October 31, 2011

Umbilical Cord Death Leads to Birth Injury Lawsuit

The Vancouver Sun reported this weekend on a birth injury lawsuit filed by the parents of a child who died at the age of five months. The couple’s saga began two years ago, when their young son was born after 40 agonizing hours of labor. The child’s umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck at birth, ultimately causing him to suffer a permanent, severe brain injury. The injury was debilitating, and it led to his passing only five months later.

According to statements made in court documents, the mother had a healthy and uncomplicated pregnancy. The birth problems and resultant injury were caused, claim the plaintiffs, by a string of negligent actions on the part of the medical professionals involved in the delivery. Specifically, the couple claims that the doctors and nurses failed to properly monitor the baby’s condition during delivery and were inadequate prepared for an emergency delivery. For example, the couple claims in the birth injury lawsuit documents that the nurses did not let the doctors know in a timely fashion about problems noticed with the child’s heartbeat.

This tragic birth injury story also led to an area professor’s calling for an inquest. The nursing professor explained that government officials should look into the incident at the hospital, based concerns that the medical facility did not follow proper procedure. It remains to be seen whether the academic’s call for further investigation will be heeded or what affect that might have on the lawsuit in question.

As is common in these cases, the suit names a variety of defendants, including the hospital, doctors, nurses, and several other oversight bodies. Potential liability in all cases in based upon unique rules of lawsuit exposure. Vicarious liability, joint and severable liability, agency rules, and similar principles must be considered when determining who should be joined in a lawsuit. Of course, most victims are aware of the specific individuals who fail to provide them proper care. But the law also holds those who employ those individuals accountable for their work-related actions in most cases. Further, in many hospitals today, there are unique employment relationships which must be taken into consideration. Doctors are often not employed directly by the hospital, though their connection to the hospital is often so intertwined that they are considered agents of the medical center for liability purposes. After hearing details about your situation and investigating the matter, a legal professional will be able to explain who may be held liable for a birthing error if a lawsuit is filed.

Our Chicago birth injury lawyer knows that many things can go wrong during a delivery. At times those complications are completely unavoidable. However, there are other times where the medical professionals involved fail to take actions that they should have which may have saved a child’s life or prevented injury. It is often hard for the involved families to understand the difference between these two situations. Often it is only through focused investigation, depositions, and inquiries following the filing of a lawsuit, that certain details about care provided are uncovered.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Birth Defects Linked to Various Persistent Organic Pollutants

Family Awarded $4.5 Million Following Birth Injury Lawsuit

October 30, 2011

New AAJ Report Explores Hypocrisy of Tort Reform Proponents

Most Illinois birth injury cases are rooted in the law of medical negligence. That is because, as one would expect, when a birth injury lawsuit is filed, it is because the victim believes that their child’s harm was caused by medical mistakes. The errors could occur in a variety of ways, from failing to perform a timely C-section to applying too much force when extracting the child. In all cases, however, the failure of the doctor to perform in a way that other reasonable doctors would is at the heart of the suit.

However victims in those exact cases are the ones for whom many “tort reformers” are working to take away basic legal rights. Medical malpractices lawsuits are the main focus of reform efforts, though many of the biggest corporate proponents are also seeking to take away victims’ rights in a variety of other contexts. It is safe to say that many large companies would have little problem completely insulating themselves from the potential ramifications of their own misconduct. For example, Illinois nursing home abuse victims are at risk of losing their ability to hold negligent long-term care facilities accountable, if changes are made at the federal level to enact a bill known as House Resolution 5. The legislation would force all states to enact a wide range of draconian measures that do nothing more than take away the ability of everyday citizens to file suits against large corporations that cause them harm. It is in many ways an immense abuse of power that must be fought against.

The nature of these advocacy efforts are disturbing. Even more disturbing is the hypocrisy underlying many of these arguments made by powerful corporate interests. At the core of this is an attempt by these interests to maximize their bottom line—not a principled effort to enact legal changes. As a new American Association of Justice report reveals, there is an immense level of hypocrisy behind the efforts of many involved in these efforts. Many corporations have no problems using the civil justice system when they think they have been wronged, but they still work to take away the rights of others in the same position. The latest study into that hypocrisy, entitled “Do As I Say, Not As I Sue” takes a close look at the corporate members of a group at the forefront of effort to take away legal rights from community members—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Institute for Legal Reform” (ILR).

There are ten corporate ILR board members, and virtually all of them use the legal system in big ways when they feel they’ve been wronged. For example, Honeywell International is one of the most prolific corporate plaintiffs—taking many groups to court for a variety of causes each year. Yet, whenever the shoe is on the other foot, they simply blame the system itself and blame their victims for seeking to hold them accountable for their misconduct. After losing a case in Illinois for their dangerous conduct related to asbestos, the company used the opportunity to publically ridicule the state for its judicial practices. Some of the other corporate board members have been just as hypocritical. Caterpillar, for example, used the justice system to sue Disney because it felt that the depiction of bulldozers in a small-time, straight-to-DVD movie was overly villainous, potentially hurting their bulldozer business. And yet they think victims of life-long, debilitating birth defects should not have the right to go to court?

Our Illinois personal injury lawyers remain proud to help victims in our area that have suffered harm because of the carelessness of others. That is why we stand for all those who use the civil justice system, because it is in many ways the only place where all are on equal footing. The nation’s founders understood this, and that is why they enshrined the system without our national framework. If you or a loved one has been harmed because the medical providers failed to provide you with a basic level of care during the birth of your child, please get in touch with an Illinois birth injury lawyer and learn how the justice system can protect your rights.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

It Remains Difficult For Some Victims to Receive Compensation For Their Harm

Respected National Think Tank Criticizes Damage Caps

October 29, 2011

Toddler Left Brain Damaged After Blind Cord Hanging Injury

Earlier this week our Illinois birth accident lawyer shared information about the risks presented by certain products meant to protect newborns, like crib bumpers. We also alluded to other common ways that infants and toddlers are severely injured by seemingly innocuous products or objects, such as window blind cords. Unfortunately, accidents still strike even though awareness of these dangers has spread.

For example, the Daily Mail just reported on the tragic blind cord accident that has just left a two-year old girl permanently brain damaged and paralyzed. According to reports the young victim was put to bed by her parents last week at her regular time. However, without her parents knowing, the toddler crawled out of bed and began walking along a window near her room. However, the loop in the blind cord somehow became tangled on the girl’s neck. It began choking her and depriving oxygen to the brain. It was only a fluke by which the girl’s father happened to be walking by his daughter’s room and saw her hanging unconscious from the window. He immediately began performing CPR, and an ambulance was called.

Fortunately, the emergency rescuers were able to stabilize the girl but not before permanent brain damage resulted. The family reports that the child will have severe repercussions on the rest of her life. She will no longer be able to walk, talk, or feed herself. Obviously she will require close life-long care. The child was in a coma for a week after the accident, and has been in a rehabilitation facility for the severely disabled since her release from the hospital.

Our Illinois injury attorneys remain very saddened by these stories of serious injury—and sometimes death—caused by dangerous products. Looped blind cords have already been banned in the United States, specifically because of the dangers they pose to young children. However, that does not mean that these cords do not exist in homes where toddlers may be present. The ban affects the manufacture of these products. Many older homeowners who have not changes these cords may still have them up, exposing youngsters to unnecessary risks. It is incumbent that all families take stock to ensure that they do not have these dangerous products.

Families, day-care operators, babysitters, and all those who interact with young children should ensure that all forms of hidden dangers are investigated. While news of these stories shock the conscience and may appear like flukes that cannot be guarded against, oftentimes simple acts could have prevented the tragedy. Our Illinois birth injury lawyers have helped many families deal with the consequences of accidents that have affected their young children. Even those situations which at first do not seem caused by any negligence are ultimately discovered to have a root cause in certain carelessness. In the birth injury context, that typically includes problems during the birth of the child or inadequate care being given to the mother during the course of the pregnancy. Fortunately, the law protects victims of these situations. Please give us a call if you or a loved one may have been hurt in this way to see if we can help.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Child Safety Advocates Warn Against Using Crib Bumpers

Family of Injured Boy Seeks Approval of $30M Award in Birth Injury Lawsuit

October 28, 2011

Early Research Hints At Link Between Prenatal Anti-Depressant Use and Autism

The Illinois birth injury lawyers at our firm know that autism is one of the most well-known childhood developmental disorders, affecting countless families in our area and throughout the country. As PubMed Health explains, autism affects the development of the brain, particularly areas affecting social and communication skills. According to the latest information released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), autism is more common than many suspect. Boys are affected upwards of four times more than girls

No specific causes have yet to be proven, however it has been linked to abnormal biology and brain chemistry. Most suspect that a combination of factors is likely at play. On one hand, genetic factors are involved, because identical twins are much more likely than sibling or even fraternal twins to both have autism. However, the research area remains very active and experts continue to work every day on studies that shed more light on what might cause the developmental disorder.

