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black babies and mortality rates

New Research May Provide Answers to Lessening Mortality Rate in Black Babies

An associate professor and reproductive health equity researcher from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health has released her medical research that examined decades of hospital birth records between 1992 and 2015, looking for clues as to why Black babies have such high mortality rates.

Rachel Hardeman discovered that Black newborns are three times as likely to die as White newborns when Black babies were cared for by Black doctors after birth. The doctors were primarily pediatricians, neonatologists, and family practitioners. When cared for by Black doctors, a Black baby’s mortality rate was cut in half. According to the research article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States (PNAS) on September 1, 2020:

birth injuries by episiotomy

Childbirth Injuries Related to Unnecessary Episiotomy

Episiotomies can create lasting injuries and make sexual intercourse painful, if not impossible, and prevent women from wanting to have more children with worries about another childbirth. And while episiotomy rates are dropping in the U.S. due to these known risks, some doctors are still routinely performing them.

The American Pregnancy Association identifies these situations in which an episiotomy may be needed but not always necessary:

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8 Birth Injury Facts Parents Must Know

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most birth injuries are avoidable when appropriate care is available. And while some minor injuries to newborns may occur and can resolve without treatment, a birth injury is better defined as the structural destruction or functional deterioration of an infant’s body due to a traumatic event at birth. Here are eight additional facts you may not know about preventable birth injuries that could impact both mom and baby.

  1. Failure to perform an emergency cesarean section (c-section) can result in a severe birth injury to a newborn, including brain damage and cerebral palsy due to oxygen deprivation and lifelong injuries to the mother.

usa has highest maternal death rate

Latest CDC Data Shows U.S. Maternal Mortality Rate Highest Among Comparable Countries

A recent analysis of the latest issue brief from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that most maternal deaths are preventable but continue to be increasing in the United States compared to 10 high-income countries. The data is being used to identify differences in maternal care workforces, access to postpartum care and midwife services, and paid maternity leave policies among the countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Other key findings alarming to U.S. women included:

steps taken in birth injury cases

Do These 3 Things If You or Your Child Were Injured During Pregnancy or the Labor and Delivery Process

Nearly 28,000 babies are born with a birth injury each year across the U.S. That equates to 2,333 per month, 538 per week, 76 per day, and 3 per hour, according to the National Healthcare Quality Report (AHRQ). AHRQ researchers say about half of those could have been avoided. Medical staff, including obstetric physicians, pediatricians, nurses, technicians and medical assistants, can be responsible for these tragic labor and delivery mistakes that cause life-long injuries and circumstances so dire that a tragic death occurs to a mother or her child.

If you can relate to this situation, you may be wondering who to turn to for help, and if you have the right to make a claim. It is natural for parents of a child who suffered a birth injury also to have many questions. We suggest you start with these three steps.

delayed c section injuries

6 Birth Injuries to Baby That Can Happen Due to Delayed C-Section

Healthcare professionals are trained to detect when an emergency C-section is needed. Still, if a doctor delays action to deliver a baby or the health system is not prepared to act quickly, severe consequences to both baby and mom can lead to a myriad of injuries related to lack of oxygen and organ failure, infant brain damage, and developmental disabilities. In the most severe cases, infant or maternal death may occur due to medical errors and negligence. Unfortunately, physicians can fail to schedule a C-section or delay intervening even though the warning signs related to fetal or maternal distress were present.

  1. Fetal Lacerations

preventable birth injuries related to premature labor

Premature Babies Have Significant Birth Injury Risk of the Brain

Premature babies, especially those born very early, often have complicated medical problems and face many challenges, including a high risk of birth injuries, such as brain damage. These injuries can be the source of great emotional distress as well as extreme financial hardship, especially when preventable and caused by the negligence of a trusted doctor.

A baby is premature when born too early, before 37 weeks of pregnancy and the normal pregnancy should last approximately 40 weeks. Each year, about 1 in 10, or 450,000 babies in the United States is born prematurely, according to the March of Dimes. Depending on how early a baby is born, Mayo Clinic identifies these preterm timelines:

cerebral palsy diagnosis

Cerebral palsy can be the result of a birth injury or abnormal development during or after pregnancy, caused by infection, fetal or pediatric stroke, undiagnosed maternal health problems, premature birth, and asphyxia, allowing brain damage to occur before, during, or after childbirth. Health care providers may be responsible for a cerebral palsy injury or found negligent for a delay in providing the proper diagnosis, therapy, or treatment. The earlier children are diagnosed, the better their chances of access to treatments and evidence-based interventions. If not, cerebral palsy can cause a range of disabilities, from mild to severe.

A study led by the Cerebral Palsy Foundation and Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that U.S. hospitals average an age of about 2 years at diagnosis, compared to the target of 12 months of age or younger. Along with four other institutions (UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles; the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston; University of Utah Health, Salt Lake City; and Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore), Nationwide Children’s Hospital developed international guidelines to implement a clinical time-to-diagnosis to reduce the age of a cerebral palsy diagnosis. The 2017 guidelines involve the support of neonatologists, developmental pediatricians, therapists, and other developmental specialists, but they also rely heavily on neurologists.

Nearly three years later, the groups say their efforts have “resulted in an average decrease of 10 months in time-to-diagnosis and have demonstrated the practicality and effectiveness of the guidelines for improving age at diagnosis—a key requirement for early interventions, which can improve CP-related developmental outcomes substantially.”

wrongful death of newly born infant

Understanding Infant Wrongful Death

Even medical professionals can cause tragic labor and delivery mistakes that result in life-long injuries, stillborn, or a circumstance so dire that a newborn death is a result. It is possible that medical staff, including obstetric physicians, pediatricians, nurses, medical assistants, did not do all they could to keep the fetus or newborn safe. It’s likely injuries or infant death could have been prevented with diligent medical care.

For example:

shoulder injuries to infants

Illinois Boy Recovers $8 Million in Damages for Birth Injury

When a baby’s delivery is delayed or the infant becomes lodged at birth, serious complications and injuries can arise. A more common injury in this situation is to the nerve bundles in the infant’s shoulder, which can become pinched, stretched, or pulled. As a result, movement problems arise in the shoulder, arm, and hand. At other times a collar bone or arm bone can break. And in certain situations, the child can be deprived of oxygen, leading to brain injury or death by asphyxia.

On June 29, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit announced a multimillion-dollar reward to an Illinois boy who suffered a shoulder injury at birth after his mother pleaded with the obstetrician of her fear in delivering a large baby. The delivery method the doctor chose ultimately left the boy with a shoulder injury and permanently disabled. Medical experts agreed he would be unable to do certain types of work in the future, resulting in the recovery of over $8 million in damages for noneconomic injuries and lost earnings. The lower court carefully considered the evidence and comparable cases and reached reasonable figures, given the child’s injuries, the Seventh Circuit said.

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