November 30, 2011

$4 Million Birth Jury Verdict After Serious Midwife Error

City Biz List reported last week on the conclusion of a new birth injury lawsuit that was filed on behalf of a child who was severely injured following mistakes being made during the child’s birth. The suit was first initiated two years ago by a family of the injured child against the negligent midwife involved in the suit. The lawsuit alleged that the defendant-midwife was negligent in failing to deliver the child in a timely fashion. The family argued that the child could and should have been born hours before his actual birth. Doing so would likely have prevented the harm that ultimately developed.

Specifically, the family of the victim explained that the delay in delivering the child led to oxygen and blood flow problems. As so often happens in these situations, the prolonged lack of oxygen and blood flow to the brain of the child led to permanent brain damage which will have permanent consequences on the child that otherwise would have lived a normal life. Our Chicago birth injury lawyers have worked on many cases just like this one where a child suffers profound lifelong impairment because of failure on the part of caregivers to respond in a timely fashion.

It was explained during this birth injury trial that babies have something known as “fetal reserves” which are essentially resources which allow them to undergo often turbulent problems during birth. However, they cannot withstand every problem. Those delivering a child must be sure to monitor the fetal heart rate. When the monitor shows irregularities, it is vital for the care giver to take action in a timely fashion to ensure the irregular condition does not persist indefinitely. Often that means forcing a child to be born immediately. However, in this case, it seems that the midwife did not respond appropriately to the problems.

The consequences, as so often happens in these cases, are severe. The baby was born with severe mental deficiencies due to damage to the frontal lobe of his brain. No matter who is delivering a child, whether a doctor or midwife, there are legal obligations that the individual act reasonably. That means that the professional must act in a timely manner when problems are identified to ensure that the child is given the best chance at being born without injury. There is no excuse for ignoring or failing to respond to warning signs. Failure to do so gives rise to a birth injury lawsuit.

In this case, the jury ultimately awarded the victim $4 million due to the error. The funds will go to pay for the around-the-clock care that the child will need for the rest of his life. The trial in this case lasted four weeks and involved testimony from a wide range of involved parties, including several expert witnesses. Those witnesses explained how the specific injuries suffered by this child were caused by a brain injury developed during birth and not alternative causes. The need to connect the actual birth injury to the ultimate harm faced by the victim is a constant issue in all of these cases.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Understanding Cerebral Palsy

Birth Injuries Often Have Lifelong Consequences

November 29, 2011

Economics Reminds of Patient Safety Component of "Tort Reform"

The Chicago birth injury attorneys at our firm have consistently reported on the so-called “tort reform” efforts by some policymakers at the federal and state levels. The vast majority of birth injury cases are actually medical malpractice suits against medical providers who made errors during pregnancy or birthing process. Therefore any changes to the legal system as it relates to victims of medical errors will have direct consequences on victims’ ability to recover following problems they experience during childbirth. Unfortunately the debate itself rarely goes beyond the same talking points that have been mentioned again and again.

Most of the time those involved in the debate simply claim that the other side is only interested in money. For our part, it is a genuine concern that the loudest medical malpractice reform advocates are medical interest groups and the insurance lobby who stand to directly gain financially by taking away rights from medical error victims. However, we realize that those on the other side just as quickly claim that medical malpractice attorneys are against the measures solely because we work in the industry and are paid to help these victims. We continue to argue, that there is a difference between our advocacy and those of insurance companies. It is those pushing “reforms” who have the burden of showing that their proposed changes are not being made for their own financial interests. We are not advocating any changes to the legal justice system, but instead are simply fending off those who wish to change it from the system enshrined in the Constitution at the nation’s founding.

What makes the situation even more disappointing is the fact that the lives of patients will actually be affected by these decisions; it goes well beyond disagreements about money. Many experts in a wide range of disciplines have shown that eliminating incentives to act responsibly has serious detrimental effects on the quality of care. This was the same point made last week by an economics professional in a Huffington Post editorial. The professor reminded those engaged in the debate that the incentive structures currently in place by medical liability insurers would likely disappear if damage caps or other changes were made to the system. It is often forgotten that insurer’s play a key role in incentivizing proper medical care. The insurers have oversight structures where particularly negligent physicians are monitored and ultimately required to pay more depending on their perceive error risk. That risk is based on the providers past track record of care. There are clear incentives for doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to take extra care to protect the patient and themselves. Yet, medical malpractice damage caps would remove those crucial incentives—likely leading to increased instances of neglect and inadequate care. Those involved in the medical malpractice debate should not ignore or minimize this point.

There are very real and serious consequences for meddling with the justice system in ways that hurts victims. It is even more disturbing that this meddling is being advocated based almost exclusively on anecdotal observation and not real evidence. For one thing, proponents spend most of their time complaining that victims are abusing the system for quick financial gains. That could not be further from the truth. Evidence consistently shows that three out of every four cases that are filed are eventually dismissed or withdrawn. The remaining cases are usually settled. Then, out of those that do not settle, three out of four eventually result in a verdict for the defendant. It is not easy to win these complex cases, and the burden remains on the plaintiff. Claims that suggest the legal system is an easy windfall for those involved are drastically misguided. The incorrect public perception is distressing enough, but the distress is made downright dangerous when one considers that it is the inaccurate perception that is guiding those who seeking to advocate for changes to the legal system.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Legal Experts Line Up Against H.R. 5

New Website to Voice Opinion on Proposed Federal Laws

November 28, 2011

Toll-Like Receptors Linked to Brain Injuries in Newborns

Last week Medical News reported on new research conducted by birth injury researchers that shed further light on how brain injuries develop in young infants. As our Chicago birth injury lawyers have frequently described on this blog, there remains a lot of mystery around certain parts of the child development process. That lack of understanding at times makes it difficult for medical providers to prevent certain defects from arising. The more information that is obtained about the development process—and the injury risks—the better off all community members will be.

This latest research was conducted by Swedish researchers at the University of Gothenburg and examined mechanisms related to brain injuries in infants. Roughly two out of every one thousand births result in a brain injury to the young child. The research is being heralded as an important step that identifies the mechanisms involved in infant brain injuries which ultimately may lead to better treatment for the young victims. Blood infections and reduced blood and oxygen supplies are a common cause of the harm, as they can lead to brain inflammation. Premature infants are particularly prone to the harm, which can ultimately result in a wide range of problems, from cerebral palsy and epilepsy to learning difficulties.

The latest development suggests that “toll-like receptors” (TLRs) in the young brain in the innate immune system play a crucial role in brain development. TLRs are a class of proteins which are single, non-catalytic receptors that recognize certain molecules derived from microbes. TLRs are a growing research area, with pioneers in the area recently winning a Nobel Prize in Physiology. They have previously been found to be involved in stroke-related brain adult brain damage. This latest research expands on the knowledge and has found that TLRs are also crucial in immature brains.

In this latest research into infant brain injuries, the researchers used mice to simulate newborn brain injuries. We have previously posted on the use of mice in different context as a stand-in when studying infant injuries. Researchers in this case, found that TLRs are crucial to the damage that results from hypoxia—or lack of oxygen to the brain. The lead researcher explained that “an infection can activate these receptors, making the brain more sensitive to hypoxia, resulting in worse brain damage.” Therefore, it would seem that blocking these signals would go a long way to reducing the brain damage. Currently, medical professionals can do little to stop the harm the results from this oxygen deprivation. Hopefully further research in this area will change all of that. That is why it is so crucial for medical professionals not to allow the oxygen deprivation to occur in the first place.

The research which identified the role that TLRs play in infant brain injuries also included examination of the role of a protein known as occludin. The protein plays a role in the ‘gluing’ of cells together in the blood-brain barrier. The researchers found that following a brain infection there is a reduction in occludin levels. Therefore, the blood brain barrier is weaker, potentially resulting in an opening in the barrier. That opening may make it easier for inflammatory molecules to enter the brain and cause dangerous inflammation.

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

November 22, 2011

Latest Research Shows First C-Section Rate Decline in Fifteen Years

Over the past few weeks our birth injury lawyers have discussed the myriad of concerns about the rise in C-section rates in the United States. Many advocates have voiced concerns over the steady increase in use of these procedures, noting that many surgeries may simply be unneeded. Rates in some places were anywhere from 40-45% of all births with some speculating the rates may actually rise over 50% in the future. It remains shocking to many that more than one out of every two births would be C-section procedures.

However, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and reported in The Stir, suggests that the C-section rate in the United States has actually gone down for the first time in a decade and a half. According to the CDC data, the 2010 C-section rate nationwide was 32.8 percent, the year before the rate was a tenth of a percent larger at 32.9 percent. Before this very slight decrease the rates have risen steadily every single year since 1996.

According to the story, it remains unclear exactly what led to the stabilization of these C-section rates over the last year. It could be that elective C-sections have decreased as community members have become more aware of the inherent harm in the surgery. Or, in the alternative, the reduction could come from those C-sections deemed medically necessary. It could also be a combination of both. In either case, the reduction is being considered a welcome bit of news for those who have long worried about the steady increase in the procedures.

The article’s author, a mother who has had two C-sections, explained, “Undergoing and recovering from a C-section is no picnic. C-sections carry a much higher risk than vaginal deliveries of complications for both mother and child.” Breathing problems are far more common for infants delivered surgically. Similarly, mothers are open to increased risks of inflammation, infections and uterus injuries when they have these procedures. This is not counting the fact that C-sections increase risks of complications in all future pregnancies. Of course there are situations where C-sections are absolutely necessary to prevent problems for both mother and child. But those situations are less common than the alternative—when natural childbirth is safer.

Our Chicago birth injury lawyers hope that we reach a balanced level of C-section births throughout the country. It is not unreasonable for these surgical births to be conducted in a timely fashion when they are necessary—such as following emergency birth—and not to be conducted when a natural birth would be feasible. The consequences and risks inherent in abdominal surgeries should not be underestimated or minimized. It is medical malpractice for a patient to unknowingly suffer harm in either instance: because they had an unnecessary surgery or did not have the surgery that they needed. If you believe that you or a loved one has not received the level of care that you were entitled when it comes to these vital birth decisions, please get in touch with our Illinois injury lawyers to share your story and see how we can help.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

World’s Largest Study Underway on the Fear of Childbirth

Mothers and Children at Risk in Early Cesarean Sections

November 20, 2011

Premature Infants and Brain Injuries

Most community members are well aware of the fact that premature births present many more complications for young involved mother and child than full term births. Clearly, infants generally need nine months to properly develop in the mother’s womb, and when they do not have that complete time to develop, birth injuries often result. Yet, beyond the basic understanding about premature birth risks, doctors are still learning about various aspects of the human development process. As knowledge in the area progresses, it is hoped that more options will be available to prevent certain birth injuries and allow these children to have normal lives.

For example, an NPR News article this week explored new medical researcher which is helping scientists better understand why brain injuries are so common among premature infants. The new research was unveiled by researchers at a Society for Neuroscience meeting this week. According to experts, this new knowledge may eventually lower the number of children born early who suffer from injuries like cerebral palsy, epilepsy, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and similar problems. Over 60,000 children are born each year weighing less than 3.3 pounds. Most of those children will survive, but many of them will suffer brain injuries.

Oxygen deprivation in the first hours and days after birth is most often the main cause of the infant brain injury. The white matter of the brain can be damaged when not enough oxygen is received. This matter is essentially the “communication highway” of the brain, allowing messages to be sent from the brain to other parts of the body. The less developed the young child, the more immature their lungs are. This means that their bodies are often incapable of delivering the necessary oxygen to the lungs. Even mechanical breathing devices have not been able to make up this difference.

A new incubator inside an MRI scanner has now allowed medical researchers to test the white matter damage in preterm infant brains. The new information had provided scientists with much more information about exactly how the white matter is injured. Is it hoped that this line of research will prove fruitful when figuring out how to prevent the damage. For one thing, experts now believe that action must be taken immediately after the child’s birth to prevent harm. One researcher explained, “There is a critical developmental time window right after birth. If development is disturbed during this critical time window then the brain doesn’t catch up.” There may be a way for doctors to intervene immediately after birth by giving infants a specific drug in certain areas that speeds up production of myelin—the brain matter most often damaged. Magnetic stimulation of certain brain areas and temporarily lowering body temperature may also eventually prove to help prevent this brain damage in premature infants.

Our Chicago birth injury lawyers will be watching these developments closely. No personal injuries are as devastating as those involving young children, because they are often affected throughout their entire lives. All advances that will spare these victims should be pursued diligently and as timely as possible.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Birth Injury Lawsuit Against Midwife Settles for $730,000

Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Filed After Pregnancy Complications Leads to Deadly Blood Infection

November 19, 2011

More Newborns Born Addicted to Mothers Pain Medication

The USA Today reported on Wednesday on troubling new information about the effect that medications may have on infants when taken by pregnant mothers. Medical authorities agree that there has been a tremendous surge in these cases, constituting a silent epidemic of birth injuries of which many are unaware. All observers agree that this issue needs more attention so that future innocent victims of their mother’s addictions can be spared.

Through the years of working with families whose children have been hurt during the birthing process or while in utero, our Chicago injury lawyers have come to appreciate the wide range of situations in which harm can befall new babies. It is often helpful to think of birth defects and injuries falling into various categories: those developed in utero that cannot be prevented, those developed in utero because of specific conduct on the part of mothers/doctors, and those caused by problems during birth itself. In the legal context, most birth injuries lawsuits are rooted in the last category. That is the case because it is during the birthing process itself that families most often cede complete control over the process to others. When those third parties make clear mistakes causing harm, the law provides victims with a way to seek accountability and redress.

However, the seriousness of the harm can be just as bad in all forms of birth injuries. As mentioned, the rise in infant medication addiction falls into the categories of preventable in utero problem. All with all preventable problems in this area, it is vital that more information be shared and awareness raised so that young lives can ultimately be spared.

According to the latest article on the topic, the rise in painkiller addiction is a reminder of the power of many of these drugs, like OxyContin and Vicodin, and the ways that they can be abused. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that prescription drug addiction is the fastest growing dependency problem in the country. When it comes to infected infants, it is clear that the total number of dependant babies has tripled and quadrupled in recent years in certain areas. For example in the Tampa Bay area, experts explain that roughly one in twenty children are born with a prescription drug addiction.

The effect of the addiction on the infants cannot be underestimated. When they are born they soon begin to experience withdrawal symptoms just as an adult would. They often writhe in pain, and are unable to ever get comfortable enough to eat or sleep. In most cases medical professionals are essentially forced to re-addict them and then slowly wean them off of the new narcotic. However, for those infants with a long exposure, there may be long-term consequences. Many of these children ultimately experience learning and developmental difficulties; a majority have attention deficit problems. Some of these children are able to catch up with their peers and live problem-free. However, it goes without saying that these completely preventable problems should never occur, and all those involved in the pregnancy process should do everything in their power to prevent infants from developing these addictions.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Birth Defects Linked to Various Persistent Organic Pollutants

Family Awarded $4.5 Million Following Birth Injury Lawsuit

November 18, 2011

Researcher Working on New Ways to Study Tissue Related Birth Defects

JPost News reported this week on exciting new medical developments that may shape the future of research aimed at learning more about birth injuries and defects. The March of Dimes Foundation recently awarded the Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Award to a biomedical engineering professor working on a new approach to tissue development that may have important ramifications into understanding how certain tissue-related birth defects arise. The work of Tufts University’s School of Engineering professor Catherine K. Kuo looks at orthopedic birth defects that occur in the mother’s womb. Clubfoot is a common version of these problems, and it results from an abnormal musculoskeletal development in the embryo. Clubfoot usually requires significant surgeries before the child is able to stand and walk.

Specifically, the work includes use of engineered embryonic tendon tissue to simulate muscle movement in the embryo to determine how that movement might affect the fetus’s development. The hope is that researchers will be able to determine if certain actions, like kicking, somehow affect that tissue development adversely. Dr. Kuo explains that the current knowledge about how muscle activity affects birth defects is minimal. The tendon will be used as a model to advance that study because the tendon plays a critical role in normal musculoskeletal systems.

The engineered muscle will be done via use of chick and mouse embryos. These engineered tendons will then be inserted into a porous biodegradable synthetic scaffold which itself will be placed in a nutrient-filled bioreactor. The scaffolding will then grow into living engineered tissue. These elaborate efforts are necessary to simulate the growth of tissue in a developing child. As Dr. Kuo notes, “It’s very difficult to study developing tissue, in this case, tendon, inside the body, and especially in utero.” That difficulty has made it essentially uncharted territory—a state that will hopefully change pending development of this line of research.