Just this week the Health Jockey reported on the results of a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which may ultimately prove to have implications for the way certain drugs are known to influence autism. The new research out of the University of Mississippi Centre and University of California has found that rats which used anti-depressants during certain developmental phases displayed abnormalities similar to human autism sufferers. The specific drugs involved are known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and some involved believe that consumption of the drugs during conception may contribute to autism.

The analysis in this case involved nearly 200 rats which were exposed to the drugs during specific brain development stages. They were treated for a span of two weeks beginning roughly a week after their birth. Experts explain that this is similar to the third trimester and early infancy in humans. When compared with a control group, the rats treated with SSRIs showed significantly less playfulness, and weaker socialization. Interestingly, the influence of the drug exposure appeared more prominent in male rats than in females, similar to the prevalence found in human autism.

The lead researchers in the study explained that that “this study is a starting point and a lot more research needs to be done.” Those involved next plan to examine SSRIs in human tests. They plan on considering the effects of certain dosages and the time of use to determine if an autism connection can be found.

The Chicago personal injury attorneys at our firm work with individuals who suffer a wide range of harm, from medical malpractice to preventable birth defects. Of course, not all types of injury or developmental problems are caused by things that could have been prevented had others acted more carefully. However, as medical research improves and new information is found about the causes of certain problems, including autism, birth defects, and other issues, than it is important for those in a position to prevent the resultant harm to do so. This includes those helping guide parents through the prenatal care.

If at any time you or a loved one suspects that they have not received the care to which you were entitled which may have prevents injury to you or a new child, please get in touch with our office to learn how we can help.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

The Connection Between Birth Defects and Antidepressants

Birth Injuries – Could There Be a Link to Autism?

October 27, 2011

World’s Largest Study Underway on the Fear of Childbirth

Every Illinois birth injury attorney knows that medical patients deserve care that is tailored specifically to their needs at all times. This may seem intuitive, but it is an important principle that is often forgotten and occasionally at the heart of some medical caregiving problems. In the Illinois birth injury context, this means that doctors must not simply “go through the motions” when providing prenatal care, but instead they must ensure that the risks, concerns, and issues that are seen in each patient guide the treatment and care provided. Most medical providers obviously follow this demand at all times, and provide the care needed to guide the patient through to the best outcome possible. However, there remain some doctors who cut corners in the process, failing to take each patient’s specific needs into account, ultimately resulting in harm that could have been prevented.

Of course, the health of an expectant mother can have significant ramifications on the development and birth of their child. This includes both the physical health of the mother, as well as the social and emotional health of the expecting mother. Many medical providers are still working to understand the full scope of these issues. For example, according to a recent CNN report, researchers were puzzled recently to learn that there is a significant increase in natural childbirths on Valentine’s Day and a similar decrease in those births on Halloween. While doctor’s are still unsure what specific processes lead to these statistics, it is currently assumed that in some way the holidays affect the mother’s mental state influences the birth, even though it is not consciously in their control.

Another unique concern that must be taken into account is a growing body of research into the serious phobia that some women have of childbirth. Information on this phobia is still incomplete, but some medical professionals across the world explain that anywhere from five to ten percent of pregnant women need some treatment for their fear of childbirth. As explained this week by Medical News, if untreated, the fear may result in a wide range of birth injuries and harm to both the new child and the mother.

A new study—the largest ever of its kind—is currently underway that is looking into the way that the fear my affect deliveries of children. For example, if a woman’s fear of natural childbirth is so strong, it may be necessary to schedule a planned C-section to prevent possible natural birth complications. However, C-sections are more risky on the whole than vaginal births, and so those C-sections should only be performed when necessary. Better understanding the scope of the birth phobia problem and the actual effects that it has on delivery are essential to understanding exactly how the delivery and prenatal care should be influenced by the fear.

Continue reading " World’s Largest Study Underway on the Fear of Childbirth " »

October 26, 2011

New Research Links Another Pesticide to Birth Defects

Some causes of birth defect are difficult to precisely root out. It often takes years of careful analysis, clear sighted research, and close scrutiny before conclusive statements can be made about a particular cause of certain medical problems. However, once that cause has been found, it is incumbent upon all those in a position to do something about it to actually take action. Similarly, even if research is still being conducted to more clearly support a certain conclusion, those involved can take preventative measure to properly account for the risks that a certain product, action, or circumstance can affect the proper development of a child.

For example, this weekend Max Health discussed new research which is leading many scientists to conclude that a wide range of environmental pollutants increase the chance that children will be born some medical problems, such as autism. The new data was released jointly by researchers based out of the University of Texas and Peking University. Many scientists involved believe that the soon there will be enough data to show that autism is primarily caused by environmental pollutants alone. For decades experts have been searching to determine the precise causes of a variety of problems affecting children from birth like autism.

This latest study did not focus solely on autism. In addition, those involved examined incident rates of spina bifida and anencephaly. Both problems are related to neural tube defects. Spina bifidia results from a lack of fusion of the spinal cord while anencephaly leads to absence of part of the brain. Children can live for a time with spina bifida, though most infants born with anencephaly typically die at birth. In this latest study, researchers examined of a wide range of birth defects on their potential connection to parental exposure to certain nearby pollutants. Researchers measured mothers based on a variety of factors, including their proximity to sites with known high pollution levels and measurements in their placenta for high concentration of two pesticides—endosulfan and lindane.

Overall, researchers found a strong link between exposure to these pollutants and incidents of spina bifida and anencephaly. The two pollutants measured here had been used in the United States for years. However, both have very recently been banned. Endosulfan is an organochlorine pesticide similar to DDT. Lindane is still used to treat lice and scabies, but it can no longer be used for agricultural purposes.

Our Illinois birth defect attorney knows that this and similar research may have important effects on future birth injury lawsuits related to these toxins. As the lead researcher in the study explained, “we’ve suspected for a while that some of these pollutants are related to an increase in birth defects, but we haven’t always had to evidence to show it.” With the evidence building, more options may be open for those whose families have been victimized by exposure to these products. We urge all those in our area who suspect that outside products may have been involved in a birth defect, to contact our office to learn how the legal system may allow them to receive compensation for the losses that they have suffered as a result of the injury.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Birth Defects Linked to Various Persistent Organic Pollutants

Family Awarded $4.5 Million Following Birth Injury Lawsuit

October 25, 2011

Child Safety Advocates Warn Against Using Crib Bumpers

The Illinois child injury lawyers at our firm have worked with many families whose new additions have suffered a variety of injuries. Of course the birth of a new family member is one of the most joyous moments in the life. It is natural for many families to do everything humanely possible to ensure that the child is born without complications and is not harmed as they grow up in ways that will affect the rest of their lives.

At times children are hurt in ways that parents could not have prevented—such as when a birth injury occurs as the result of malpractice on the part of the medical professionals involved. However, once the child is at home, safe and sound, there are still many dangers that parents must guard against. Accidents will always happen that could never be expected. However, as those accidents occur, families, babysitters, child product manufacturers and others can learn from them and take steps to prevent future harm.

For example, many were shocked when stories first came out about young children that were killed or severely injured after being caught in the window blind cords. At first, no one knew that such accident could occur. However, after those first accidents all those in position to prevent the similar tragedies were put on notice. Manufacturers were then in a position to create designs which were safer for children and caregivers were made aware of steps that could be taken to ensure blind cords did not pose a threat to those in their care.

Along those same lines, CNN reported this week on warnings being made about a once-popular child safety device: crib bumpers. It is being reported that a group of doctors is urging parents not to use crib bumpers at all because of fear that they increase the risk of suffocation and entrapment accidents. Crib bumpers are pads that are added to the inside of the crib to prevent a child from sticking body parts through the crib slats and from making contact with the wood on the crib. The new warning comes as part of a larger scale statement addressing “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome” (SIDS) from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The doctor involved in the statement explained that there have now been several different studies which have not found any benefit to the bumpers. Considering that there have been several deaths connected to the product, there remains little reason why parents should put these pads in the cribs under any circumstances.

Continue reading " Child Safety Advocates Warn Against Using Crib Bumpers " »

October 24, 2011

Brachial Plexus Injuries Come As A Surprise to Most Families

No family goes into a pregnancy assuming that something will go wrong. However, while reading about the risks presented to new children, many parents learn about a variety of birth injuries that they might have to deal with, along with the odds of each one striking. However, there is one injury that most families rarely learn anything about, but which affects roughly two or three children out of every thousands—brachial plexus injuries.

As our Illinois birth injury lawyers have recently shared, brachial plexus injuries are caused by the stretching, tearing, or detaching of nerves connecting a child’s arm to his spinal cord. The injury usually results during childbirth itself, when the baby is extracted from the mother.

Recently, the Fergus Falls Journal discussed a local family whose son suffered a brachial plexus injury. It was explained how sometimes the injury is less severe if the nerves or only stretched. In that case, the problem may heal over time, with less long-term effects on the life of the child. However, the baby in this case suffered what is known as an “avulsion” which was a complete detachment of nerves from the spinal cord. The detachment involved nerves controlling his hand, wrist, and forearm. As a result, it effectively means that the boy’s arm is completely paralyzed. The child in this case has no function or feeling below the elbow (it just hand at his side). However, he has some feeling (but no function) above the elbow.

