finds a significantly increased risk of fetal death when the mother is diagnosed with preeclampsia prior to 20 weeks of pregnancy. The Mayo Clinic defines preeclampsia as a condition where the expecting mother shows signs of elevated blood pressure and some form of organ damage, commonly in the kidney area. While it is normally diagnosed after 20 weeks of gestation, a woman may exhibit signs earlier.

The Study Details

Study researchers set out to determine whether the timing of preeclampsia onset affects the risk for fetal death. Experts reviewed over half a million birth records of mothers diagnosed with preeclampsia, with no preexisting hypertension issues. They then compared the rate of fetal death to the time of diagnosis. They concluded that the risk for fetal death is higher when preeclampsia appears earlier in pregnancy.

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February 6, 2015

The Link Between Flame Retardants and Preterm Births

by Levin & Perconti

Pregnancy is a delicate time in a woman's life. Aside from your own well being, you constantly concern yourself with the health of your baby. Expectant mothers watch what they eat and avoid taking certain medications. They are also careful about which chemicals they put in and on their bodies. The necessary precautions during pregnancy are numerous, and researchers recently added another one to the already long list.

Physicians at the University of Texas Medical Branch recently discovered a new link between preterm birth and a chemical commonly found in everyday life. As reported by Medical Xpress, researchers believe that exposure to flame retardant material during pregnancy contributes to preterm births. The study was completed in collaboration with Kaiser Permanente California. Researchers collected blood samples from expectant mothers as they entered the labor and delivery section of the hospital. Upon review, they concluded that women with higher levels of flame retardant chemicals were more likely to deliver preterm.

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January 28, 2015

Family Sues Hospital Over Water Birth Injury

by Levin & Perconti

Water births are a type of birthing process where the mother delivers the newborn in a pool or tub of warm water. The infant is delivered under the water, which supporters assert is less traumatic than a traditional delivery environment. Though the concept is relatively new in modern American society, gaining popularity in the 1980s, women have reportedly engaged in water births for hundreds of years. In Japan, women delivered in the sea, while expectant mothers in Finland gave birth inside of saunas.

Supporters argue that it is a natural method of birth, with minimal risk for healthy mothers. The warm water reportedly eases the pain and discomfort of delivery, decreasing the need for medication and anesthesia. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) states that water births are useful for pain management during the first stages of birth. However, the organization warns about the risks involved in completing the actual delivery under water.

The Birth Injury Lawsuit

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January 22, 2015

The Risks of Meconium Asphyxiation

by Levin & Perconti

Many things can go wrong during the delivery of a child. Experts advocate for prenatal care to decrease the likelihood of injury to the mother and the baby. But sometimes, even a healthy pregnancy results in a difficult birthing process. When this occurs, the medical staff's actions are essential to promoting the health of the infant. They must recognize the symptoms of potential conditions and act accordingly to decrease the possibility of further damage.

According to the National Institute of Health, meconium is the fecal matter passed by a newborn soon after birth. When babies experience stress inside the womb, they often pass meconium into the uterus. The matter mixes into the amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby, creating a potentially dangerous situation. The infant may breathe in the meconium while still inside the womb or directly after the birth before the amniotic fluid is wiped away. Once this substance enters the lungs, it can cause the infant's lungs to swell, blocking the airway. This is called meconium aspiration

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