At an initial level, this new research will hopefully explain how developing tissue stiffness affects cells and how movement in utero (like kicking) affects that development. At a functional level, once researchers understand how the stiffness and movement affect development, they can begin strategizing ways to intervene when necessary to influence the movement and stiffness in an effort to prevent harmful consequences. Long-term, the doctor explains, the intervention may actually involve removing the involved cells, treating them in a bioreactor to behave normally, and then reinserting them into the fetus to help develop normal tissue function. These goals are clearly a long ways off, but as with all promising research, the steps are in place now that may ultimately lead down that road of complete prevention of a complicated birth defect.

Many birth defects that develop early on in a pregnancy are very difficult to predict or prevent. Unlike many birth injuries that arise because of failures on the part of the involved medical team to respond to problems, our Chicago injury lawyers know that many of these tissue development problems are completely unpreventable with our current level of knowledge. Hopefully this research and similar efforts will slowly change that, helping expectant mothers and medical professionals actually prevent these complications from affecting children in the future.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Simple Heart Defect Screenings May Save Infant Lives

New Research Gives Hope to Those Seeking Cerebral Palsy Prevention

November 17, 2011

Breech Delivery Births Rarely Taught in Medical Schools

As we discussed yesterday, advocates on all sides of the issue have recently expressed concerns about the rate of Cesarean section births nationwide. On one hand, in certain emergency situations, a C-section may be necessary to prevent a birth injury. Our Illinois birth injury attorneys have worked on many cases where medical professionals did not adequately respond to birth problems, usually resulting in oxygen deprivation and permanent problems for the child. In many of those cases the failure to perform a C-section was an important factor in the case.

Yet, the fact that C-sections are needed in certain situations does not equate to C-section birth being necessary (or advisable) in all births. Many observers remain concerned, therefore, that the percentage of C-section birth continues to rise. An article in yesterday’s “The Stir” made the point that these births may soon account for over 50% of all births—a state that almost everyone agrees is far too high. Twelve years ago many medical professionals set the goal of getting the C-section rate down to 15 percent. Instead, the trend has gone the opposite direction. As one observer noted, “it doesn’t take an anthropologist to know that something is wrong here—our birth do not have that many complications to make that high number necessary.”

Of course, as is the trend in some circles, some point the finger at medical malpractice lawyers and claim that fear of lawsuits leads to poor medical action. We strongly believe that there is a clear difference between performing a C-section to save a child’s life and having nearly1 in 2 mothers go through an intrusive surgical procedure for fear of lawsuits. It is unfair and illogical to blame the previous victims of medical malpractice for the misconduct of doctors today. Instead, as was noted in the article, many other factors should be considered. For example, many hospitals have blanket bans on vaginal births after C-sections (VBACs). Also, some are concerned that doctors and hospitals are paid more for C-section births than vaginal births which may skew the decisions.

Additionally, a growing chorus of observers blame that the fact that breech births are not even taught in medical school any longer. Obstetrics and Gynecology medical schools never learn how to perform a breech vaginal birth, even though in many cases they may be safer than C-sections births. In fact, some OB students admit that throughout their entire training they never once saw an actual intervention-free birth.
In any event, virtually everyone agrees that the risks of C-section surgery should not be underestimated. The procedure is a seriously invasive operation that should not be taken for granted. All mothers need to be made aware of the clear risks of the procedure, and told about options beyond C-sections, particularly when the procedure is not needed. There are many instances of possible healthy births that snowball into a myriad of problems because of surgical complications. If the procedure isn’t necessary, it shouldn’t be performed. At the end of the day, whatever is less risky for the mother and child should always predominate.

In Other News: Two of our companion blogs--The Illinois Medical Malpractice Blog and Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog--were nominated for inclusion as one of the Top 25 Tort Blogs of 2011. The award is part of the LexisNexis project which seeks to feature blogs that set the standard in certain practice areas and industries. The voting to narrow down the field is currently underway, and we would love to have your vote. All you have to do is add a comment at the end of the post about the Top 25 bogs.

Please Follow This Link To Vote: Vote for Our Blog. Thanks for your support!

See Our Related Blog Posts:

World’s Largest Study Underway on the Fear of Childbirth

Mothers and Children at Risk in Early Cesarean Sections

November 16, 2011

Young Girl Faces Life with Cerebral Palsy

target="_blank"

In the heat of any legal case, some attorneys focus entirely on the unique legal aspects of the lawsuit and available evidence, forgetting about the real lives behind the lawsuit. Our Illinois birth injury lawyers know that it is particularly important never to forget the victims involved in childbirth accident suits, because the victims are usually young children who face a lifetime of problems. For the attorney, the case ends after a settlement or verdict, but for the families involved, the consequences of the situation never end. It remains important to continually reflect on the lives behind these birth injuries.

A new story in the Shelbyville Times-Gazette does just that by discussing the live of a local girl who was born with cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is actually a blanket term that describes a serious of conditions which affect a person’s bodily movement, posture, and balance. The problem is often rooted in birth injuries, particularly those involving oxygen deprivation to the brain. The child described in the news story had been born prematurely, at only 28 weeks, weighing two and a half pounds. Children born prematurely usually have an increased risk of developing cerebral palsy, because their lungs are less developed than their full-term counterparts. This ultimately means that they may not be able to send adequate oxygen to the brain.

Even when the child suffers the condition at birth, it may not immediately be apparent that there is anything wrong. For some families, they do not learn that their child has the problem until they age and begin showing signs after more development. It wasn’t until the girl in this case was 18 months old that her parents noticed that something might be wrong. The girl was not developing as others her age were. She still wasn’t sitting up by herself, crawling, or walking after a year and a half. Eventually medical professionals conducted a series of tests, including an MRI, and concluded that she had cerebral palsy, essentially caused by an underdevelopment of the brain.

The problems affects the girl in a few ways. She has vision problems, minimal hand control, and poor short term memory. She also has mobility problems, and currently relies upon the help of others and a walker to get around. The girl’s hand control problems mean that she cannot use her fingers to count as she learns math like her classmates. She is attending weekly physical and occupational therapy classes in an effort to improve. The girl will never have the independence of other children, but her parents hope that she will be able to learn more as she ages.

The young child in this case does not appear to have developed cerebral palsy because of any misconduct on the part of medical professionals involved in her birth. Sometimes birth problems simply happen. Yet the Chicago injury attorneys at our firm know that there are some instances where the problems could and should have been prevented. It is in those cases that the law provides an avenue for the victims to seek recourse.

Continue reading " Young Girl Faces Life with Cerebral Palsy " »

November 15, 2011

Mother Claims Bowel Damage Caused By C-Section Delay

Yesterday our birth injury attorneys discussed the claims of some medical professionals that Cesarean section birth were far too frequent than necessary. We explained, however, that one of the main forms of negligence on the parts of doctors involved in complex deliveries was their failure to perform a C-section. As we noted, both points needed to be balanced. Doctors could likely take a more reasonable approach to advising patients on C-sections when they were not essential. The increased complications caused by the surgical procedure should not be ignored. Yet, when real complications developed in birth that demanded emergency actions, doctors cannot unnecessarily delay in performing a C-section.

Even though, as explained yesterday, C-section deliveries are at an all-time high, there remain many births that occur where the baby is in distress and a C-section is not performed in as timely a manner as necessary resulting in a severe birth injury. That appears to be what one family is claiming happened to their daughter according to a report in The Daily Citizen. The story explains that a mother has filed a birth injury lawsuit claiming that her now one-and-a-half year old daughter suffered a bowel injury because of her doctor’s failure to perform a timely C-section.

According to documents filed with the suit, the mother claims that her daughter developed an obstructed and enlarged bowels while she was in utero. Doctors were aware of the problem, and well before the delivery they had concerns about the safety of a vaginal delivery. Yet, even though doctors had previously warned against a vaginal delivery, when the women went into labor, the medical team arranged for her to deliver without a C-section. This was apparently against the express order of her doctor.