There are a variety of consequences faced by this family, beyond which most might suspect. For one thing, the child’s arm problems affect his mobility. He cannot crawl or roll over. In addition, the family has to be particularly careful that his wrist, arm, or fingers remain safe and do not get bent the wrong way. The child’s inability to feel anything there makes him prone to suffering an injury unknowingly that has long-term complications.

The boy’s has already undergone surgery in an attempt to correct a few torn nerves in the arm. The surgery involved the taking of certain nerves from the baby’s feet and moving them into the arm. This will result in decreased sensation on the outside of his feet, but it should not affect his walking or running. In addition, the baby undergoes physical therapy exercises every day in an effort to improve his range of motion. It is vital that the family work both with his good arm and affected arm, so that the growing child understands that he actually has two arms.

The family has been left with a lot of questions about the cause of the injury. They have since learned that repositioning the mother during birth can open the pelvis about 30 percent more, usually enough to allow a child to exit without injury. Similarly, having a C-section performing when a particularly big child is born often prevents these sorts of injuries. In all cases in our area where a medical professional failed to act reasonably, leading to a birth injury, the involved families should know that they can contact a Chicago birth injury lawyer to learn if they have a legal action against the wrongdoers.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Illinois Brachial Plexus Birth Injuries Affect Local Residents

Family Recieves $1.3 Million In Brachial Plexus Birth Injury Lawsuit

October 23, 2011

Family Raises Awareness About Rare Birth Injury—Congenital diaphragmatic hernia

Our Illinois birth injury lawyers are familiar with a wide range of injuries that can affect new children because of our work helping families working through these situations. However, for the majority of the public their first serious encounter with these injuries arises when they themselves, a friend, or family member has a child who suffers from one of these Illinois birth defects. This is why it is important for all those who have a child who was injured or passed away because of problems at birth to share their story and raise awareness of their particular struggle.

This week Whig News recently shared the story of a woman who is doing just that to raise awareness of the rare birth defect from which her daughter suffers. The mother explained that her young child is lucky to be alive after being born with congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Little is known about the problem, though it is more common than more publicized injuries like spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, and cystic fibrosis. One out of every two thousands children are born with the hernia each year.

Congenital diaphragmatic hernia arises where there is an absence or hole in the child’s diaphragm. It most commonly occurs on the left side of the body and causes the contents of the abdomen—like the stomach, intestines, and liver—to go through the opening and into the victim’s chest. This intrusion prevents proper lung development, resulting in breathing problems upon the child’s birth. There are two type of the hernia. The first, Bochdalek hernia, arises when there is an opening on the back side of the diaphragm causing the stomach intestines, liver, or spleen to move into the chest cavity. The second form is known as Morgagni hernia. It is the rarer of the two and involves a frontal diaphragm opening through which the liver or intestines enters the cavity.

The woman profiled in the story is hoping to raise money to help treat those suffering from this condition. The advocate explained that some families find out about the problem before birth, usually through an ultrasound revealing breathing problems with the child. This mother explained that when her daughter was finally born, emergency action had to be taken nearly at once to save her life. She was airlifted to a bigger hospital during which times her lungs collapsed on at least four occasions. It wasn’t until two weeks later that she showed signs of improvement. The girl in this case was able to go home about two and a half months after her birth. However, many children born with the hernia are forced to live in the hospital for the first year of their lives.

Our Illinois birth defect attorneys applaud the advocacy efforts of these families. It is never easy to turn these tragedies into something positive, but stories of courage like this set a strong example for others working through the situation. We encourage all families whose young child was born with this or other defects to seek out the many resources available for support, encouragement, and aid. There is no need to deal with these situations alone.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Family of Injured Boy Seeks Approval of $30M Award in Birth Injury Lawsuit

Doctor’s Failure to Treat Jaundice Causes Baby to Suffer Cerebral Palsy Birth Injury

October 22, 2011

Crib Safety Is Important to Keep Newborns Safe

Our Illinois birth injury lawyers represents families whose new babies have suffered harm because of mistakes made during their birth that should have been prevented. However, we also have helped families throughout the state whose children have been harmed after birth from a variety of preventable accidents. A wide range of risk factors must be accounted for by parents to ensure that their vulnerable youngsters are not harmed by the dangers around them. There is often a thin line between safety and severe harm. Many of the infant products used by families every day can become dangerous objects for the babies if not guarded against.

For example, crib injuries continue to be a problem affecting many across the country. A recent report in Pediatrics found that at over 25 children are hurt in crib accidents every single day. That adds up to thousands of victims each year. Those shocking totals are important reminders of the need to take precautions to protect your children from being hurt by these products. Even following just a few basic tips can be the difference between safe sleeping and a potentially deadly accident.

For one thing, it is not advisable to use antique cribs. Many of the oldest cribs have openings of unsafe size and shape which may trap the child’s head, neck, arms, or legs. Those old cribs may also be missing necessary hardware affecting the stability of the object. At all times the spaces between crib slats should not exceed 2 3/8 inches according to child protection advocacy groups. Corner posts can also be harmful. If a corner post is too high, it can catch your child’s pajamas and lead to a variety of problems.

Besides ensuring that the crib itself is designed correctly, it is also necessary not to use the crib in an unsafe manner. Bumper pads should not be used in these cribs, according to experts, because they increase the risk of strangulation and suffocation. Having excess blankets or bedding can also be dangerous. It is usually advisable to only have a single bottom-fitted sheet on a firm, tight-fitting mattress. Excess toys or object within reach of the child should be avoided. Mobiles and gym cribs are designed for the youngest babies to look at –not for older children to reach out and grab. When the child is able to pull himself up and grab these objects, then they should be moved from the crib.

Our Illinois accident attorneys urge all local families to get into safe habits to ensure that their young child does not fall victim to a preventable injury. Crib safety is but one area of many in which small steps can go a long way. However, there are times when one will suffer injury even when reasonable care was taken. That law provides an avenue for those who have been harmed in this way to hold those who played in a role in the accident accountable. In these cases, the demands of one family can often have an impact on thousands of others, as they could spur important safety changes in design which ultimately saves lives. Please get in touch with our Illinois injury lawyers for a free consultation to learn how the law might apply in your case.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Family Awarded $4.5 Million Following Birth Injury Lawsuit

Family Receives $1.5M Settlement for Birth Injury/Wrongful Death Lawsuit

October 21, 2011

Understanding Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is one of the more well-known conditions affecting infants at birth. Our Chicago birth injury lawyers have worked with many families whose children suffer from cerebral palsy. However, while many community members have likely heard of the condition, few are exactly aware of what it means or what effect is has on those afflicted. In reality, cerebral palsy is actually best thought of as a group of disorders which affect the brain and nervous system. The National Center for Biotechnology explains that those living with the condition face a variety of sensory challenges with thinking, seeing, learning, hearing, and moving. Victims suffer a range of problems, from some minor muscle coordination problems to more advanced problems with walking and balancing.

We know that many victims of cerebral palsy develop the problem as a result of an Illinois birth injury. For example, babies born in the breech position may face a situation known as umbilical cord prolapse where the umbilical cord is compressed, cutting off blood flow and oxygen to the brain. However, the condition can also arise in the early stages of infancy from many conditions such as brain infections, bleeding on the brain, severe jaundice and others.

It is often helpful to consider the three main types of cerebral palsy. The first is known as ataxic. This condition is characterized by problems with muscle tones, which often results in shaky or unsteady movements. Second, choreoathetoid cerebral palsy sufferers have trouble with limb, trunk, and face muscles. These muscles often move spontaneously and victims lack the ability to voluntarily control them. Finally, spastic sufferers are the most common victims constituting about seventy percent of those with cerebral palsy. This form of the condition is characterized by stiff and tense muscles that severely limit movements. While these three categories are helpful to logically understand the condition, it is possible for some sufferers to exhibit a mix of symptoms. Also, some medical professionals have added other, far less common categories.

The Illinois cerebral palsy lawyers at our firm know that the medical costs associated with these conditions are high. The day-to-day care required may be extensive, and because most sufferers develop the problems at birth, the costs must be paid over the course of a lifetime. Many patients need skilled nursing care at all moments. Few families have the resources to provide these needed services on their own. Instead, the burden often falls on the taxpayers who provide assistance throughout public healthcare programs. In other cases, when the injury was caused by a birth injury that should have been prevented, families are capable of receiving assistance from the wrongdoer for the costs of the care.

