June 26, 2016

How Birth Injuries Are Diagnosed and Treated

by Levin & Perconti

The birth of a child is supposed to be a joyful experience; however, it can become an upsetting event if the child is born with a birth injury. It is estimated that approximately 6 to 8 infants out of every 1,000 suffer from some type of birth injury in the United States. This equates to more than 25,000 children each year. Injuries in infants may range drastically, from minor to very severe. Minor injuries are those that will be relatively easy to treat and the child will recover completely with no long-term harm. More severe injuries could take months or years of medical treatment and rehabilitation, and sometimes the injuries are disabling.

Evaluating Infants at Birth

All infants are evaluated at birth using a system called the APGAR scale. Doctors or other medical professionals can quickly assess an infant’s overall condition by evaluating the baby’s color, heart rate, reflexes, muscle tone, and respiration. The assessment is done a minute after birth and again at five minutes. A perfect score in each category is ten. If a baby has a score lower than 7 in any category it indicates that the infant requires additional assessment and monitoring. The APGAR test is just one way to evaluate a baby. Other testing and observation is needed to further diagnose a baby’s condition.

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June 19, 2016

Jaundice in Newborns

by Levin & Perconti

The birth of a child is one of the happiest days in a parent’s life. Sometimes, however, complications at birth can cause injuries to the baby. Sometimes these injuries are minor, while other times they could be quite serious. Jaundice is a common problem with newborns at birth. Jaundice is a condition that is characterized by yellow skin color. It can also affect the whites of the baby’s eyes. Jaundice is often easily treated with no further problems. However, sometimes jaundice may not be properly diagnosed or treated, leading to medical complications.

Diagnosis of Jaundice

Jaundice
in newborns can range in severity. Mild cases of jaundice may not require any type of treatment. More severe cases require immediate treatment. Doctors and other medical professionals should diagnose and treat jaundice as quickly as possible. Blood tests should be done to determine whether a child has elevated levels of bilirubin. Bilirubin is a substance that the body creates to remove dead blood cells. The substance is then broken down in the liver so it can be removed through waste.

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June 12, 2016

Mother Filed Lawsuit after Birth Injury Caused Brain Damage to Her Newborn

by Levin & Perconti

The birth of a child is one of the most joyful experiences of a parent’s life. Yet, for one mother, the joy was quickly replaced with heartbreak when her newborn infant suffered a serious birth injury. The mother filed a lawsuit against the hospital, doctor, and several medical groups. The lawsuit is seeking a trial by jury and damages of more than $50,000.

Hypoxic Ischemic Injury

Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, HIE, is brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen (asphyxia) to the brain during labor or delivery. It is estimated that HIE effects an estimated 20 out of every 1,000 births. There is an increased instance of HIE in premature babies. HIE is a medical emergency that requires immediate care and treatment. Unfortunately, many infants suffering from HIE die as a result. HIE by asphyxiation is the most common cause of infant death in the United States, and is the most common reason for serious disabilities in infants.

Permanent Disability

HIE results in brain injuries that may range from minor to severe in nature. Infants with permanent disabilities may have limited motor skills, and reduced mental abilities. The extent of these serious injuries may not be immediately known. Once the child is older, the doctors will be able to have a better indication of the degree of severity.

Treatment for HIE

Sadly, once the brain has been damaged due to oxygen deprivation, it will not improve. The child in this case will never fully recover, and will require treatment and care for his entire life. He will never be able to live a normal life, and the parents will be facing extreme expenses and emotional distress. The lawsuit alleges that the doctors were negligent because they failed to prevent the injury and did not properly monitor the labor and delivery. Further, the doctors did not take the necessary steps immediately following delivery to diagnose and treat the infant.

Prevention of HIE

HIE can be prevented with the proper use of diagnostic and monitoring of the mother and infant during labor. If distress is noted, it is a medical emergency. HIE may sometimes be prevented by performing an emergency C-section. When the oxygen levels to the baby are monitored, a change in them should be quickly responded to. Additionally, there is some indication that immediate cooling of infants who suffered oxygen deprivation may keep the injury from worsening.

Medical Negligence

When a doctor of medical professional fails to properly treat or diagnose a medical issue, and the patient experiences a serious injury, the doctor may be responsible for medical negligence. In this case, the doctor, medical groups, and hospital, are all blamed for negligent care of the infant. While there is nothing that can be done to repair the damage that was done, legal action may help to prevent it from happening to another family in the future. A lawsuit seeks compensation for medical expenses, which are going to be astronomical over the life of the child. If your baby was injured at birth, a lawsuit may be necessary. Contact the legal team at Levin & Perconti to discuss your options.