The vaginal birth led to a variety of problems, claim the family, whereby the young child eventually had to undergo surgery. The child ultimately lost part of her intestines and she remains on a feeding pump to this day—a year and a half after her birth. The problems will apparently last her entire life. The family filed the suit this week claiming that the professionals involved, had they acted as other reasonable doctors would have, could have prevented the harm. Of course, negative outcomes in a birth do not automatically signify that the civil law standards were violated. Instead, it will be important for specific information about the case to be investigated and brought to light. The medical professionals conduct can then be compared to a reasonable standard and a jury can decide whether attaching liability is appropriate.

Our Chicago birth injury lawyers have worked with families in similar situations. There are often real concerns that doctors should have performed a C-Section birth when they knew that problems would develop from vaginal births. This case suggests even greater problems, because there are claims that a C-section was actually ordered ahead of time but ignored. Beyond a mere competence issue that bespeaks of a serious communication breakdown between medical staff members. While less common, problems relaying information between groups of doctors are very serious issues that, as shown here, have real consequences.

In Other News: Two of our companion blogs--The Illinois Medical Malpractice Blog and Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog--were nominated for inclusion as one of the Top 25 Tort Blogs of 2011. The award is part of the LexisNexis project which seeks to feature blogs that set the standard in certain practice areas and industries. The voting to narrow down the field is currently underway, and we would love to have your vote. All you have to do is add a comment at the end of the post about the Top 25 bogs.

Please Follow This Link To Vote: Vote for Our Blog. Thanks for your support!

See Our Related Blog Posts:

World’s Largest Study Underway on the Fear of Childbirth

Mothers and Children at Risk in Early Cesarean Sections

November 14, 2011

OB/GYN Call For Return to Natural Childbirth

A group of medical professionals in the obstetrics and gynecology fields recently released a call to pregnant women nationwide to return to healthy natural childbirth and away from what they dubbed the “C-Section Epidemic.” The plea was made in Advanced Chiropractic Health and Wellness News. The doctors are giving free pregnancy and childbirth lectures in the hopes of addressing what they see is a rash of unnecessary C-section births.

As the doctors explain, and our Chicago birth injury lawyers have blogged about, the nation’s C-section rate is currently at an all-time high. The doctors here claim that it is now the most common surgical procedure in the country. They explain how in most states anywhere from 20-40% of all new babies are delivered via C-section instead of natural childbirth. These high C-section figures are far too high, claim the doctors, because many are unnecessary.

It was explained that many fail to understand that C-sections are major surgical procedures that comes with a wide range of complications and require much longer recovery times when compared to natural childbirth. While these procedures are seemingly done in order to prevent birth injuries for the young child, they actually may provide the involved family more harm than good. The doctors giving the presentation explain that C-sections increase the likelihood of hemorrhage, bowel injury, bladder injury, infections, and may actual compromise future fertility.

The lecturers on the topic also admitted dismay that so many doctors discourage trial pregnancies in woman who have had a prior C-Section. These births are known as VBACs. This creates a vicious cycle, they explain, whereby mothers that are forced to have their first child via C-Section often feel forced to have the rest of their children the same way. Right now only 8% of children are born vaginally after their mother had a previous C-Section. This is down from rates of VBACs that was near 30% in previous years. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has claimed that VBACs are appropriate under certain circumstances. In addition, research on the subject continues to reveal that in certain cases they can be preferable for the patient, claim the group of doctors.

The doctors admit that at times, surgical deliveries are necessary. For example, it is imperative that medical professionals act in any manner necessary, especially via surgical options, when a child is in fetal distress, there is unresolved labor unrest, the child is in breech position, or if there are complications from multiple pregnancies. Yet, they maintain that there remain far too many C-Sections than are warranted by the percentage of these actual conditions.

In the end, as with all things, a balance must be sought. Our Chicago birth accident lawyers know that failure to perform C-sections in a timely fashion when necessary have very real consequences for the child. Many birth injury lawsuits have revolved around that issue. However, there is a different between necessary surgical birth and C-sections performed for no safety reasons. Medical professionals should be capable of understanding the basic difference and guiding patients as such.

In Other News: Two of our companion blogs--The Illinois Medical Malpractice Blog and Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog--were nominated for inclusion as one of the Top 25 Tort Blogs of 2011. The award is part of the LexisNexis project which seeks to feature blogs that set the standard in certain practice areas and industries. The voting to narrow down the field is currently underway, and we would love to have your vote. All you have to do is add a comment at the end of the post about the Top 25 bogs.

Please Follow This Link To Vote: Vote for Our Blog. Thanks for your support!

See Our Related Blog Posts:

World’s Largest Study Underway on the Fear of Childbirth

Mothers and Children at Risk in Early Cesarean Sections

November 13, 2011

Simple Heart Defect Screenings May Save Infant Lives

As discussed yesterday, screening for potential birth defects, abnormalities, and other developmental defects in children has been the focus of significant research over the past few years. These new techniques are replacing previously invasive procedures that presented unnecessary risks to children. In many cases the new tests are allowing medical professionals to diagnose the birth problems earlier than before and provide earlier treatment. Time is often an important factor in these situations, and therefore every step that can be taken to provide earlier diagnosis may ultimately save lives.

Along those lines, NJ Spotlight recently discussed a new screening process that is available to test young infants for heart defects. The test, known as pulse oximetry, involves placing a tiny sensor on the toes of young infants measuring oxygen in his blood. The purpose is to detect low levels of oxygen, which indicate a congenital heart disease. These heart problems are a common birth defects, and failure to detect it earlier often results in serious problems for the infant; it can be fatal. These screenings procedures are new, and for the first time they allow medical experts to identify potential problems before the newborn has shown actual signs of the disease. As one involved medical expert explained, “for some of these heart lesions, early intervention is life saving.”

Just last month New Jersey became the first state to mandate this screening. Several children have already been found with heart conditions as a result of the screening, and experts believe they likely would have died had the early test not been performed. Following identification of a problem in these early detects the young victims are often able to have surgery performed to correct the problem. Following New Jersey’s actions, other states have looked at the benefit of mandating the screenings. However, many other states do not screen newborns for heart defects or other recommended blood tests. Financial situations are involved in these screening requirements, and so various states have reached different conclusions about the merits of requiring the test.

The federal government did not have the pulse oximetry on the list of federally recommended newborn screenings before New Jersey officials signed it into law. However, since that time, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary has added the test to the recommended list. At least two other states will implement the recommendations this year, and many others have proposals waiting to do that same. Clearly the more newborns who have this screening, the more lives will ultimately be saved that otherwise would have been lost.

The Chicago birth injury lawyers at our firm applaud the actions taken by those officials who are working to spread the used of this screening and ultimately saving young lives. Through the years of working will local Illinois injury victims we have come to appreciate the immense devastation caused to entire families when young children suffer through medical complications. It is particularly tragic when those problems could have been prevented. It is reasonable for families to demand that everything possible be done to prevent these problems from developing.

In Other News: Two of our companion blogs--The Illinois Medical Malpractice Blog and Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog--were nominated for inclusion as one of the Top 25 Tort Blogs of 2011. The award is part of the LexisNexis project which seeks to feature blogs that set the standard in certain practice areas and industries. The voting to narrow down the field is currently underway, and we would love to have your vote. All you have to do is add a comment at the end of the post about the Top 25 bogs.

Please Follow This Link To Vote: Vote for Our Blog. Thanks for your support!

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Family Receives $1.3 Million Dollars in Brachial Plexus Birth Injury Lawsuit

Chicago Birth Injury Lawyer: Spotlight on Brachial Plexus Injuries

November 12, 2011

The Safest Birth Defect Screenings May Be Maternal Blood Test

In most individual cases, the civil justice system can only react to problems that come up, and it rarely is used to prevent specific harms. Our Chicago birth defect lawyers work with clients who have already suffered harm and are simply using the legal system to hold wrongdoers accountable and seek redress so that their child will have access to the resources they need to live as well as possible in spite of their situation. Of course, an underlying theme in these cases is also a hope that the accountability will encourage others in the same situation to ensure that proper care is provided at all times to prevent the problem.

At the end of the day, all families whose new child suffered a birth defect because of medical negligence would give back their entire legal award if only they were able to go back in time and prevent the harm. Prevention forever remains the main goal of birth injury advocacy efforts. That is why our Chicago injury lawyers closely follow medical development related to testing and other prevention issues which can identify problems well before they arise.

