November 18, 2014

The Risk of Injury from Gestational Diabetes

by Levin & Perconti

Diabetes is an extremely serious health concern that affects the way cells handle glucose, or sugar, within the body. The condition can lead to serious injury, and even death, if not treated properly. When a woman develops the disease during her pregnancy, it is called gestational diabetes, and adequate care is necessary for the health of the mother, as well as the baby. Physicians are responsible for the timely diagnosis and treatment of gestational diabetes. When this responsibility is not met, the consequences are devastating. With the assistance of an experienced attorney, an injured mother and child can secure the compensation that is warranted by this type of pregnancy error.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Though the exact cause of gestational diabetes is unknown, experts do know that pregnancy affects the way your body processes glucose. According to the Mayo Clinic, the body develops sugar from the foods you digest. This sugar is sent to the bloodstream and your pancreas produces insulin. This is a hormone that helps the body's cells convert the glucose into energy for the body. When pregnant, the placenta connects the fetus to the blood stream. It is constantly producing a variety of hormones and some of them stop the work of the insulin in the blood. This causes the blood sugar to elevate. Many pregnant women are able to balance these periodic elevations. However, some women reportedly produce too many of these insulin blocking hormones, causing the blood sugar levels to reach dangerous highs.

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November 12, 2014

Jury Awards $8.4 Million in Breathing Tub Injury

by Levin & Perconti

The actions of a hospital staff during the labor and delivery of a baby can result in lasting medical consequences for the child, as well as the mother and family. A moment of hesitation or inaction may lead to serious injuries that will forever effect the newborn's quality of life. When these incidents occur, physicians and the medical center should take responsibility for their role in the injury. However, if they don't, an experienced attorney can assist victims in securing the financial compensation to which they are entitled.

Northwest Georgia News is reporting about a five-year-old boy who was recently awarded an $8.4 million settlement from a Georgia jury. He lives with cerebral palsy and, according to the court documents, the medical staff that handled his birth is responsible for his condition. As stated in reports, the young boy's mother trusted the medical staff of a Georgia medical center with the delivery of her child. The fetal monitor reportedly showed that the baby was in distress from a lack of oxygen. This information should have prompted a cesarean section, according to court documents, but medical staff never notified a physician about the risky situation.

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November 4, 2014

The Basics - Use of Forceps can Lead to Birth Injuries

by Levin & Perconti

Complications during the birth process are disturbingly common. Fortunately, when these problems do occur, medical professionals are generally equipped with the tools and knowledge to handle them in the most efficient and safest manner possible. But even with the abundance of advanced technology, injuries sometimes occur. These incidents can result in years of pain and suffering for mothers, babies and families. When they occur, medically responsible parties should take accountability for their actions.

Forceps are instruments commonly used to guide infants through the birth canal during difficult deliveries. They resemble large tongs that are placed on either side of the baby's head and gently pulled out of the pelvis. Physicians use forceps when mothers are unable to push the baby out on their own. This is commonly the case during a breech delivery or prolonged labor.
When using forceps, the physician must use extreme precautions. First, the timing is important, as forceps are only appropriate after full dilation and the rupturing of the membrane. The doctor must also demonstrate caution in placing the forceps on the baby, ensuring that they are not inserted too far into the birth canal. The use of forceps is also reportedly not acceptable when the baby's head is considerably large. Physicians must determine when to use forceps and when a cesarean section is the better alternative.

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October 28, 2014

Hospital Borne Infections Put Infants at Risk

by Levin & Perconti

Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs) are illnesses that patients receive while receiving care within a medical facility of hospital. These infections can happen in any medical environment, placing a variety of patients at risk. However, they are particularly dangerous when they are present within the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) where infirmed infants are receiving care.

Government statistics show that 1 in every 25 patients is currently infected with an HAI. According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, the most common risk factors for the transfer of HAIs are as follows:

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October 21, 2014

Understanding the Risk of Chorioamnionitis

by Levin & Perconti

Expectant mothers should exercise vigilance to protect themselves from infections and sickness. Left untreated, some conditions can lead to serious consequences for mother, as well as well as the infant. Chorioamnionitis is a condition that occurs when bacteria infects the membrane that surrounds the fetus in the womb. According to the Cleveland Clinic, it occurs in 2% of pregnancies in America and is a major cause of premature births.

Chorioamnionitis reportedly starts with a bacterial infection within the urogenital tract of the mother. Is may begin in the vagina, anus or rectum. The infection moves through the tract, eventually reaching the uterus where the growing fetus is located. The most common infections include E. Coli and Streptococci.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Though chorioamnionitis can present with no symptoms, pregnant women generally show some signs, including:

-Fever, with a highly elevated temperature

-A rapid heartbeat from the mother, as well as the fetus

-Profuse sweating

-Stomach pain, from a uterus that is tender to the touch

-Unusual smelling vaginal discharge

It is most often diagnosed when a patient exhibits symptoms, which should prompt the treating doctor to conduct further testing. This may include a blood sampling to check for bacteria. Alternatively, the doctor may check the levels of amniotic fluid by taking samples of the amniotic fluid from within the womb. This is done with through a procedure called an amniocentesis. Your physician can also use ultrasound images to check the well being of the fetus. Even when no symptoms are present, experts suggest that doctors screen all pregnant women for Streptococci around 35 weeks of gestation.

