September 25, 2009

Types of Birth Injuries: Cerebral Palsy

One of the most serious and devastating types of birth injuries is cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a term that encompasses many disorders, all of which affect muscle control and movement. Babies can be born with cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy can be caused by medical malpractice during birth, such as brain trauma or a lack of oxygen to the brain during birth. Although no two cases are exactly the same, cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition that often requires therapy, ongoing medical care, and treatment. If you believe you or a loved one has suffered cerebral palsy as a result of birth trauma or negligence by a health care provider, the birth injury attorneys of Levin & Perconti may be able to help you seek fair compensation for these injuries. To learn more about cerebral palsy or other birth injuries, follow the link to the Center for Disease Control’s website.

September 15, 2009

First Paxil Birth Defect Lawsuit is Set to Begin

The first Paxil lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline over alleged birth defects caused by the antidepressant is scheduled for trial to begin today in Philadelphia. This is one of approximately 600 similar claims involving heart defects and other injuries suffered by babies born to woman who used Paxil. The birth injury lawsuit claims that the use of Paxil resulted in life-threatening heart defects in her three-year-old son. Paxil is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor prescribed to treat depression. It is one of the most common drugs prescribed in the Untied States. The plaintiffs claimed that GlaxoSmithKline knew about the potential for Paxil to cause birth defects, but hid data and failed to warn users of the potential birth defect side effects. The FDA released an alert in 2005 that studies showed that the drug could increase the risk of heart defects in infants when taken during the first three months of pregnancy. It then required the company to update Paxil label warnings to include the risk of birth defects. The company says there is no conclusive evidence that Paxil causes birth defects, and intend to argue that the injury suffered by the plaintiff’s son was not caused by the use of Paxil. The plaintiff’s son was born with holes in his heart that had to be addressed with multiple surgeries before he was six months old, which the birth defect lawsuit says is the result of the Paxil. To read more about the birth injury lawsuit, please click the link.

September 2, 2009

The Small Picture: Fighting Cerebral Palsy with Nanotechnology

A research team at Wayne State University is convinced that the big solution to preventing and treating cerebral palsy may come in a small package. The husband-and-wife team consisting of chemical engineering professor, Rangaramanujam Kannan and assistant pediatrics professor Dr. Sujatha Kannan, has received a patent for using tiny polymers to attack what it considers to be the root of the disorder: inflammation in the brain.

Cerebral palsy is a condition made up of a group of motor disorders caused by brain damage that often occurs after suffering from a birth injury or an infection that develops while in the womb. Prevention of the condition has thus far proven to be very difficult because it is generally diagnosed only after the damage has already occurred.

The research team has developed tiny tree-shaped polymers called dendrimers, which range from 5-10 nanometers long (over 700 times smaller than a human red blood cell), that are used to carry medicine directly to inflamed areas in the brain. The team believes that this method, in conjunction with the identification and diagnosis of the neuroinflammation in newborns, could prevent, or at least reduce, the development of cerebral palsy. Dr. Kannan is currently able to detect such inflammation in the brains of newborn rabbits and she believes that doctors might eventually be able to do the same in human newborns. Once detected, the dendrimers could then be used to target the inflammation, which in turn could prevent the condition from developing.

For more information on using this nanotechnology to treat cerebral palsy, click here.

September 1, 2009

Court Ruling May Expand Cases Covered by Newborn Injury Fund

A Florida appeals court ruling this month may significantly broaden the number of brain injuries covered by a “no fault” insurance fund for birth-related injuries. Attorneys for the fund, which is paid for by doctor and hospitals known as the Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association, or NICA, plan to ask the court of appeal to clarify the ruling. The presumption of the ruling is that medical malpractice claims should be covered under NICA and should also be applied to doctors and hospitals that are defendants in such cases. In its ruling, the court also said that neurological injuries that “manifest at a later date” can also be compensated by the fund which relies on annual assessments from doctors and hospitals as well as membership dues from obstetricians. The goal of the NICA was to lower the cost of medical malpractice insurance for those who deliver babies and providing compensation for a limited number of catastrophic injuries including death. These cases are not compensable through traditional litigation. Illinois should consider adopting a fund that helps victims of birth injuries. To read more about the change in birth injury compensation, please click the link.