See Related Posts:

Newborn’s Injuries Blamed on Doctor’s Negligence

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June 5, 2016

Brachial Plexus Newborn Injuries

by Levin & Perconti

Most babies are born without complications; however, some infants suffer injuries during birth. It is estimated that 6 to 8 out of every 1,000 newborns suffer birth injuries. These injuries include relatively minor injuries, as well as major, disabling medical problems. Of these injuries, some of the most common occur when there is damage to the brachial plexus during birth. Infants are particularly susceptible to suffering medical injuries because of improper handling or mistakes made during labor or delivery.

Brachial Plexus

The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves that is located in the upper shoulder and neck area of the body. The nerves can be damaged when the area is pulled or pinched, such as can occur during a particularly difficult birth. When nerve damage happens it may be relatively minor and the child will eventually make a full recovery. Nerve damage may also be extensive. When the area is permanently damaged, permanent disability is the possible outcome. The child could have restricted movement of the shoulder, arm, and hand, as well as possible nerve problems that affect facial muscles. The problems are associated with the side of the body where the immediate damage happened.

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May 27, 2016

Newborn’s Death Prompts Lawsuit

by Levin & Perconti

The birth of a baby should be a happy day for parents. However, for one family, the joy of birth quickly turned to despair when their newborn infant died just minutes after she was born. The infant’s mother filed a lawsuit in Cook County alleging the doctor and hospital failure to provide proper obstetrical care. According to the lawsuit, the medical team did not take steps necessary to ensure a safe birth and therefore, the baby died. The lawsuit seeks damages of more than the jurisdictional limits and is requesting a trial by jury.

Proper Procedures Not Followed

The newborn death rate in the United States is lower than in many other countries, however, there are still mistakes that may occur during labor or delivery. Hospitals should follow the proper procedures during labor to reduce the risk of complications during birth. One of the procedures that was not followed in this case, according to court documents, was monitoring of the baby’s heartbeat through ultrasound. The baby apparently experienced some trauma which would have been quickly detected through monitoring. The baby should have been delivered immediately, possibly through cesarean section.

Medical Negligence

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May 13, 2016

Lawsuit Alleges Birth Injuries Were Caused by Medical Negligence

by Levin & Perconti

The birth of a child should be a happy experience, but for one family, the happiness turned to sadness when the baby suffered a birth injury. The parents have filed a lawsuit in Cook County against a hospital and medical team that were allegedly negligent in their treatment, causing serious and permanent injuries to the infant. The lawsuit requests a trial by jury and damages in excess of $50,000.

Crash Cesarean Section

A crash cesarean section, or c-section, is performed on an emergency basis. Therefore, the c-section was not previously planned as part of the pregnancy medical exams. A c-section is a medical procedure to extract the infant, which is done instead of a vaginal birth. The c-section is often completed as a precaution to ensure the infant remains safe and healthy during labor and delivery. In this case, the woman’s c-section was done at the last minute and the baby suffered a birth injury.

Permanent Birth Injuries

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May 6, 2016

Premature Babies May be at Higher Risk for Birth Injuries

by Levin & Perconti

Parents expect that their baby will be born happy and healthy, and without complications. Sometimes, however, complications do occur. While not frequent, complications during labor and delivery can cause mistakes to happen which could result in birth injuries. Premature babies may be at a higher risk for birth injuries because of their small size and other factors.

Premature Babies

The normal pregnancy should last approximately 40 weeks. An infant born at 37 weeks or less is considered premature. Giving birth to a premature infant can be a very scary experience. The parents are likely not prepared for the birth as it usually comes as a surprise. However, there are times when the doctor notes that there could be the possibility of a premature birth. For example, multiple births are often born earlier. Other conditions could also cause premature labor.

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May 5, 2016

Newborn’s Injuries Blamed on Doctor’s Negligence

by Levin & Perconti

The birth of your baby is one of the best days of a parent’s life – unless something goes wrong. When a problem during labor or delivery occurs, it can cause injuries to the baby. Some of these injuries are minor, while other times they could be severe, or even life-threatening. A recent lawsuit was filed in Cook County claiming that the medical provider was negligent and caused a serious and permanent birth injury to an infant during delivery. The lawsuit is seeking damages in excess of $50,000 from each of five defendants, including Northwest Community Hospital, a medical center, and several members of the medical team.

Types of Birth Injuries

There are a number of different birth injuries that are the most common occurrences in newborns. Some of the most common injuries include bone fractures, brachial plexus injuries, and bruises. More serious injuries include hemorrhages, and asphyxia, which can cause brain damage. Many minor injuries will heal quickly with only minimal treatment while more severe injuries may require surgery and long-term care. Permanent injuries can cause life-long disabilities to the child and will certainly be emotionally challenging for the family, as well as extremely costly.