Once diagnosed, mothers with mild cases of chorioamnionitis are prescribed antibiotics to treat the underlying infection. More serious cases may necessitate the premature delivery, in order to administer antibiotics to the infant as well. Left untreated or undiagnosed, the condition can lead to serious consequences, including:

-Worsening infections occurring with the pelvic region of abdomen

-Blood clotting within the pelvis and lungs. This can lead to an inadequate supply of blood and oxygen to the heart and the brain. Heart attacks, brain injuries or death can result.

-Endometriosis is an infection within the lining of the uterus that causes abnormal cell growth. These cells attach themselves to the the uterine walls. Though most pregnancies can proceed to term after a diagnosis of endometriosis, some studies reportedly suggest that it can lead to premature births.

-Sepsis occurs when the body releases an over abundant amount of chemicals into the blood to fight off infection. This can cause severe inflammation throughout the body, decreasing effective blood flow and elevating the risk of organ failure.

When physicians fail to take the standard procedures necessary to diagnose and treat chorioamnionitis, the consequences can prove devastating to the mother and baby. With the assistance of an experienced attorney, victims can secure the compensation that they deserve.
If you or your baby experienced a chorioamnionitis related birth injury, and you believe the doctor or hospital may be responsible, contact experienced birth injury attorneys.

See Other Blog Posts:

CJ&D Briefing Book: The Truth About Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Medical Malpractice Verdict Highlights Problems With Malpractice Caps

October 15, 2014

States Refuse to Cover Midwife Deliveries Under Medicaid

by Levin & Perconti

Oregon lawmakers want to implement a new law that will expand Medicaid insurance coverage for expectant mothers who choose to give birth outside of traditional hospitals. According to recent reports, passage of the law will allow state Medicaid payments for births occurring in private homes and birthing centers. Direct Entry Midwives (DEMs) often perform birthing procedures in these unconventional settings and the Oregon Medicaid program generally does not cover their services. The reason behind the decision to withhold coverage exemplifies a common concern regarding midwives and the services they provide.

DEMs begin practicing as soon as they finish their training and certification. By comparison, nurse midwives only enter the field after obtaining a formal nursing license. Though it varies by state, most DEMs obtain Certified Professional Midwife credentials from the North American Registry of Midwives. Despite this certification, most states, including Illinois, refuse to cover their services under state funded insurance plans.

The Decision Not to Cover

In making coverage decisions, the state weighs general insurance expenditures with the cost of potential problems during delivery. Birthing complications can necessitate additional medical care for mothers, as well as infants. These safety risks significantly raise the cost to insurance companies for these specific cases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), almost 14,000,000 births occurred in the United States between 2006 and 2009. While approximately 91% of these births were completed by hospital physicians, about 9% were delivered by nurse wives. Among all midwife births, neonatal deaths occurred at a rate of .32 per 1,000 hospital births and 1.26 per 1000 at-home births. These high death risks lead states to deny insurance coverage.

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October 10, 2014

Infant Injury Data Renews Efforts for Maryland Compensation Fund

by Levin & Perconti

The possibility of a statewide birth injury compensation fund has returned to the forefront, as the state of Maryland deals with some disturbing numbers about fatalities and injuries to birthing mothers and infants. The Baltimore Business Journal is reporting that 2013 statistics show a slight increase in infant mortality, along with a significant spike in substance related deaths among pregnant women and new mothers. For years, the state reportedly experienced a steady decline in infant deaths, so these new numbers are leading health officials to examine the availability adequacy of medical birthing services.

In 2013, the obstetrics department at University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus was closed. In addition, Mercy Medical Center reportedly stopped working with a well known midwife service to provide obstetric care. These changes represent a decline in maternity services and, according to the report, doctors are blaming birth injury lawsuits. These physicians argue that large birth injury payouts drive up the high cost of malpractice insurance.

This allegedly turns doctors and medical centers away from this area of medical practice.
Plaintiff advocates take a different approach to the issue, directing the fault towards doctors who provide ineffective care. When they make mistakes, victims are left with a lifetime of physical and mental health issues, in addition to astronomical medical expenses. Without the option of malpractice lawsuits, these innocent patients have no adequate recourse.
According to reports, the actual cost of medical malpractice insurance makes up less than three percent of total health care costs. Additionally, payouts from malpractice lawsuits account for about 45 percent of premiums collected, while the insurance companies keep 55 percent. This begs the question whether physician's concerns are better directed towards insurance companies than patient victims.

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October 1, 2014

The Misdiagnosis of Ectopic Pregnancies

by Levin & Perconti

The family of a 4-year-old Oregon girl recently filed a lawsuit against a health care center for misdiagnosing the mother while she was pregnant with the child. According to reports, doctors diagnosed the pregnant woman with an ectopic pregnancy, a life threatening condition that can be fatal to the mother and fetus. In response, medication was ordered to medically abort the pregnancy. Though the mother reportedly followed the instructions of the doctor, she still gave birth to her daughter. However, the child reportedly suffers from numerous health concerns and the lawsuit alleges that the misdiagnosis, along with the subsequent actions, are to blame.