Cerebral palsy currently has no cure. However, it is encouraging that recent advances in medicine have brought positive news for those hoping for medical improvements to aid sufferers. In one case, a four year old girl was able to talk, walk, and interact with others after she received an injection of her own stem cells taken from her umbilical cord shortly after birth. Hopefully those positive trends continue and the lives of those with cerebral palsy can be improved.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Hypothermia Treatment for Lack of Oxygen Birth Injuries

Illinois Birth Injury Lawsuit Settles for Over $15 Million

October 20, 2011

Prenatal Screenings Help Mothers Identify Birth Defects

Our Chicago birth accident attorneys know that the legal landscape is often changing. The statutes which guide many aspects of the legal world can be altered on a yearly basis. In addition, the common law can change just as quickly with new logic and court decisions affecting how the courts apply certain arguments and what legal strategies are applicable in any given setting. Further, birth injury law also changes based on new developments in the medical world. Many Illinois birth injury lawsuits are premised on a common law negligence theory of liability. The determination of negligence is rooted in the reasonable actions of the involved parties. However, reasonableness is based upon norms at any given moment. As medical knowledge increases or practices change, those norms change as well. All of this means that it is increasingly important to pay attention to the changes in the altering standards of care provided to expecting mothers and during birth to understand how the law may apply in any given situation.

It is always helpful for parents to educate themselves about the tools available to them during a pregnancy to take an active role in the care that they receive. For example, yesterday Slate published a story which explained how prenatal screenings are often available to expectant parents to let them know ahead f time of their child has a birth defect. Yet, many parents do not have these screenings. The author explained that this occurs because of a lack of proper guidance from caregivers and policymakers.

The article argues that medical insurers and advisory groups do not support the prenatal screening measures. The major insurance companies often do not cover the procedures, and so most families do not have them conducted. This is particularly problematic, because these decisions limiting the use of screenings were made decades ago, before major advances in the technology were available. Many more major birth defects can be identified ahead of time now than in the past. The United States remains one of the few developed countries where these scans are not a routine part of prenatal care.

It remains important for families to learn about birth defects as early as possible, because it often allows doctors to treat the condition. For example, when an infant has a heart problem, steps can be taken to ensure that oxygen deprivation does not strike, which is more likely if doctors are surprised by the defect during the child’s birth. Researchers explain that a shocking 70% of heart defects go unnoticed until a child’s birth. In addition, some types of spina bifidia can be corrected via surgery before birth. This correction may prevent the child from living the rest of their lives with an incurable paralysis.

Continue reading " Prenatal Screenings Help Mothers Identify Birth Defects " »

October 19, 2011

Massive Birth Injury Lawsuit Ends For Quadriplegic Girl

The Detroit Free Press reported today on the conclusion of a birth injury lawsuit that some are calling the largest ever in the state. The jury in the case recently returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff for a staggering $130 million. The trial lasted a total of three weeks, and the jury took three days to reach their verdict. The defendants in the case plan to appeal.

According to reports, the case involved problems caused by an improper vaginal delivery of a child which led to a variety of problems. The girl is now fifteen years old. When she was born the child’s mother suffered from gestational diabetes. This caused the baby to be much larger than expected. When a birthing child is too large, it is often common practice for the safety of both the mother and child to have a Cesarean section performed. Unfortunately, that did not occur in this case. Instead, the doctor induced a vaginal delivery.

The delivery led to a variety of permanent problems for the newborn. One involved party claimed that the doctors “literally crushed the life out of that little baby.” The girl received brain damage, had a broken clavicle, and now suffers from quadriplegia. The girl now requires around the clock care and will likely need that care for the rest of her life. Considering that she is expected to live into her eighties, the overall costs of the care is mind boggling. The length and overall scope of the required care is what contributed to the large jury award.

While the eye-popping jury award will likely garner all the headlines it is important for observers not to take this and similar large verdicts out of context. For one thing, these awards are extremely rare. While newspaper stories across the country will likely carry this headline for the next week, the vast majority of jury awards that are returned day in and day out are drastically lower. This is important to remember, because it is the skewed perception of consistent large verdicts that often drives members of the public to support ill-advised medical malpractice damage caps.

In addition, even on the rare occasions when large awards are doled out, they are arrived upon by clear calculations made by the involved parties. Contrary to popular belief, numbers are not plucked out of thin air. The totals are arrived at depending on the life expectancy of the involved victim, the total cost of the care they will need, and the total losses that they sustained as a result of the problems. A Chicago birth injury attorney knows that the overall costs and losses spread out over a lifetime are quite high. The jury verdicts returned in these cases reflect that. They should not be deemed an extra-large or arbitrary figure that paints the entire justice system in an unsavory light.

If you or a loved one may have been injured because of mistakes made during childbirth, please get in touch with our Illinois birthing problem lawyers. We can provide a free consultation so that you can share your story and learn how the law applies in your case.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Family of Injured Boy Seeks Approval of $30M Award in Birth Injury Lawsuit

Doctor’s Failure to Treat Jaundice Causes Baby to Suffer Cerebral Palsy Birth Injury

October 18, 2011

Birth Defects Lawsuit Filed to Stop Mining Permit

Late last week the Charleston Gazette reported on a unique birth defect lawsuit that was filed in the hopes of preventing a mining permit from being issued. A citizen group filed the complaint in the case which seeks to prevent an Alpha Natural Resources mining permit from being issued out of concerns for the effect that the mining efforts will have on the health of nearby residents. At the heart of the suit is new evidence produced by researchers from West Virginia University which found high rates of cancer and birth defects among those living in the mountaintops near where the removal operations are slated to take place.

The organization which initiated the lawsuit, the Ohio Valley Environmental Group, has asked the local federal judge to block the requested permit to prevent the mining and hopefully to prevent medical harm coming to those in the area. Within the suit the environmental team explained that the Army Corps of Engineers failed to properly consider the overall impact that the mine would have on water quality in the area. In addition, the legal team is arguing that those involved with the efforts did not allow public input on the measure which was required by law. All of this was argued in addition to the growing body of scientific evidence which suggest strong public health consequences for the effort.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency had previously objected to the permit’s issuance, but they decided against stepping in to stop the latest approval. The environmental group which took up the challenge explained that conductivity and selenium water pollution would hurt the nearby population. This type of pollution has been shown to increase the instances of birth defects. When expectant mothers consume unnatural levels of these chemicals in nearby water, their developing children are affected. As with all medical harm, it is much preferable to take steps to prevent the problems from occurring in the first place. This includes keeping waters safe, instead of merely treating the illnesses that arise as a consequence of the pollution. The WVU School of Medicine recently found that that birth defect were more common than normal among Appalachian residents living near these removal operations.

Continue reading " Birth Defects Lawsuit Filed to Stop Mining Permit " »

October 17, 2011

Mother Is Asking Questions About Mysterious Birth Injury

Every Illinois birth injury lawyer knows that it often remains a challenge for many families whose newborns suffer injury to get straight answers from the medical providers who were in charge of their care. Sadly, it is often only after the filing of an Illinois birth injury lawsuit (and the subsequent discovery process) that victims are able to learn some details about their situation. This is particularly true when medical professionals fail to act in a reasonable manner when providing care. Far too often, instead of being straightforward about the problems, hospital personnel clam up and families are left in the lurch.

Just this week News 10 shared the story of a mother who is still trying to figure out what happened to her young child. The baby was born 13 weeks premature, weighing just 2 pounds at birth. While still recovering in the hospital the girl’s mother noticed that there was a problem with the child’s foot. She became very concerned when she saw that the baby had a growing blackness on her left foot, appearing burned and bruised at the same time. Discovering the injury was shocking enough, but the mother became infuriated when no one at the facility would talk to her about it. The woman reports that the hospital only began talking after the woman contacted journalists to help. She had repeatedly asked for the ombudsman, but hospital personnel claimed that he was unavailable.

Perhaps even more disheartening the discoloration and blistering appears to have occurred on the same day as a nurse’s strike at the facility in late September. Of course, it remains unacceptable for the care of hospital patients to be compromised by these labor disagreements. In addition, under no circumstances should a mother be refused answers to basic questions about the cause, care, and well-being of her young child. It remains unclear exactly what the problem was, what caused it, or why the hospital administrators failed to help the mother with her concerns.

It is unfortunate that these situations are more common than many might suspect. Nothing is more important to families than the health of their loved ones—that is particularly true when it comes to new children. Yet, time and again medical staff members refuse to answer basic questions about the causes of certain birth injuries. On the whole, the vast majority of medical care workers who are involved in the birth and care of young children are immaculate professionals who deserve immense praise for their work. But there remain a minority that fails to act appropriately and then, upon that failure, try to hide the mistakes by refusing to be open and honest with the victims and their families.

Continue reading " Mother Is Asking Questions About Mysterious Birth Injury " »

October 16, 2011

Illinois Brachial Plexus Birth Injuries Continue to Affect Local Residents

Many types of Illinois birth injuries affect local residents on a seemingly daily basis. Some of the most well-known of these injuries include Down Syndrome and Muscular Dystrophy. These are debilitating injuries that will affect the victims and their families for a lifetime. However, our Chicago birth injury lawyers know that there are other types of injuries that affect children at birth which are actually more common than these. For example, thousands of newborns are born each year with brachial plexus injuries. These are one of the more common injuries affecting newborns and often cause permanent paralysis of one or both arms.