Clavicle Fracture

The infant in this case suffered a severe clavicle facture. The clavicle is also known as the collar bone. It is located near the brachial plexus, a bundle of nerves near the shoulder. When the clavicle is fractured it can cause damage to the brachial plexus, resulting in restricted movement of the arm or hand. It is estimated that as many as 1 in 11 infants with a clavicle fracture also suffer from a brachial plexus injury. The injury affects the nerves and they may heal after a period of time, depending on the extent of the injuries. Fractures can usually be avoided when doctors take proper care during labor and delivery.

Medical Negligence

In this case, the lawsuit states that the health care providers failed to take sufficient measures to ensure the health of the infant during birth. The doctors should have noticed that the birth was a difficult one, and therefore taken steps to provide a safe delivery. According to the paperwork, the medical team was negligent by failing to exercise proper care during delivery and by failing to recommend a cesarean section be performed, rather than proceed with a highly risky vaginal delivery. As a result, the infant suffered severe and permanent injuries.

Birth Injury Lawsuit

Birth injuries are unexpected and can be devastating to the parents. The child could face years of pain and may need to undergo numerous medical treatments and surgeries in order to recover. Sadly, some children will never fully recover. This will cause them to have a permanent disability, which will require ongoing care and treatment. There is nothing that can be done to change the unfortunate circumstances that resulted in the injuries; however, parents can make a claim to seek the compensation their child is entitled to.

The child in this case was severely injured and the parents are seeking damages on his behalf. Damages typically include money to cover medical costs, future treatment and care, money for pain and suffering, and for loss of enjoyment of life. If your infant was injured during birth due to negligence, you may be entitled to money. Contact the experienced legal team at Levin & Perconti to discuss your case.

See Related Posts:

What to Do After a Birth Injury

Facial Nerve Palsy May be Caused by Birth Trauma

April 28, 2016

What to Do After a Birth Injury

by Levin & Perconti

The birth of your child is one of the happiest times in your life. Bringing home a healthy baby is the hope of every family. Yet sometimes something goes wrong and the infant suffers an injury. Even with today’s modern technology, birth injuries still occur. When an infant suffers a birth injury it may be the result of a mistake made by the doctor or medical staff. Birth injuries are not only emotionally difficult; they can also be financially overwhelming.

Birth Injuries

There are a number of different birth injuries that may occur. Some of them are relatively minor and the child will have a full recovery while others may be permanently disabling. Some of the most common types of birth injuries include broken bones, bruises, brachial plexus injuries, perinatal asphyxia, facial paralysis, spinal cord injuries, and cerebral palsy. Many of these injuries are preventable and when they occur they are likely due to negligence – also known as medical malpractice.

Common risk factors and conditions that occur at birth that may make birth injury more likely are:

· Large Baby
· Low Apgar Score
· Vacuum Assisted Birth
· Use of Forceps
· Preterm Baby
· Fetal Distress
· Breech Birth

When a baby suffers an injury at birth, parents are focused on the health of the child and on the medical treatment and recovery of the baby. Parents may not be aware of how the birth injury occurred in the first place. If your child was injured it is important to keep medical records of every detail of medical care and treatment. You may want to seek help from an experienced birth injury attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer understands how to research and review medical records to determine exactly what happened and why. If the birth injury was caused by the negligence of the doctor you may be entitled to financial compensation.

Questions to Ask

Parents of a child who suffered a birth injury will have many questions. Keep a notebook to record the information that you receive so it can be more easily communicated later. Some of the many important questions to ask include:

· What Injury Occurred?
· Was the Injury Preventable?
· What Tests are Needed?
· Does My Child Require Surgery?
· What is the Treatment for the Injury?
· What is the Prognosis for Recovery?
· What Medical Treatment Will Be Needed?
· How Long with Recovery Take?
· What Should We Expect as Parents?
· What Should We Look For As Our Child Grows?

As with any medical condition, it may be wise to get another medical opinion regarding the birth injury. This is especially important if the injury may have been caused by the doctor who is currently treating the baby. Some injuries are apparent immediately while others may not surface for weeks, months, or even years.

Get Legal Help

When a birth injury happens to your child legal assistance may not be the first thing on your mind. Yet, a preventable birth injury will take its toll on the entire family and will especially impact finances. Medical treatment will be expensive – in some cases treatment and care will be required for the child’s entire life. There may be some limitations on filing a claim so it is necessary to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will gather the information required to proceed and will advise you as to your options every step of the way. You deserve compensation to cover the needs of your child. If your baby suffered an injury at birth contact Levin & Perconti to discuss your case today.