What is ectopic pregnancy?

Ectopic pregnancies occur when the fetus begins to form outside of the womb. Most often, the egg becomes lodged in the fallopian tube while passing from the ovary to the uterus. It is not able to properly develop and survive. Though rare, these types of pregnancies can also occur within the ovary or cervix, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH). While the fetus cannot survive, removing the abnormally developed cells can preserve the mother's life.
There are several potential causes for ectopic pregnancies:

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September 27, 2014

Horner's Syndrome Among Newborns

by Levin & Perconti

During labor and delivery, families rely on physicians to act with great judgment and caution. They are responsible for the wellness of brand new lives and any mistake can make the difference between life and death. When poor decisions are made, mothers and babies can face a variety of medical injuries. Horner's Syndrome is a condition in newborns where the cluster of nerves running from the brain to the face and eye are interrupted, causing facial injury. Also called oculosympathetic palsy, the syndrome affects about one in every 6,200 babies, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH).

Signs and Symptoms

Horner's Syndrome is characterized by a number of signs and symptoms:

***Generally, the condition only affects one side of the face.
***The upper eyelid droops down over the eye.
***Disproportionate pupil sizes result from a constricted pupil within the affected eye.
***The affected eye may constantly appear bloodshot.
***The affected eye may look as though it is sunken in its cavity.
***The baby may appear to have different color eyes due to a lightening of the iris in the affected eye.
***There is an absence of any perspiration on the affected side of the face.

Horner's Syndrome is not a disease in and of itself and, though its symptoms are undesirable, the NIH reports that it does not negatively affect general health or the baby's ability to see. However, the underlying nerve damage may prove extremely dangerous and even life threatening. For this reason, treatment of Horner's Syndrome generally focuses on the nerve injury.

Birth-Related Causes

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September 22, 2014

Mother Awarded $1 Million in Malpractice Lawsuit

by Levin & Perconti

The mother of a three year old girl was recently awarded one million dollars by an Illinois court as compensation for injuries suffered by her daughter during delivery. According to a report by The Edwardsville Intelligencer, the jury found that the delivering obstetrician was medically negligent in his handling of the birth, resulting in severe injuries and disfigurement of the child.

The case reportedly dates back to March of 2011, when the mother’s labor was induced at a Madison County Hospital. The infant was a larger baby, reportedly weighing about nine pounds and multiple attempts at a vaginal delivery were unsuccessful. According to the report, the baby’s right arm emerged first, but her left shoulder was allegedly stuck on her mother’s pelvis. Court records state that instead of initiating a cesarean section, the physician continued with the vaginal birth. Afterwards, medical records noted that the baby’s left arm was “floppy” and a diagnosis of Erb’s Palsy was made. When discharged six days later, medical records noted that the left arm was still “flaccid with no real movement.”

What is Erb’s Palsy

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September 16, 2014

Understanding the Issues - Horner's Syndrome Among Newborns

by Levin & Perconti

During labor and delivery, families rely on physicians to act with great judgment and caution. They are responsible for the wellness of brand new lives and any mistake can make the difference between life and death. When poor decisions are made, mothers and babies can face a variety of medical injuries. Horner's Syndrome is a condition in newborns where the cluster of nerves running from the brain to the face and eye are interrupted, causing facial injury. Also called oculosympathetic palsy, the syndrome affects about one in every 6,200 babies, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH).

Signs and Symptoms

Horner's Syndrome is characterized by a number of signs and symptoms:

Generally, the condition only affects one side of the face.
The upper eyelid droops down over the eye.
Disproportionate pupil sizes result from a constricted pupil within the affected eye.
The affected eye may constantly appear bloodshot.
The affected eye may look as though it is sunken in its cavity.
The baby may appear to have different color eyes due to a lightening of the iris in the affected eye.
There is an absence of any perspiration on the affected side of the face.

Continue reading "Understanding the Issues - Horner's Syndrome Among Newborns" »

September 7, 2014

New Study May Reduce Brain Damage in Premature Babies

by Levin & Perconti

Premature births occur when babies are born prior to 37 weeks of gestation. The condition occurs for a number of different reasons, including mistakes or negligence by medical professionals. Mothers of premature babies deal with significant anxieties and fears. Along with the natural worries of any new mother, they are also faced with the possibility that their babies may not survive. This is because preemies are at an extreme risk due to the numerous complications that accompany premature births. Immature lungs are one of the most dangerous issues, often leading to traumatic brain injuries. According to a recent report by Fox News, researchers are working on a hormone to protect the brains of premature babies.

The American Pregnancy Association explains that the lungs of a fetus generally mature around the 36th week of gestation. When it is necessary to deliver a baby prior to this time, the physician may make the decision to inject the fetus with steroids that make the lungs develop at a faster rate. Conditions related to immature lungs include:

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