A letter to the editor published in The Herald News by a member of the United Brachial Plexus Network this weekend shared the importance of becoming aware of this problem. The latest statistics available indicate that anywhere from two to five births out of every one thousand involve a brachial plexus injury. Children who suffer from these injuries often have lifelong consequences. For example, the story’s author explained that her own nine-year old daughter suffered a brachial plexus injury which affects her right arm. As a result she has had four surgeries in her short life. The surgeries have helped her have some function in her arm, but it will likely never be one hundred percent. The child’s right arm is shorter than her left, and her right hand is also smaller than her left.

This week is actually recognized as the International Brachial Plexus Injury Awareness Week. The goal is to raise awareness of the problem, help educate the public on the causes of the issue, and encourage others to help in the effort to prevent and treat the injury. The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves on the shoulder that controls the movement of everything below it, in the arm, wrist, hands, and fingers. As one would expect, when this nerve bundle is injured at birth the resulting damage usually includes debilitating arm injuries.

One of the most common ways that this injury arises is when the child’s shoulder becomes stuck on the mother’s pubic bone during birth. This problem is known as shoulder dystocia. Unfortunately, the damage is often caused by mistakes made by medical professionals during the birthing process. When a physician or nurse applies too much force while trying to dislodge the child’s arm there is an increased risk in stretching that bundle of nerves and causing harm. In addition, breech deliveries also may result in this problem, because excessive pressure can be applied on the child’s neck and arms.

Continue reading " Illinois Brachial Plexus Birth Injuries Continue to Affect Local Residents " »

October 15, 2011

Birth Defects Linked to Various Persistent Organic Pollutants

Late this week the Environmental Health News reported on new information about the effect that certain pollutants and the chemicals inside them have on pregnant woman. Of particular interest to an Illinois childbirth accident attorney, the article explained how the exposure to those pollutants increased the risk of a child suffering from neural tube defects. The particular chemicals involved in the study are known as persistent organic pollutants (POPs) which include various pesticides, industrial chemicals, and compounds released from fossil fuels. The research was the first to actually link the total number of POPs in placentas to the defects.

The study involved the examination of 80 different cases of fetuses with neural tube defects and 50 cases of healthy controls. The pollutants were then measured in the area where the mother lived. Those areas with the higher levels of pollutant chemicals were then found to lead to the increased problems. Those areas with the most problems were closest to mining and burning coal operations. The scientists also measured various chemical levels inside the placenta to get an idea of fetal exposure to those pollutants.

The birth injury at issue in this research—neural tube defects—affect the development of the brain and the spinal cord. The neural tube is the temporary part of the developing fetus that actually splits into both the brain and spinal cord during the growth process. When that neural tube fails to seal, then anencephaly and spina bifidia can arise. These defects generally result in lifelong problems for the children who suffer from them. In addition, these problems could result in spontaneous abortions and stillbirths. Worldwide more than 300,000 babies are born with these defects every year. In the United States the rate is about 30 for every 1,000 live childbirths.

Illinois birth defects have causes that range from medical malpractice and unsafe pollutants to completely random developmental problems that cannot be prevented. Medical professionals continue to uncover new information that sheds light on the exact causes of birth problems. Therefore many causes that at one time seem to be completely accidental become preventable so long as proper steps are taking. Our Chicago birth defect lawyers know that as medical knowledge grows the rules of legal liability related to Illinois birth injury lawsuits change.

This is the case because in many ways the law accounts for the awareness of those who played a role in causing these injuries. In certain context—such as product liability cases—the knowledge of the involved defendant may be irrelevant. However, in many other cases, negligence requires at least some awareness of one’s conduct. When it comes to birth defects, there could be both products liability and regular negligence aspects to a potential legal case related to those injuries. Very frequently in these cases an attorney will explain to a client that there all possible avenues for recovery should be pursued. The law is rarely a simple and straightforward process, as a variety of potential causes of actions or theories of liability may exist in any given situation.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Family That Won Birth Injury Lawsuit Needs State Help to Receive Judgment

Family Awarded $4.5 Million Following Birth Injury Lawsuit

October 14, 2011

Many Families File Depakote Birth Defect Lawsuits

News continues to roll in on the dangers that certain types of medications pose to those who are expecting children or plan to have children. Our Chicago birth injury attorneys have recently shared a plethora of information on antidepressants and the way that they may cause Illinois birth injuries. The continuous stream of information about these causes of birth defects should act as even more of a motivation for all expectant mothers. It is important that they be particularly careful about the medications and products and understanding how they may affect the development of their unborn children.

Yesterday we discussed how Paxil birth injury lawsuits were still being filed by those whose young children suffered because they were prescribed the antidepressant medication while pregnant. Just this week Web Wire discussed another medication that has caused a variety of problems for mothers and their babies—Depakote. The drug is given to treat bipolar disorder, but it can have severe consequences when given to pregnant woman, especially in their first three months of pregnancy. If an expecting mother takes the drug in that time, their child has a 1 in 20 chance of being born with a birth defect. Those are frighteningly high odds that should put all mothers on notice.

The dangers posed by the drug led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue an alert about the drug’s dangers, warning those who take the drugs of the potential consequences if they are planning a pregnancy. As news of the dangers spread, many Depakote lawsuits were filed by families whose children were affected because they unknowingly took the drug in the first three months of their pregnancy. As part of the lawsuits the plaintiff argued that the company which manufactured the drug—Abbott—knew ahead of time about these dangers posed by the drug. The victims allege that even though they had this knowledge they did nothing to warn patients.

Depakote was developed by Abbott in 1978 to treat a variety of problems including epileptic seizures and mania episodes of those with bipolar disorder. Researchers have found that mothers who take the drug early in their pregnancy have a much higher chance of their children developing problems like cleft palate, spina bifidia, polydactyly, hypospadias, atrial septal defect, and other complications. On top of that, new research recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine has found that Depakote may cause children to lower a child’s IQ.

The Illinois birth defect lawyers at our firm help families whose children have been hurt at birth. At first most families are not sure of all of the factors that have led to the problem. However, after investigation into the matter it often is the case that the birth defect was preventable if only those who were involved in their care had acted reasonably. In those cases, it is fair and logical for the young child’s rights to be protected through use of the civil justice system. Please contact our office if you suspect that you or a loved one has been harmed by this drug or other childbirth errors.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Birth Accident Lawsuit Reveals Extreme Emotional Pain Associated with Loss

Birth Injury Lawsuit Filed After Child Born with Cerebral Palsy

October 13, 2011

Paxil-Related Birth Defect Lawsuits Continue

Illinois birth defects have a variety of causes—some preventable, others completely accidental. By definition, these problems almost always affect the lives of the victims and their families for a lifetime. Many children who suffer a birth injury will never be able to live a normal life because of the complications that they face from the moment they leave the womb. Interestingly, there is not a finite number of preventable injuries. As medical knowledge and expertise widens, more and more causes of birth problems that were at one point mysterious suddenly become preventable. In other words, once society discovers that something can cause one of these problems, it is vital that those in a position to use the knowledge to save lives actually do so.

For example, many Illinois birth injury lawyers have worked on cases where certain medications were found to have caused problems when taken by expectant mothers. Thousands and thousands of children were born with debilitating problems they otherwise would not have if their mothers had not taken the medication in question. These injuries became preventable as soon as any information at all was known about the potential harm caused by the drug. According to Web Wire News, Paxil is the latest drug to become a hotbed of birth defect lawsuits.

Paxil was first used in 1992 as a much touted antidepressant. However, since that time a myriad of problems have been linked back to the drug. Most of those suits center around complications during childbirth that have been caused by Paxil. The drug has been shown to cause heart abnormalities like atrial and septal defects—holes in the walls of the heart chamber of the infant. On top of that, the medication also may cause an often-fatal lung condition known as persistent pulmonary hypertension. The hypertension is caused by excessive pressure in the blood vessels of the developing baby’s lungs. Over the past several years, even more birth defects have been found to have some connection to Paxil. Some of those include deformed skulls, protrusion of the abdominal organs from the navel, spinal cord defects, and cub foot.

In fact, in 2005—thirteen years after the drugs’ first use—the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a national alert about the potentially dangerous antidepressant. The alert sought to spread information to the public about the many birth defect problems that had been linked to the drug. Also, as part of that effort the FDA required to drug maker to put a warning label on the drug which specifically advised doctors not to prescribe it to any woman who was in their first three months of pregnancy or even planned to become pregnant in a short time.