See Related Posts:

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April 20, 2016

Cerebral Palsy May Be Caused by Birth Trauma

by Levin & Perconti

Cerebral palsy, CP, is a disorder that impacts muscle movement, muscle tone, and brain function. According to the United Cerebral Palsy Foundation (UCP), about 800,000 people in the United States have cerebral palsy. This number includes both children and adults. Cerebral palsy is a very serious condition that has no known cure. There are some treatments that can be helpful for some. There are many CP symptoms which may range from mild to severe.

Causes of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy typically occurs either during a baby’s development before birth or due to a complication during labor or delivery. CP is triggered by a disruption or abnormality in brain development, however, there is still much for doctors to learn about it. An infection of the mother or fetus during development could cause the onset of CP. A fetal stroke is also thought to be a possible cause. During labor or delivery a lack of oxygen to the brain, called asphyxia, could cause CP. A traumatic head injury to the infant during birth or shortly thereafter could also trigger CP.

Birth Complications Could Cause CP

Cerebral palsy could be caused by a mistake made during labor or delivery. Complications arise that could cause serious injuries to the infant. The baby could be oxygen deprived because of a delayed or difficult labor. The doctor may need to utilize instruments such as forceps or a vacuum to assist in the birth and the improper use of these could cause injury to the baby. If a doctor was negligent when delivering the baby it may be a case of medical malpractice.

Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

Sometimes the signs of CP are apparent immediately after birth while other times the symptoms are not revealed until the child begins to develop. Those with severe CP may have limp limbs or neck, a droopy eye, or may have tremors. Other symptoms include drooling or difficulty swallowing, slow movements, and stiff muscles. As children develop they may have delayed development in both speech and motor skills. They may have problems trying to crawl or walk and they are usually behind in the major milestones of development. Sometimes one side of the body is primarily affected. For children with mostly brain developmental difficulties, cerebral palsy may not be diagnosed for several or more years after birth.

Treatment of CP

The severity of CP will not change over time because the damage has already occurred. Therefore, treatment is the only option for children or adults suffering from cerebral palsy. It is important to have the child examined by a neurological specialist a soon as possible. Symptoms may appear differently over time and as the child grows. Intellectual disabilities may not be completely determined until the child is old enough to speak and learn. Those with CP will require continual medical care and treatment. The costs of this ongoing care can be astronomical and may take a financial and emotional toll on the parents and family.

If CP was caused by a medical mistake, families need to take legal action to get the compensation necessary to cover the medical expenses and other damages due to the negligence. If your child suffered may have suffered cerebral palsy because of medical malpractice, contact the experienced legal team at Levin & Perconti to discuss your case.

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Low Apgar Score Could Indicate Birth Injury

April 13, 2016

Facial Nerve Palsy May Be Caused by Birth Trauma

by Levin & Perconti

The birth of your child is the happiest day in a parent’s life, unless there is a problem. While most births happen without any complications, sometimes a mistake occurs that can cause a birth injury. Facial nerve palsy is one type of injury that can happen during the birth of a newborn. Facial nerve palsy is the loss of voluntary muscle control of the face. While it can be serious, the condition often goes away over time. The injury is caused by pressure put on the baby’s seventh cranial nerve during birth.

Seventh Cranial Nerve Damage

The seventh cranial nerve is located in the face or neck area. In infants, this nerve can be more easily damaged. Damage may occur when forceps are used to assist in extracting the baby. Some factors that could increase the likelihood of facial nerve palsy include a large birth weight baby, long labor, the use of an epidural, and the use of medication to hasten labor. These situations could make the birth more difficult and create a need for medical intervention during delivery. This could increase the possibility of a birth injury.

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April 6, 2016

New Study Links Premature Birth to Air Pollution

by Levin & Perconti

Premature birth is a serious problem for newborns. A premature birth can be the cause of many medical conditions and could be dangerous. Premature births can also create complications during the labor and delivery, making it more likely that a birth injury could occur. A recent study published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH, concludes that there is a link between premature births and harmful particulates in the air. This new finding shows that those living in the most polluted areas have the highest incidence of preterm deliveries.

Premature Births

The standard pregnancy term is about 40 weeks and any babies born after week 37 are counted as full-term. Preemies born prior to 37 weeks may have very significant medical issues due to underdevelopment. Those infants closer to full term are usually more likely to survive and have fewer medical and developmental problems than those younger infants. Some of the problems that can occur with premature babies include breathing or lung function problems, digestion problems, impaired hearing or vision, and delayed growth including behavioral development. Premature infants are also at higher risk for birth injuries.

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