For example, the USA Today reported this week that a team of scientists has recently conducted research for the first time which used a noninvasive blood test to screen for a rare fetal abnormality. Specifically, the researchers were looking for a chromosomal irregularity called “fetal microdeletion syndrome.” The researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center claim that they were able to detect the irregularity in the unborn child via a DNA analysis on a blood sample from the prospective mother.

This is an important step, because currently mothers who suspect that their child may have the irregularity are forced to undergo a much more invasive diagnostic technique, like amniocentesis. Besides being much less desirable for comfort reasons for the mother, these more invasive tests also present a risk to the health of the fetus. Therefore, this potential new option has multiple benefits. One involved researcher summarized the development by noting that “the most compelling point is that we have been able to illustrate a proof of concept. We have shown that you can identify these sorts of abnormalities without having to collect a physical sample from the baby or the placenta.”

Researchers continue to work on similar studies in relation to other developmental birth defects. For example, maternal blood tests are also being developed to identify potential fetal abnormalities like Down’s syndrome and spina bifida. All told, according to the March of Dimes, roughly one out of every one hundred and fifty children are born with some chromosomal abnormality. They can develop during sperm or egg growth and both before and after conception. In many cases these problems result in significant mental and physical defects for the child. Right now the invasive amniocentesis is the only way to test for these situations. Yet if the blood test is proven as accurate, then it will undoubtedly become much more common as it is noninvasive, cheaper, and less risky.

In Other News: Two of our companion blogs--The Illinois Medical Malpractice Blog and Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog--were nominated for inclusion as one of the Top 25 Tort Blogs of 2011. The award is part of the LexisNexis project which seeks to feature blogs that set the standard in certain practice areas and industries. The voting to narrow down the field is currently underway, and we would love to have your vote. All you have to do is add a comment at the end of the post about the Top 25 bogs.

Please Follow This Link To Vote: Vote for Our Blog. Thanks for your support!

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Understanding Cerebral Palsy

Birth Injuries Often Have Lifelong Consequences

November 11, 2011

Lack of Oxygen to Brain May Cause Focal Dystonia Birth Injury

Our Chicago birth injury attorneys have learned over the years that there are certain trends in cases involved preventable injuries to newborns caused by medical malpractice. In perhaps more cases than not, the problems arise by medical professionals’ failure to take necessary steps in abnormal or emergency births. Of course, there is always risk in these situations that is completely out of the hands of caregivers. However, the risks of these situations does not mean that medical professionals’ failure to act reasonably is excusable when that failure leads to harm to the child or mother.

In these botched emergency births, the specific injury to the child is often a lack of oxygen to the brain. The brain requires a constant flow of blood and oxygen to thrive. When oxygen and blood are kept from the brain for a certain period of time (which happens in delayed fetal distress), then the child often develops permanent complications. One of the lesser known problems caused by lack of oxygen to the brain in childbirth is known as focal dystonia. As described in a new story in Empowher, focal dystonia is a condition that causes victims to have involuntary contractions of their muscles, often in the jaw, vocal cords, and neck.

Beyond the birth injury problem, focal dystonia can also arise in other situations. Other brains injuries can lead to the problem, such as those caused by stroke. In other situations a vitamin B12 deficiency has been known to cause it. Infections, carbon monoxide poisoning, and heavy metal poising have also been shown to cause the condition. Therefore, in many cases, focal dystonia is rooted in the negligence of others.

There are a few treatment options currently available to sufferers. Medication can be taken which affects neurotransmitters and help ease symptoms of sufferers. This includes drugs such as bromocriptine, trihexphenidyl, muscle relaxants, procyclidine HCl, carbidopa, and others. It is important to reiterate that these medications do not slow progression of focal dystonia, but instead they merely alleviate some symptoms. Of course, the medications also come with side effects of their own. Some of these drugs are known to cause sedation and memory problems. Besides medication, injections of botulinum toxin are another treatment option for the condition. These injections are often thought to be the best treatment method, because they are best at preventing muscle contractions. Usually patients need new injections every few months to ensure the contractions are kept at bay.

The Illinois birth injury lawyers at our firm encourage all those who may have developed this problem through the misconduct of another to contact legal professionals to learn about their rights. The consequences of these injuries are far reaching, and in many cases they can affect lives permanently. There is no reason why those responsible for the problems are not asked to pay for the consequences of their conduct. The civil law is designed toward that specific end, and victims need only contact proper help to use the system to protect their rights.

In Other News: Two of our companion blogs--The Illinois Medical Malpractice Blog and Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog--were nominated for inclusion as one of the Top 25 Tort Blogs of 2011. The award is part of the LexisNexis project which seeks to feature blogs that set the standard in certain practice areas and industries. The voting to narrow down the field is currently underway, and we would love to have your vote. All you have to do is add a comment at the end of the post about the Top 25 bogs.

Please Follow This Link To Vote: Vote for Our Blog. Thanks for your support!

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

November 10, 2011

Concerns Raised About Antidepressant Connection to Child Autism

According to a new story from Focus News, observers are again issuing warnings to women everywhere about the dangerous effect that certain medications may have on the development of their children. As our Chicago birth injury attorneys have frequently shared, antidepressants have been the particular focus of many who have concerns about the effect that the drugs might have when taken by pregnant women. Specifically, studies have already shown that the problem may lead to heart defects in babies, and now some are speculating that the drugs may also increase the risk of children suffering from autism.

Historically, a string of birth injuries have long been linked to the taking of certain medications during pregnancy. Many heart and lung problems are caused by prescription drugs that enter the mother’s bloodstream and affect the child. However, new evidence continues to come out suggesting drugs that are still used by pregnant woman today may actually pose dangerously high risks of causing complications. Antidepressants are the latest targets.

Since 2005 studies have shown that use of certain antidepressants during childbirth leads to birthing problems. For one thing, heart problems are more prevalent in children born to mothers who have taken selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These include popular drugs like Zoloft and Paxil. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) actually issued a Public Health Advisory on that very topic more than six years ago. The warning was made following the publication of a variety of studies which found that a mother’s exposure to these drugs, particularly in the first and third trimesters, may lead to atrial and ventricular septal heart defects. These are developmental problems caused by problems with the development of the heart wall.

It wasn’t long after the SSRI advisory was issued discussing heart problems that another warning was made pertaining to antidepressant drug use. This time researchers had found that the drug use led to significant increase in a child developing a condition known as persistent pulmonary hypertension. Only this summer even more troubling research was published. An Archives of General Psychiatry article found a link between SSRI use and the development of autism spectrum disorder. Specifically, the researchers found that the autism risk doubled when the mother had taken antidepressant in the previous twelve months.

Whenever a child is born with abnormalities or ailments, parents begin wondering what caused their child’s problems. Our Chicago injury attorneys at Levin & Perconti know that in many cases, when the root causes of the problems are properly investigated, the misconduct of others is at least a partial cause. Occasionally it is caused by a medical team that improperly responded to an emergency birth or fails to notice signs of fetal distress. At other times the problem could be rooted in actions in the pregnancy itself, such as a mother being given drugs that involved parties (the drugs companies or doctors) should have know presented dangerous risks. If you suspect that a root cause of your own child’s problems is related to others’ misconduct, give our Chicago birth injury lawyer to learn how we can help.

In Other News: Two of our companion blogs--The Illinois Medical Malpractice Blog and Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog--were nominated for inclusion as one of the Top 25 Tort Blogs of 2011. The award is part of the LexisNexis project which seeks to feature blogs that set the standard in certain practice areas and industries. The voting to narrow down the field is currently underway, and we would love to have your vote. All you have to do is add a comment at the end of the post about the Top 25 bogs.

Please Follow This Link To Vote: Vote for Our Blog. Thanks for your support!

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Taking Diflucan During Pregnancy Linked to Birth Injuries

Doctors Must Pay Close Attention to Medication Given to Expectant Mothers

November 9, 2011

Nearly One Out of Three Hysterectomies are Unnecessary

Our Illinois birth injury lawyers know that beyond harm to children from inadequate medical care, the mothers involved can often suffer serious injury. Trouble in childbirth or during pregnancy can have long-lasting effects on the life of the mother. For example, after certain problems arise, a mother maybe advised that she should have a hysterectomy. The surgical procedure involves the removal of a woman’s uterus. This is the location where a baby grows when a woman is pregnant. Therefore, after a hysterectomy a woman is no longer capable of having children.

