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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January 15, 2015

Malpractice Lawsuit Requirements in the State of Illinois

by Levin & Perconti

Birthing injuries are extremely challenging for families. They are particularly difficult when caused by a physician or member of the treating hospital staff. Under these circumstances, a court of law may order the payment of damages as compensation for the injury. But a malpractice claim requires more than the simple filing of a document. When instituting a malpractice lawsuit, its important to abide by the relevant laws within Illinois.

Statute of Limitations

The state places limits on the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit in Illinois courts. Under Illinois law, an injured party has two years to file a lawsuit, but there are variations on when the time begins to run. Though it typically starts on the date that the injury occurred, this isn't always practical because the victim may not be aware that the injury occurred. In this situation, the discovery rule may apply, where the statute of limitations does not start until the date that the injury is discovered. In some situations, the statute of limitations time may be interrupted, like in cases where the victim is a minor or temporarily disabled. The statute of limitations will begin running again when the child becomes an adult or the disability is cured.

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January 7, 2015

FDA Speaks About Pain Medications and Pregnancy

by Levin & Perconti

The joys of pregnancy are unfortunately mixed with a variety of aches and pains. From back strains to swollen feet, expectant mothers deal with a lot in their quest to bring new life into the world. To help women deal with these issues, physicians often prescribe pain medications as a way of managing the symptoms and making them more bearable for the pregnant mother. However, recent studies suggest that the usage of these medicines during pregnancy may have an adverse effect on the health and well-being of the newborn baby. When prescribing doctors do not adequately consider these risks and an injury results, a court of law may find liability and award compensation.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently released a safety announcement regarding the level of risk involved in taking pain medications during pregnancy. Acknowledging concerns about the safety of these medications, the government agency reviewed results from several published studies on the issue. The medications and injuries considered were:

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January 2, 2015

Enhanced Treatment Does Not Prevent Deaths Among Neonates

by Levin & Perconti

Thousands of babies are born each year with low oxygen levels, which creates a significant risk of death or long term brain injury. Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) occurs when the brain does not receive an adequate amount of oxygen. Within minutes of oxygen deprivation, brain cells begin to die, making HIE a potentially fatal condition.

To protect newborns from the fatal results of HIE, doctors often use a cooling method where the infant is purposely placed into a state of hypothermia for a specific period of time.

According to a report in the medical journal Nature, this treatment is effective at preventing death and brain injury between birth and toddler years. The effectiveness in advanced ages has yet to be determined. Treated babies were found to have increased mental and physical well being than those who were not cooled. They were 60% more likely to exhibit normal levels of intelligence, auditory abilities and vision.

According to recent reports, researchers are now trying to determine whether longer and more intense cooling treatments will produce better results. An article in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) is discussing the results of a study on longer and deeper cooling methods. The details of the study were as follows:

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December 26, 2014

Another Jury Awards Millions in Birth Injury Case

by Levin & Perconti

In the delivery room, soon-to-be mothers and fathers expect a high level of care and professionalism from their treating physician and hospital staff. Injuries and death can result when that standard is not met, leaving families with a lifetime of mental, emotional and financial challenges. With the assistance of the courts and an experienced attorney, negligent doctors and hospitals may be found liable and held responsible for their actions. That was the outcome of a recent case where a jury ruled that a negligent hospital should compensate a child and his mother.

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December 17, 2014

Court Awards Million Dollar Verdict for Cerebral Palsy Treatment

by Levin & Perconti

A federal district court recently awarded a couple $6.75 million for injuries relating the the treatment of son's condition. According to a report by Medical Press, the New York family hoped that the medication would bring relief for their young son, who was born with cerebral palsy. Instead, the it led to a life threatening condition that requires constant monitoring.
Cerebral palsy is a disorder that results from injury to the developing brain, usually occurring during pregnancy. According to cerebralpalsy.org, there are a variety of causes that lead to the condition:

***A prenatal disturbance of brain cell migrations occur with environmental factors prevent cells from moving into their correct locations within the brain

***Poor insulation of developing nerve cells occurs when the protective covering does not form adequately enough to protect nerve endings

***Prenatal brain cell death occurs when problems during the birthing process lead to a lack of oxygen to the brain or the rupturing of blood vessels within the brain

***Postnatal traumas, injuries and infections can lead to inappropriate connections between cells within the brain

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December 13, 2014

A Different Perspective - United Kingdom Encourages Home Births

by Levin & Perconti

Pregnant women in the United Kingdom are urged to give birth at home or in a birthing center. A report by NBC News discusses new guidelines issued by Britain's National Institute of Health Care and Excellence. The agency concluded that women with uncomplicated pregnancies, which reportedly accounts for about half of all cases, can safely give birth within the comfort of their home with the assistance of a midwife. According to the article, researchers asserted that women are less likely to receive unnecessary surgeries and receive unwanted medications when giving birth outside of a hospital.

This professional advise varies greatly from that given by American experts. In January of this year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a report about the dangers of home births, after noticing a slight increase in the number of women choosing this birthing environment. The greatest concern is the lack of available resources in case of emergency. A study in the American Journal of Obstetrics supports this theory. Researchers concluded that home birth pregnancies are ten times more likely to result in stillborn births than those taking place inside of a hospital. In addition, the frequency of neonatal seizures and neurological difficulty is reportedly four times higher in home births.

Why the Difference?

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December 3, 2014

Pre-Term Births Are the Leading Cause of Newborn Deaths

by Levin & Perconti

An extreme amount of caution is necessary when bringing a child into the world. Mothers trust their physicians to make appropriate decisions and facilitate a safe delivery. Unfortunately, these responsibilities are not always met, which can lead to a target="_blank"newborn injury. Birth injuries can occur through out the pregnancy, as well as during delivery. One of the most common causes of injury is preterm birth, which occurs when the baby is delivered prior to 37 weeks of pregnancy. Recent reports call it the leading cause of death among infants around the world.

According to National Public Radio (NPR), internationally, more than a million children die each year from premature birth-related complications. These numbers resulted from a study by the World Health Organization, along working with several other medical researchers. Though the highest rates of death occur in India and Nigeria, these statistics still highlight the dangers of preterm birth within the United States, particularly when adequate care is not provided.

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