Even with those steps, however, many community members have still been harmed by the use of the drug. Over the years hundreds of families have filed suit against the drug giant for the complications they suffered because of the drug. Over the years the drug company which makes the medication, GlaxoSmithKline, has paid out more than $1 billion to settle the hundreds of cases where community members were harmed.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

The Connection Between Birth Defects and Antidepressants

Paxil Related Birth Injury Claims May Still Be Filed

October 12, 2011

Many Struggles Face Young Boy Injured During Birth

Birth injuries are frequently discussed in the aggregate, with statistics referenced in order to explain the scope of the problem. It is important to spread awareness of the total number of local community members who are affected by problems during childbirth. However, our Illinois birth accident attorneys also know that in the end, these are individual struggles. At the end of the day it is individual families that are forced to work through the consequences of these accidents, consequences that often last a lifetime. That is why it is important from time to time to discuss the specific struggles faced by individual children whose lives are forever changed because of things that occurred during their birth. Compass Cayman recently produced a story that shared information on what one four-year old boy has gone through in his short time here after suffering a birth injury.

The young boy’s trouble became apparent only when he began failing hearing tests as an infant. After reviewing the tests doctor concluded that he must have suffered a stroke while in the womb. The stroke apparently affected the child’s brain function. However, there are lingering suspicions that oxygen deprivation that the child experienced right after his birth may also have caused his developmental delays. It was only later that the child was specifically diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is actually a term that refers to a range of problems that involve brain and nervous system functions. Those suffering from cerebral palsy face a myriad of problems affecting thinking, hearing, vision, movement, and most other basic human actions.

The child in this case has difficulty seeing and hearing. In addition, any muscular movement is extremely hard for him. Even tasks as simple as chewing are a struggle, though his parents hope that one day he will be able to swallow easier. The boy cannot walk or even crawl, but he has learned to roll to get around. The child also suffers from chronic acid reflux disease, causing him pain when he is placed in certain positions. His inability to chew and trouble swallowing means that he had to have feeding tube inserted into his stomach—he could not take in enough food to survive otherwise. On top of all of that, the boy has full body seizures. The seizures in part caused him to develop sleep problems, and he can now only sleep a maximum of four hours at a time.

Tragically, our Chicago birth injury attorneys know that this young child’s situation is not unique. Many local families who have experienced an Illinois birth injury have children with cerebral palsy. Many of those youngsters have the same set of problems. Obviously, the care required to support these victims is costly. When the problems are caused by misconduct that should have been prevented, it is entirely reasonable and logical for the one who committed the error to provide recourse to help these families provide care for their disabled children. If your family has a member who suffered a birth injury and you suspect poor medical care contributed to the injury, please contact our office and see how we can help.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Birth Accident Lawsuit Reveals Extreme Emotional Pain Associated with Loss

Birth Injury Lawsuit Filed After Child Born with Cerebral Palsy

October 11, 2011

Family Foundation Raises Awareness of Childbirth Brain Injuries

The loss of a family member from a childbirth brain injury is a particularly painful tragedy. Far too many families in our area have been forced to deal with these very incidents over the years. The Illinois birth injury lawyers at our firm have worked closely with many of those families, and we understand the scope of the problem. There are few good things that come out of these losses, but some families are able to take the tragedy and make something worthwhile out of it.

For example, Lower Hudson News recently shared the story of one family who worked to make the best of the situation after losing their young child to a birth injury. Eleven years ago the family was thrust into an unexpected situation when their young child was born with a severe brain injury. The problem was caused by oxygen deprivation during his birth which caused permanent brain damage. The injury presented a wide range of problems for their new addition, and he was battling for survival from the beginning. Unfortunately, their son’s struggle eventually ended when he passed away when he was eight months old. Obviously it was a dramatic loss for all those who loved the young child.

However, this family decided to turn the tragedy into a situation that helps others. The young child’s parents eventually created a foundation to honor their son’s memory. Over the years the foundation has grown and has provided more than $500,000 to various charities in the region that help young children who have suffered injury during birth. As this family knows well, children who face these injuries often require tens of thousands (often hundreds of thousands) of dollars in care. When the care is required throughout their entire lives the total costs could actually reach into the millions. To help those in need, this family is using money raised by its foundation to provide support to these families including a therapeutic gym for infants, and special equipment to help those with communication and mobility problems. On top of providing funds for those in need, the foundation also seeks to educate families about the risks present in childbirth. For example, they seek to provide information to mothers about the risks of vaginal birth following a cesarean section.

Continue reading " Family Foundation Raises Awareness of Childbirth Brain Injuries " »

October 10, 2011

Birth Injury Lawsuit Proceeds Alleging Defects Caused By Solvent Exposure

Illinois birth injuries are devastating for the families involved. The birth of a new addition to a family is supposed to be a blessed day, and everyone always hopes that their infant will be born without any problems for the baby or the mother. Unfortunately, our Illinois birth defect lawyers know that many families have their lives forever changed when complications develop during childbirth. These injuries are sometimes unavoidable accidents, while at other times they can be traced back to specific causes which often should have been prevented.

For example, the Seattle PI News reported late last month on a birth injury lawsuit filed by a mother who claims that her son suffered birth defects caused by exposure to solvents used at an facility where she used to work. However, because of restrictions in the state on the rights of victims to present testimony from medical experts, the woman and her son are still fighting to have their day in court. At first courts had ruled that there were limits to what medical experts could be used to prove a case against an insurance company or an employer.

Fortunately, however, last month the state’s highest court reversed those lower court rulings and opened the door for the family to allow their medical experts to be heard at trial. The court ruled that medical testimony should be allowed so long as the methods used to reach those conclusions are scientifically sound. This is a much less exacting standard than the old one which required there to be scientific consensus before such testimony could be heard. The new standard is more logical, in that it allows a jury the opportunity to hear about the disagreement and the facts of a particular case before reaching its decision. Of course, the opposing side is free to present any opposing evidence that they might have. But at least the new standard will not cut off the victim’s right in court simply because there exist more than one scientific opinion on a certain issue.

As a result of this latest decision, the family in this lawsuit will be allowed to have their day in court. However, beyond that it will allow other victims the opportunity to have a similar opportunity to share their story before defense attorneys used the loophole to cut them off before getting a chance to present evidence. As one of the judge’s who supported the unanimous opinion noted, holding otherwise in the case essentially meant that virtually all medical opinions could be argued inadequate beforehand, unfairly limiting the rights of victims to get to the courtroom. The new rule will instead provide judges with more a logical explanation about what level of acceptability a medical opinion must be in before it is allowed to be heard.

The Illinois birth injury lawyers know that there remain many interest groups that work every day to put more roadblocks in the way for all victims who have suffered tremendous harm at the hands of others. Unfortunately, it is often in the financial interest of these large entities—such as insurance companies—to spend resources hoping to take rights away from victims. It is important to fight all of these efforts and ensure that justice and fairness remain. This involves both ensuring legislation is not enacted which limits victims’ rights and pushing for legal rules that respect fairness and common sense.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

The Connection Between Birth Defects and Antidepressants

Paxil Related Birth Injury Claims May Still be Filed

October 9, 2011

New Research Seeks to Better Understand Birth Injuries that Affect the Brain

Our Illinois birth injury lawyers have worked with enough victims and their families to appreciate the seriousness of brain injuries that strike newborns. These types of injuries can affect people of all ages, not just infants, and they have a variety of causes. However, more often than not when a newborn experiences brain trouble it can frequently be linked back to problems during the birth of the child. We know that Chicago newborn brain injuries are uniquely harmful, because they frequently result in permanent damage that will follow the youngster for life. These injuries often require the child to have significant prolonged medical and physical assistance. The consequences of these injures should obviously lead all involved to do whatever they can to prevent them from arising in the first place. A large part of that task involves ensuring that the most up-to-date and knowledgeable medical understandings are considered at every step of a pregnancy and birth.

Fortunately, medical experts continue to test new waters to better understand why these brain injuries arise and what can be done to prevent them. For example, the Digital Journal recently explained the work of some medical professionals in this area who have the goal of eliminating newborn brain injuries. The new research effort is being touted as one of the first to focus specifically on certain aspects of newborn brain development problems. Of course, we believe that the work is long overdue. Far too many young children are affected by these injuries, and entire families have their lives forever altered because of them. If anything can be done by medical professionals to prevent the problems, they should be done. The latest research shows that about six out of every thousand children are affected by a brain injury. Many of those injuries are permanent and severe.

The researchers discussed in the new story are hoping to lower that figure specifically by learning more about the blood problems associated with the birth of children with these issues. The experts suspect that one potential cause of these injuries relate to blood abnormalities or potential inflammation in the mother during pregnancy and birth. To test their theory, the involved researchers are collecting blood samples of thousands of pregnant woman, looking at the properties of that blood both before and after the birth. It is hoped that the research has long-term benefits for patients across the country. Some have suggested that as more resources are devoted to learning about these newborn injuries, certain birthing practices will need to be phased out. Of course, sometimes it is hard to get a medical consensus on the need to change longstanding practices. But it is vital that new knowledge be incorporated into the routine of doctors across the country, especially when the lives of mothers and new children are at stake.