It goes without saying that these procedures have serious implications for the woman involved—as well as their entire family. All patients who are advised that they need these procedures should have the comfort of knowing that the procedure is the only option available to prevent certain permanent complications. Taking away a woman’s ability to have future children is a very real loss and should only be undertaken in the most serious of circumstances. Yet, as reported in The Expert Review, many observers have raised serious concerns about a rash of unnecessary hysterectomies. In fact of the nearly 600,000 hysterectomies that are performed every year, some speculate that as many as 200,000 of them may not be needed.

What most patients do not know is that these procedures are quite profitable for the involved professionals. The Hysterectomy Educational Resources and Services (HERS) Foundation reports that doctors and drug companies make more than $17 billion every year from these surgical procedures. HERS explains that a staggering 98% of the women who contact their office eventually learn after consultation with a board certified gynecologist that the procedure is not necessary in their case. Of course, besides loosing the ability to have children, these operations also have other complications which should be avoided if possible. For one thing, a long, often painful recovery from major abdominal surgery is never a welcome prospect. Other symptoms include personality changes, short-term memory loss, sexual problems, chest pain, and a slightly increased cardiovascular risk.

It is important to remember that with all medical procedures, consent is needed before medical professionals can proceed. Otherwise, the medical professional is committing battery. Consent not only requires that a patient (or their representative) actually agree but also that they be properly informed of the risks and alternatives before making their decision. Yet, there are concerns that many women do not give informed consent before these procedures are performed—a serious violation of the civil law and medical standards which must never go without redress.

Our Chicago birth injury lawyers continue to urge all patients to take an active role in the care that they receive at medical centers. While hysterectomies may be necessary for the health of the mother, it is important that unnecessary procedures not be performed. If you suspect that you did not need the surgical operation or do not believe that you gave informed consent before agreeing to the operation, please get in touch with our Chicago injury lawyers to share your story and learn how we might be able to help.

In Other News: Two of our companion blogs--The Illinois Medical Malpractice Blog and Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog--were nominated for inclusion as one of the Top 25 Tort Blogs of 2011. The award is part of the LexisNexis project which seeks to feature blogs that set the standard in certain practice areas and industries. The voting to narrow down the field is currently underway, and we would love to have your vote. All you have to do is add a comment at the end of the post about the Top 25 bogs.

Please Follow This Link To Vote: Vote for Our Blog. Thanks for your support!

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Birth Injury Lawsuit Against Midwife Settles for $730,000

Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Filed After Pregnancy Complications Leads to Deadly Blood Infection

November 8, 2011

Genetic Counseling Seeks to Help Parents with Prenatal Diagnosis

The Illinois birth injury lawyers at our firm have helped many families whose children suffered harm because of mistakes made during their birth. Unfortunately, even if a child develops perfectly healthy, if too much force is used during delivery, or if emergency C-sections are not performed, or a number of other delivery mistakes are made, then the child can suffer permanent, and even fatal, harm. The perilous situation of many babies in these situations and the potential consequences make it essential for those involved in providing the medical care to do everything in their power to keep children safe. When they fail to do so, it is appropriate for victims to seek legal action, potentially filing an Illinois birth injury lawsuit to ensure that the responsible parties are held accountable and proper redress is provided.

Of course, the redress received after these suits is never sufficient to fully correct the harm caused by the medical mistake. We know that all families, if given a choice, would prefer that their child never have the ailment at all. This is true whenever children suffer birth defects or other conditions, including cases where medical negligence had nothing to do with the problem. This desire to better understand the risks face by their children and to take steps to account for those risks is what is leading many more families to consider genetic counseling and prenatal diagnosis. As reported in a story this week at OBGYN.net, modern genetics allows researchers to examine DNA, genes, and chromosomes to test for inherited disorders and other potential abnormalities. These tools helps families better detect neural tube defect, cystic fibrosis, Down’s syndrome, and other birth conditions.

The heart of the screening is the process of allowing couples to learn about their families’ predisposition to certain medical abnormalities before conceiving a child. However, the testing can also be used after a child is conceived. Over the years medical professionals have learned that individuals from certain backgrounds, for example, are genetically predisposed to have higher rates of certain conditions. One of the more well-known predispositions, for example, is African-Americans increased risk of passing on sickle-cell anemia to their children. There are many similar predispositions of which the general public is often unaware, like Caucasians increased risk of passing on cystic fibrosis. Yet, it is important for couples to remember that preconception testing only deals with odds of certain outcomes, and cannot determine with certainty whether a child will or will not be born with a certain condition.

Our Chicago injury attorneys know that having a child with complications is a life-altering event for the parents and families involved. All tools that help parents better understand these conditions, perhaps even before a child is even conceived, can help families better prepare and plan for their future. We encourage all families to take advantage of all the resources available to help their family planning proceed in as safe a manner as possible. Of course, that includes taking an active role in the care they receive while pregnant and during childbirth to ensure their medical professionals act reasonably at all times to prevent birth injuries.

In Other News: Two of our companion blogs--The Illinois Medical Malpractice Blog and Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog--were nominated for inclusion as one of the Top 25 Tort Blogs of 2011. The award is part of the LexisNexis project which seeks to feature blogs that set the standard in certain practice areas and industries. The voting to narrow down the field is currently underway, and we would love to have your vote. All you have to do is add a comment at the end of the post about the Top 25 bogs.

Please Follow This Link To Vote: Vote for Our Blog. Thanks for your support!

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

November 7, 2011

Birth Injury Lawsuit Filed After Brachial Plexus Injury

News Chief reported late last month on a newly filed birth injury lawsuit filed by a family whose infant suffered a string of complications after an allegedly botched childbirth. The child victim was born over two years ago, and, according to court documents, the child suffered permanent injuries that could have been prevented had the care provided by doctors, nurses, and other caregivers been up to a reasonable standard.

The young boy suffered a severe brachial plexus injury. As our Chicago birth injury attorneys have often explained, brachial plexus continue to be one of the most common birth injuries, affecting two or three births out of every one thousand. The brachial plexus is a bundle of nerves in the shoulder controlling movement in one’s shoulder, wrist, hand and fingers. When these nerves are injured in birth, the child often suffers severe mobility problems in the affected arms.

Many brachial plexus injuries are preventable. Often they arise when a child’s shoulder becomes caught on the mother’s pubic bone. When that happens—a condition known as shoulder dystocia—a doctor or nurse must be very careful not to apply too much force to the child. Otherwise, the medical team risks stretching the sensitive brachial plexus nerves. In addition, brachial plexus injuries often arise when a baby is born in breech position. Breech deliveries occur when the child is exiting the mother’s body feet first. When that happens, the child is at risk of having arms or shoulders become lodged in unnatural positions. If a medical professional fails to act carefully when dislodging the infant’s limb, than a severe injury may arise.

In this latest case, the parents of the injured child claim that the caregiver’s negligence led to their child suffering a debilitating brachial plexus injury. According to the court documents, the medical professionals did not act in a timely fashion to treat the signs of fetal distress. In addition, after it was clear that the child was in danger of suffering injury, the medical staff did not act quickly enough to deliver the child. The complaint alleges that the delivery team should have recognized the child’s shoulder dystocia. The family claims that the brachial plexus injury was caused by the doctors and nurses applying too much force and traction to the baby’s head during his birth.

Our Chicago birth injury lawyers have helped many families whose children suffered brachial plexus injuries due to the negligence of their caregivers. These injuries often forever change the lives the young victims. Many of those victims will require extensive and costly surgeries and rehabilitation. In many cases, these injuries are never fully curable. When the nerves are so severely injured that they cannot heal, there are times when children will never gain full use of their limbs. It is only appropriate for those responsible for the wrongdoing to provide redress to the victim and their families who are forced to bear that cost. If you or someone you know is in this situation, please visit our office to learn how we can help.

In Other News: Two of our companion blogs--The Illinois Medical Malpractice Blog and Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog--were nominated for inclusion as one of the Top 25 Tort Blogs of 2011. The award is part of the LexisNexis project which seeks to feature blogs that set the standard in certain practice areas and industries. The voting to narrow down the field is currently underway, and we would love to have your vote. All you have to do is add a comment at the end of the post about the Top 25 bogs.

Please Follow This Link To Vote: Vote for Our Blog. Thanks for your support!

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Family Receives $1.3 Million Dollars in Brachial Plexus Birth Injury Lawsuit

Chicago Birth Injury Lawyer: Spotlight on Brachial Plexus Injuries

November 6, 2011

New State Review Finds Birth Injury Deaths Are Often Preventable

A new study reported on late this week by the Journal Democrat has found troubling new information which reveals that nearly 20% of deadly birth injuries could have been prevented in the area. The statistic was produced following the review of a study conducted by the state’s Child Death Review Team. The body examined death records of 551 deaths that occurred in 2007 and 2008. The medical professionals on the review panel found that nearly 165 of those deaths were preventable.

Overall, the review found that nearly one-third of all deaths of children of all ages are related to birth injuries and complications. Premature birth was the leading cause of death among this group. Premature births can occur in many contexts, from separation of the placenta from the wall of the uterus (placental abruption) and infections of the placental tissue to a weakening of the cervix. Birth injuries were also a significant cause of death according to the survey. The most common include chromosome abnormalities, neural tube defects, and heart defects.

The medical professionals involved in the review found that a wide range of factors can prevent these deaths. For example, neural tube defects can almost always be prevented if the mother takes folic acid sufficiently. Also, medical professionals must be sure to act appropriately during complex births, as failure to take reasonable medical action often results in deadly injuries that could have been prevented. As the chair of the review team explained, “the education of parents and the involvement of communities and health care providers can make a big difference in reducing the number of preventable deaths.”

The team suggests that pregnant women, their health providers, and the community at large should engage in a comprehensive prevention program to ensure safer deliveries. That includes analysis of the signs and symptoms of preterm labor. Our Illinois birth injury lawyers fully support better integration of inclusive communication between pregnant women and their doctors. In many cases, if patients and doctors had better communication regarding potential problems and symptoms, then more mistakes are caught ahead of time, before they develop into serious injury.

Sadly, in some situations there is nothing that the expecting mother can do to prevent the harm. For example, in the middle of childbirth, it is obviously appropriate for the family to rely on the professional advice of their medical professional on major decisions—such as whether or not a C-section need be performed. When the family’s reliance on the medical professional is misplaced, resulting in harm, then the justice system allows the family to receive compensation for that harm. If you or your family is in this situation, please get in touch with our Chicago injury lawyers to share your story and see how we can help. We have decades of experience helping families in this situation. You can learn about the law in this area by visiting our office for a free consultation. We work on a contingency basis with all families, so that you do not have to pay anything to have our professional assistance guiding your case to a timely, fair resolution.

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

November 5, 2011

Zoloft Birth Injury Lawsuit Filed After Infants Die

It goes without saying that pregnant women must be particularly mindful of everything that they put into their bodies when they are expecting. Obviously parents want to do everything in their power to ensure their child is born healthy and does not fall victim to a birth injury or birth defect. Part of the way that parents seek to ensure the well-being of their new addition is by following the advice of doctors and other professionals. Many are specifically trained and compensated to help parents through this process, both when the mother is pregnant and during the birth of the child. Parents cannot be faulted for listening to professional advice. Our Chicago birth injury lawyers know that at time those doctors fail to act reasonably, causing severe harm, and resulting in Illinois birth injury lawsuits.

Unfortunately, negligent medical professionals are not the only ones who occasionally let patients down and cause severe harm. For example, according to About Lawsuits, a new Zoloft wrongful death suit was filed by a family after their infant was born with a heart defect and died shortly after her birth. According to documents filed in the suit, the couple is alleging that the maker of the antidepressant drug Zoloft is responsible for the death of their child. The family alleges that the expectant mother took the drug while pregnant after it was prescribed to her. She claims that the drug led to problems in the baby’s development.

The infant was diagnosed with a string of problems including: Tatralogy of Falot, truncus arteriosus, strial septal defect, confluent branch pulmonary arteries, and several others. In total, the heart developmental problems were too much for the baby to overcome and she died the day after she was born. The family claims that all of those problems were side effects of Zoloft and, that the company knew these birth defects could be caused by the drug.

Court documents filed by the plaintiff states that Pfizer knew about the risks presented by Zoloft when given to expectant mothers. The family claims that the company had data for years which pointed to the dangers presented by the drug but did not to protect the unsuspecting patients who were given the drug. This latest suit is not the first to suggest that Pfizer failed to act appropriately. Many other families have filed similar suits as of late. At the heart of each of them are claims that the large pharmaceutical company did not adequately warn pregnant mothers about the risks.

Zoloft is a popular antidepressant drug that has been in use since the early 1990s to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety. In fact, it remains the most prescribed antidepressant in the country. It is part of a commonly used (and often abused) class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). If you have suspicions that this drug has caused harm to you or a child that suffered a birth injury, be sure to get in touch with a legal professional in your area to discover if it is appropriate to pursue legal action.

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Hypothermia Treatment for Lack of Oxygen Birth Injuries

Illinois Birth Injury Lawsuit Settles for Over $15 Million

November 4, 2011

Child Safety Group Urges Parents to “Bump the Bumpers”

Last week our Chicago birth injury attorneys discussed the growing awareness about the dangers posed to young children by certain products formerly thought to be safe. At the top of that list are crib bumpers. The potential dangers of crib bumpers were recently reiterated by story published today from JPost Magazine.

These bumpers are essentially soft cushions placed around the outside of a crib in order to prevent the child from hitting their head on the wood, plastic, or other hard material of the crib. However, closer investigation into the product has found the bumpers do little to prevent serious injury to the child, and actually add more danger than they protect. The bumpers are generally plumped up, upholstered object. As such they present asphyxiation dangers or other problems if the child gets covered or tangled by the objects. They are a good example of the fragility of young children, because while the objects would obviously be harmless to even toddlers, they can cause serious harm to the youngest babies.

On top of their danger, the product does little to actually protect children from harm. Safety advocates have noted that a baby bumping their head on the crib while turning over does not caused serious harm. That is why it remains surprising that so many crib bumpers are still sold in stores and even included as parts of cribs sets. Awareness of the danger is still new, and so it is likely that as more people and companies become aware of the problem, changes will be enacted to limit their use to keep infants safe.

Unfortunately, our Chicago injury lawyers know that product manufacturers often cannot be relied on to act reasonably to keep the users of their products safe. History is replete with examples of companies that downplayed dangers and ignored safety information about products in order to keep them on the shelves. At times families hurt by these dangerous products can recover for their losses from the companies that allowed the product to be made and sold.

It is natural for parents to be immensely protective of their new additions. Infants are essentially defenseless, and they count on others for their every need. Even small mistakes on the part of those who provide care or services to the child, from parents to doctors, can have lifelong consequences on the child’s life. Our Chicago birth accident attorneys have worked with many families whose children developed life-changing problems because of mistakes made by their medical professionals at birth. In some of those cases the children did not survive the childbirth error. In addition, our Chicago injury attorneys also work with families whose children have been hurt in other ways—such as by negligently designed products or the mistakes of other caregivers at schools and daycare centers. The legal system demands that all community members act reasonable when dealing with one another. When another person or business fails to do so, if is right to seek out legal help to receive compensation for the losses that were suffered.

In Other News: Two of our companion blogs--The Illinois Medical Malpractice Blog and Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog--were nominated for inclusion as one of the Top 25 Tort Blogs of 2011. The award is part of the LexisNexis project which seeks to feature blogs that set the standard in certain practice areas and industries. The voting to narrow down the field is currently underway, and we would love to have your vote. All you have to do is add a comment at the end of the post about the Top 25 bogs.

Please Follow This Link To Vote: Vote for Our Blog. Thanks for your support!

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Toddler Left Brain Damaged After Blind Cord Hanging Injury

Child Safety Advocates Warn Against Using Crib Bumpers

November 3, 2011

New Birth Injury Lawsuits Filed Connected to Thalidomide Exposure

One unique aspect of many birth injury lawsuits is the length of time that often exists between the harm and the ultimate recovery. In a typical Illinois personal injury case, the individual is injured, the one responsible for the harm is known immediately, and a suit progresses to ensure the victim has the proper resources necessary to recover. However, in birth injury cases, the specific cause of the problem is often not known for years—or decades—down the road. This presents legal complexities.