It is important for all expecting families to demand that their medical professionals provide care that is influenced by new information and developments in the field. Part of the obligation of all professionals—from doctors to lawyers—is a willingness to adapt with the times, stay aware of changes in the field, and ensure that patients (or clients) are given the highest quality service at all times. Just as lawyers cannot stop learning after law school, medical professionals also cannot finish their educational path with medical school. The vast majority of professionals are well aware of this obligation and spend each day helping those who rely on them. In the medical context, those who work to save our lives are truly indispensible members of the community to whom we all owe our gratitude. However, there are always some who fail to grasp their overall duty and others who are generally great professionals but make a mistake that affects the lives of others. In those cases, it is important for the victims to have a system that attempts to make them whole as much as possible. Our Chicago newborn injury lawyers are proud to work within that legal system on behalf of these victims.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Lawsuit Filed After Inmate Suffers Brain Injury

New Technology Aims to Help Victims of Traumatic Brain Injuries

October 8, 2011

Birth Accident Lawsuit Reveals Extreme Emotional Pain Associated with Loss

Our Illinois birth accident lawyers have worked with enough victims of birth injuries to understand the immense mental and emotional pain that a family undergoes when they fall victim to improper medical care that injures or kills their young child. It is obviously appropriate for the family members to receive compensation in part for this immense hardship when it is brought upon by the mistakes of medical professionals which should have been avoided. Some birth injury stories remain particularly shocking to the senses of all community members, and it is easy to understand how the emotional scars are likely to stay with the survivors for a lifetime.

Perhaps no case illustrates this damage more than the shocking story reported this week by the Courier Journal about a new birth injury lawsuit related to a decapitated infant. The suit was filed by the child’s mother who recounted a series of mistakes and poor judgments on the part of the medical staff members. The victim was in the hospital after experiencing bleeding with doctors concerned that she was going to give birth early to her child. There is some disagreement between the parties in the suit, but the pregnancy was somewhere between twenty one and twenty four weeks along.

While at the facility the woman claims that she began having problems and tried to use her buzzer to get help. However, she reported that her buzzer calls were ignored even as she began giving birth to the child. Eventually medical crews came into her room and began aiding in the birth. However, the woman claimed that there were a series of mistakes led to more problems. Most notably, the plaintiff claims that the doctors failed to remove a medical device known as a cerclage—a string used to keep the cervix closed. When the child began delivery, the plaintiff claims that the cerclage acted as a noose around the child’s neck. When the doctor pulled too hard on the child during birth, the child was decapitated.

On top of that, the failure to block the view meant the mother was forced to watch as the tragedy occurred. In addition, in an emotional state, the woman asked to hold the child. The facility decided to suture the infant’s head back onto the body and then allow the woman to hold the child throughout the night. She recalls that the experience has pushed her into a depression. The woman continues to have nightmares about the situation.

Our Chicago birth injury attorneys remain shocked that any mother would have to undergo this situation. It is entirely understandable how such an occurrence would have lifelong consequences on the mental and emotional well-being of the mother and her entire family. If the allegations are true, this string of errors cannot be allowed to go without redress. It is often difficult to adequately explain the true emotional, mental, and physical toll that these situations cause. Fortunately, the civil justice system provides a method of compensation by which the family can at least attempt to receive some closure and work toward putting their lives back together.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Family of Injured Boy Seeks Approval of $30M Award in Birth Injury Lawsuit

Doctor’s Failure to Treat Jaundice Causes Baby to Suffer Cerebral Palsy Birth Injury

October 7, 2011

Mothers and Children At Risk in Early Cesarean Sections

Expectant mothers have a variety of concerns about how to ensure that their developing child is born without birth injuries or defects. There are no easy answers to some questions that mothers have, and it is always possible for problems to develop without the fault of anyone else. However, our Chicago birth mistake lawyers know that in many other cases there are problems that develop which could and should have been prevented. In those cases medical professionals are at least partially responsible for failure to properly advise mothers of complications, from acting too slowly to prevent problems, or from taking ill-advised steps that lead to permanent harm to the newborn.

Doctors play a crucial role in the birth of children, and it is vital that all medical professionals in these situations act reasonably to keep mothers and their children safe. More often than should be acceptable, mistakes are made. Decisions should also be made that minimize the risks of problems. For example, the Digital Journal explained this week how some medical professionals are risking harm by advising their patients to choose a Cesarean section to deliver their child before the babies reach full term—39 weeks. These early Cesarean sections are done instead of normal vaginal deliveries. According to the latest data, these C-sections are become increasingly popular, now totaling more than 36 percent of all births.

According to a new study from Yale university researchers, the C-sections are gaining popularity for both convenience and cosmetic reasons. Of course, there is some planning benefit to be able to schedule a pregnancy, and there can be certain physical benefits to surgical assistance in the birthing process. Uniquely, study from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development explained that more educated woman are more like to schedule their pregnancies with C-sections ahead of time. However, more and more advocates have worried about the undue influence that medical professionals have on convincing patients to have early C-sections. For one thing, it is convenient for doctors to schedule pregnancies around office hours and vacations. In addition, these surgical procedures may be encouraged not necessarily for medical reasons but because doctors fear birth injury lawsuits that can arise when a pregnancy is conducted naturally.

This skewed increase in C-section use has also raised concerns from organization like the March of Dimes who understand that every week of pregnancy is crucial for the health of both the mother and child. The consequences of cutting the gestation period short for convenience factors should never be underestimated when the well being of the patients are involved. Up until birth a baby is putting on weight and the brain, lungs, liver, and other organ continue to develop. Research continues to show that children are healthier and it is cheaper medically when infants develop naturally and are delivered without resort to C-section.

Continue reading " Mothers and Children At Risk in Early Cesarean Sections " »

October 6, 2011

The Connection Between Birth Defects and Antidepressants

Many expectant mothers spend considerable time and effort investigating how each of their actions may affect the development of their child. It is human nature for families to be quite concerned with the well-being of their growing new addition. The Illinois birth injury attorneys at our firm know the effect that problematic births have on those involved, and it is always a good idea to take preventative steps to stave off those occurrences.

Much of the information that expectant mothers receive about ways to best ensure the safety of their child comes from advances in medicine which reveal what things can affect child development. For example, to avoid birth injuries or defects almost all families know that a mother should not consume alcoholic beverages, drink too much caffeine, or inhale smoke while a child is in the womb. On top of that, it is not advisable for these mothers to undergo too much physical force or jostling, such as that experienced on roller coasters or amusement park rides.

Beyond these common prohibitions, medical professionals are also beginning to uncover information about other things which may play a role in the development of children. It is important for families to be aware of the dangers, and it is also vital that those in the pharmaceutical and medical industry understand the dangers and work to prevent harm if necessary. For example, various news outlets have recently discussed the role that antidepressant have on the proper growth of children in the womb.

New studies have indicated that there may be a connection between the use of antidepressanrs and problems in childbirth. These drugs are often call selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). For example, a study of 636,000 births found that use of SSRIs—such as Prozac and Paxil—increased a mother’s chance of giving birth to a child with heart defect. A second study found roughly the same results. A United State study examining the effect of Wellbutrin on pregnant women found that those who took the drug were more than twice as likely to have children who had heart tract defects. There were even some concerns about the potential for some SSRIs to influence the development of autism in young children.

Our Chicago birth defect attorneys have decades of experience helping families work through the legal aspects of their situation after they have child who suffers complications in development or during the birthing process. Many factors are at play in these situations, from the actions of the medical professionals to the substances that parents were advised to use during the pregnancy. It takes targeted, professionals with experience in this area to sort through all of the issues and explain how the law might apply in each particular case when an Illinois birth injury strikes. In all cases, families should know that they do not have to go it alone. Help is available at no charge so that families can share their story and receive advice on what the next steps should be to help ensure that their child will have the resources they need for their entire lives.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Taking Diflucan During Pregnancy Linked to Birth Injuries

Doctors Must Pay Close Attention to Medication Given to Expectant Mothers

October 5, 2011

Family That Won Birth Injury Lawsuit Needs State Help to Receive Judgment

When those calling for “tort reform” are working to pass measures limiting the rights of medical malpractice victims, they likely believe that they are fighting to help doctors under attack. Of course, our Illinois birth injury lawyers know that is not at all the case. Unfortunately, it is everyday community members and innocent families struggling to put their lives together after devastating medical errors that are hurt by so-called “reform” efforts.

For example, many states have enacted special legal rules that limit the ability of victims of medical malpractice—including birth injuries—to recover the compensation that a jury decides they are entitled. Even after winning the right to head to court and convincing the fact-finder of their legal position, these families are often still denied their right to redress. Naples News recently reported on one family’s fight to obtain the resources they need to help their son survive. The child, now seven years old, was born with cerebral palsy that was caused by medical errors. The child mother was given the drug Pitocen to help induce contractions. Over the course of the birth the woman was given more and more dosages of the drug. However, the total amount given to the woman was not properly monitored. As a result, the woman began having particularly severe contractions that cut off the child’s flow of oxygen which ultimately led to the child’s condition.

The child’s parents filed a birth injury lawsuit to seek redress for the consequences of the error. The case went to trial and a jury found in favor of the family for $30 million. However, the family has not received any of that money. Unique sovereign immunity legal rules in the state limit the family’s right to recover anything over $200,000 from the publically run health system unless a special “claims bill” is approved by the state legislature. Unfortunately, that bill was denied last year and it is unclear if it will be successful this year. The hospital administrators plan to use lobbying efforts to defeat the measure.

While the family waits to see if they will have the resources that they need, the young child is struggling to survive. Budget cuts in his area recently meant that he no longer was able to have the extra assistance he needs to attend school—his mother was forced to home school him. The child is able to communicate and move around somewhat, though it takes him extra time. He misses being around friends at school. His wheelchair is getting old and can no longer go up a ramp, however the family does not have the money to buy a new one. In addition, the boy is getting older and his mother is not sure how much longer she can handle his physical needs without extra assistance.

It remains shocking that so many roadblocks continue to be placed in front of victims of these accidents, preventing them from receiving the redress to which they should be entitled under the law. Our Chicago childbirth mistake lawyers will continue to fight against all efforts to unfairly handcuff victims in our area. No local policymakers, medical professionals, or other advocates should fear the consequences of basic fairness and accountability. Please contact our office if you feel that you or a loved one has suffered injury as a results of preventable mistakes made during the birth of a child.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Cerebral Palsy Primer: What It Is & When It Arises

Birth Injury Lawsuit Filed After Child Born with Cerebral Palsy

October 4, 2011

Nearly $60 M Birth Injury Verdict Highlights Expense of Life-long Care

The size of verdicts and settlements in civil lawsuits depend on a variety of factors. While large figures often surprise some community members, there are very real calculations that go into determining how much a plaintiff can and should receive in any given case. The type of injury, the length of rehabilitation, scope of pain and suffering, effect on third parties, degree of culpability of defendant, and other factors all play into the ultimate amount that a lawyer will seek and that a court may provide. Our Illinois birth injury attorneys have spent decades evaluating and working within the system to ensure that all of our clients receive the full compensation that fairly accounts for all of their losses.

It is not uncommon for verdicts and settlements related to these injuries to be some of the largest and for good reason. Unfortunately, when an Illinois birth injury strikes, the consequences often last for a lifetime. When a child is injured at birth the overall loss to the family is extremely high. There are often staggering past and future medical costs, immense pain and suffering, and sometimes disability or disfigurement. In addition, many children who are permanently harmed while being born due to a preventable error will never live a normal life as a result. Whenever possible those losses should be accounted for an included in the damages sought when holding the medical professional accountable for their conduct.

The scope of these injuries is hard to overestimate. That is why it is not necessarily all that shocking to read stories like the one reported in the News Journal late last month on the $58.6 million verdict following a birth injury lawsuit. The case was filed after an obstetrician made mistakes during delivery that caused a child to suffer severe brain damage. As a result of the mistake the child is unable to walk, talk, or eat. After hearing all of the evidence in the case from both sides, the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff in the amount of $58.6 million. While suits of this size are certainly not the norm, it is possible for injuries caused by negligent medical professionals to result in millions of dollars in long-term damage to the families involved. The jury verdicts reflect the seriousness of the mistake.

Our Chicago birth injury attorneys have worked on many cases where a jury has returned a verdict or settlement for significant sums. For example, just last year our lawyers achieved a verdict in the amount of $6.5 million for a young girl who suffered cerebral palsy and mild mental retardation following her doctor’s failure to perform a timely Caesarean section. In another case our client was awarded $6.71million by a jury after an inexperienced resident physician made serious errors. The young child in that case suffered shoulder dystocia and a brachial plexus arm injury as a result of the mistakes. Unfortunately similar errors occur across our area all too frequently. It is important for all victims to ensure they protect their rights by visiting a legal professional to discuss their options.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Family Awarded $4.5 Million Following Birth Injury Lawsuit

Family Receives $1.5M Settlement for Birth Injury/Wrongful Death Lawsuit

October 3, 2011

Bond Finally Posted Following Birth Injury Lawsuit Verdict

The experienced Illinois childbirth negligence lawyers at our firm know that it takes continued advocacy to ensure that clients receive the legal representation they need from the beginning of a case to the end. Unlike the frequent misguided portrayals made by those seeking tort reform, defendants in civil actions—including birth injury lawsuits—usually throw up every defense possible and use stalling tactics to fight efforts to hold negligent wrongdoers accountable for the consequences of their actions. The need to fight through the legal stall tactics is one reason why it is important for victims of these injuries to seek out experienced legal professionals who have consistently seen these cases through to the end.

For one thing, investigation and analysis must be conducted before the suit is even filed so that proper information can be included in a complaint. The complaint is the formal legal document filed by the plaintiff which initiates a civil action. After the complaint is filed defense attorneys often try to get the lawsuit thrown out of court on technicalities by filing a motion to dismiss. If the plaintiff survives that then discovery is conducted where information is collected on both sides. Near the end of the discovery process defense lawyers often try to defeat the measure again by filing a motion for summary judgment. It is only is the plaintiff withstands that attempt that the case actually goes to trial.

Of course, there are no guarantees that a jury will return a verdict for the plaintiff. Both sides have the ability to present their side of the story, and the plaintiff retains the burden of proof. Essentially that means that in the event of a “tie,” the defendant wins. However, even after a jury returns a verdict for a plaintiff, work must be conducted to ensure that the victim actually receives the award to which they are entitled. Many insurance companies, hospitals, and defendants attempt to use stall tactics even after money is owed to block the collection. It takes focused, experienced legal professionals to follow the case all the way through and ensure that victims actually receive what they are entitled in as efficient a manner as possible.

For example, last week the Trib Today published a story on the stall tactics conducted by one insurance company that delayed as long as possible after a birth injury lawsuit led to a verdict for a plaintiff. After losing a $9.7 million medical malpractice case, an insurance company appealed, but they refused to post a bond which was required for that appeal. The delay in posting the bond meant that the plaintiff’s attorneys began action against in the individual doctor involved in the case—even though the judgment was supposed to be paid by the insurance company. Eventually, only after a filing a lawsuit claiming that they were not required to post a bond (over a year after the verdict), did the company finally do as required.

Our Illinois birth injury lawsuits are experienced professionals who have followed through on countless cases for victims to ensure that they actually receive the funds that they are owed in a timely matter. Winning a verdict or reaching a settlement means little to the plaintiff’s until they actually receive the redress required.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Family of Injured Boy Seeks Approval of $30M Award in Birth Injury Lawsuit

Doctor’s Failure to Treat Jaundice Causes Baby to Suffer Cerebral Palsy Birth Injury

October 2, 2011

Family Awarded $4.5 Million Following Birth Injury Lawsuit

Many parents whose children fall victim to a birth injury suffer considerable emotional distress knowing that their child will have to face a variety of unique challenges throughout their lives. The physical and mental disabilities that these children face can requires millions of dollars in care over the course of a lifetime, not counting the lost experiences, mental, and emotional trauma that comes with these life-long problems. The Illinois childbirth accident attorneys at our firm have worked first-hand with many of these families and we know the personal struggles that are faced following preventable childbirth complications.

The well-publicized case on which we previously reported and highlighted by the Orlando Sentinel earlier this month is a good example of the consequences of these birth injuries. A jury recently awarded a family $4.5 million to help pay for the consequences of a mistake that caused their child to be born without arms and only one leg. After hearing evidence from both sides and deliberating on the matter, the jury agreed that the obstetrician and medical clinic that employed her were negligent in the care they provide to the family. The doctor’s failed to perform a proper sonogram and did not notice the child’s problem—even though reasonable medical professionals in the same circumstances would have.

The jury explained that it was clear that the obstetrician and other medical care workers failed to provide anywhere near the reasonable level of service that the family should have been able to expect. For example, the ultra sound technician wrote a report where she indicated four limbs were found. The doctor signed the report, even though neither could explain why the indicated something that wasn’t true on the report.

As a result of this latest accident and lawsuit, the medical office has changed its protocol. Different procedures are now used to ensure that all limbs are clearly identified by the medical professionals when conducting a sonogram. The spurring of important safety changes is one of the only good things to come out of this situation. The family explains that they will use the money to buy prostheses, which the child will need to have any semblance of a normal life. They will be able to purchase a wheelchair and other necessary medical care to assist with the boy’s day-to-day needs. Right now the child is three years old and unable to do most of the things other toddlers are doing.

The Illinois birth injury lawyers at Levin & Perconti are glad that the family in this case was able to receive the assistance it needs to provide for this child and spur changes at the negligent facility which will hopefully save others from suffering the same problems. All professionals working in these situations know that the consequences of their work are often matters of life and death. That is why it is entirely reasonable for families to expect a certain level of care whenever they rely on these professionals to make decisions about the birth. If you or someone you know experiences a preventable birth injury, get in touch with our attorneys and learn about your legal rights.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Family of Birth Injury Awarded $58M Settlement

Trial Begins in Lawsuit Where Inmate Gave Birth Alone in Cell