For example, an editorial in the Seattle Personal Inquirer on a new birth defect lawsuit illustrates this problem well. Over the years, it has come out that certain drug manufacturing companies knew of risks that their products presented to unborn children. When expectant mothers or those who were working to get pregnant took these medications, the risk of the child suffering from a birth defect rose considerably. One of the most prominent was thalidomide—a drug widely used in the late 1950s and early 1960s to ease morning sickness of pregnant women. The drug was ultimately discovered to cause serious birth defects; many children died or were deformed as a result of their mother being prescribed the drug.

It was assumed by most that the problem was isolated mostly to Europe, because thalidomide was rarely used in the United States. In fact, for the last fifty years this assumption has held—most assume American children were not affected by the problem. Yet, newly uncovered evidence suggests that assumption may be incorrect. Some experts are now suggesting that there may have been many thalidomide victims in the United States.

A recent birth injury lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a few victims born decades ago after their parents in the U.S. were given the dangerous drug. Those working on the case have uncovered information that shows that the German company which developed the drug, created a distribution agreement for the drug in 1959. The American company which was part of the agreement then began conducting human trials, including trials on pregnant women. They did this while conceding that they had no access to human clinical safety data.

The company eventually expanded their effort to make and sell the drug in the US. They renamed it Kevadon, and began a “Kevadon Hospital Program” to continue using the drug in an ultimate effort to spur wide sales across the country. All told, more than 2.5 million doses of the drug were given to up to 20,000 patients. By late 1961 German doctors began suspecting the drug was causing a rash of defects. Thalidomide was soon pulled from German shelves. However, its maker continued to claim that it was safe, and efforts in the U.S. continued unabated. Many more patients received the drug even after its dangers were clear.

It was only several months later that the trials stopped and the American company scraped efforts to sell the dangerous drug. Later, when the significant number of defects were made wide knowledge, American drug manufacturers tried to reassure residents by claiming that the drug was never sold in the U.S. Of course, this ignored the fact that more than 1.5 million doses had in fact been distributed to 20,000 patients by at least 1,200 different doctors across the country. Many of those prescribed the drugs ultimately had children with defects.

In Other News: Two of our companion blogs--The Illinois Medical Malpractice Blog and Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog--were nominated for inclusion as one of the Top 25 Tort Blogs of 2011. The award is part of the LexisNexis project which seeks to feature blogs that set the standard in certain practice areas and industries. The voting to narrow down the field is currently underway, and we would love to have your vote. All you have to do is add a comment at the end of the post about the Top 25 bogs.

Please Follow This Link To Vote: Vote for Our Blog. Thanks for your support!

See Our Related Blog Posts:

The Connection Between Birth Defects and Antidepressants

Paxil Related Birth Injury Claims May Still Be Filed

November 2, 2011

New Research Gives Hope to Those Seeking Cerebral Palsy Prevention

Not long ago our Chicago birth injury attorneys shared information on cerebral palsy—the term used to describe conditions affecting movement and brain problems in infants. Cerebral palsy is a severely damaging condition that forever alters the life of its young victims. It is for that reason that all efforts at preventing its development should be taken. When medical professionals fail to do everything in their power to prevent this injury, then a birth injury lawsuit may be necessary to ensure liability and accountability.

We know that filing an Illinois medical malpractice suit after these accidents are helpful ways of ensuring that a family will have the resources necessary to provide the care needed for their loved one as a consequences of the medical negligence. However, in an ideal world, the injuries would never arise in the first place. Medical researchers continue to work on studies involving these issues, hopefully discovering new methods of preventing cerebral palsy from developing at all. There has recently been some progress on that very front.

According to information published today in Medical Express, scientists have recently been able to prevent cerebral palsy-like brain damage from affecting mice. The researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine used a protein to prevent brain damage in situations that otherwise would have been particularly harmful. The professionals used a protein known as Nmnat1 to protect brain development in mice which were designed to mimic development in newborns. Certain mice were genetically engineered to produce increased level of the protective protein. Researchers then waited and compared the level of brain damage of regular mice and those with more of the Nmat1 protein. Those with enhanced protein levels had noticeably less brain damage as soon as six hours after an injury. After a week, the differences were even starker with engineered mice experiencing much less damage to brain areas which usually lead to cerebral palsy problems.

The protective protein may ultimately work to prevent cerebral palsy by substantially reducing the damage caused to a developing brain that is deprived of oxygen. One of the main causes of this and similar birth injuries is a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the brain caused by complexities during childbirth. Beyond cerebral palsy, these findings may also ultimately help medical professionals treats strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, and other conditions involved brain degeneration.

As with much new medical research, there is still a lot more to figure out. Professionals are still not exactly sure how the protein works to protect the brain. Right now those involved with this study suspect that the protein blocks the effects of a neurotransmitter—glutamate When a brain cell is damaged, it releases glutamate which can then over stimulate and harm nearby cells. If the protein blocks glutamate, then those nearby cells can be saved where otherwise they would be destroyed. Our Illinois injury attorneys know that even though there remain work to be done on these issues, this latest research is a very positive development which may ultimately prevent harm and improve lives of area resident hurt by inadequate medical care.

In Other News: Two of our companion blogs--The Illinois Medical Malpractice Blog and Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog--were nominated for inclusion as one of the Top 25 Tort Blogs of 2011. The award is part of the LexisNexis project which seeks to feature blogs that set the standard in certain practice areas and industries. The voting to narrow down the field is currently underway, and we would love to have your vote. All you have to do is add a comment at the end of the post about the Top 25 bogs.

Please Follow This Link To Vote: Vote for Our Blog. Thanks for your support!

See Our Related Blog Posts:

Understanding Cerebral Palsy

Birth Injuries Often Have Lifelong Consequences

November 1, 2011

Families Work to Raise Awareness of Brachial Plexus and Erb’s Palsy

Expectant mothers often can ensure that they receive the best care possible when they educate themselves on the potential risks facing their unborn child and the ways that those risks can be minimized. Fortunately, most mothers will receive top-notch care from educated professionals who are a testament to the medical community. However, there will always be some cases where the conduct of the professionals involved in a delivery is not up to par. Both the mother and her child may suffer serious consequences as a result. Our Chicago birth injury lawyer works with families in those situations.

In most cases it is only after a child is born with some particular defect or injury that the family first investigates the cause of the injury. At times, it becomes clear that the injury could in fact have been prevented. At other times, the family never learns about the potential prevention at all, and those negligent professionals are never held accountable for their misconduct. Getting parents to think about these issues before they strike—or at least be aware of them—is an important goal of many birth injury advocacy groups.

For example, that is part of the reason why last month advocates celebrated Brachial Plexus Awareness Week. As we have explained, brachial plexus is an often debilitating injury that is usually caused by a traumatic birth. In rare cases the injury can also be caused by certain trauma during a car or sports accident. When it occurs during birth, it is usually when the child is large and gets stuck in the mother’s birth canal. In the Holland Sentinel, one mother explains how she endured a very painful and damaging birth when delivering her nine pound six ounce son. Late into the night, near the end of the birth, she notes that her son was roughly pushed by a nurse and pulled by a doctor before finally emerging. Unfortunately, the doctor later came to inform the woman that her son suffered what is often referred to as Erb’s Palsy—severe nerve damage in the arm. As a result the arm hung lifeless at his side. It even had to be pinned to his shirt the first few months of his life so that the infant did not unknowingly cause even more damage. The mother reports that her son has been in therapy since he was a week old.

The mother explains that she became angry once she learned that brachial plexus injuries are often preventable. Certain routine procedures can be performed which may ultimately avoid an injury from arising to begin with. For example, a cesarean section may prevent the potential risk of a rough birth causing permanent physical damage. The mother explained that she did not hear about brachial plexus even once before her son was born. She urges others not to make the same mistake. Learning about the injuries that could strike during birth and the simple ways that they could be prevented are important to helping parents make certain decisions which may spare a child the lifelong consequences of these injuries. The Chicago personal injury attorneys at our firm urge families who believe medical mistakes may have played a role in their child’s injury to visit with a legal professional to learn more.

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