Recently, our Chicago birth injury attorneys read about a 16-pound baby born to a woman in Texas. While the majority of onlookers reveled in the newborn’s cute and happy photos, it is important to note that there are a number of dangers to both mother and child surrounding an infant with macrosomia (a newborn with an excessive birth weight). Macrosomia is a serious condition often linked with birth injuries such as shoulder dystocia. In addition, babies who are born with Macrosomia are subject to increased risks in the development of asthma, cancer, diabetes, allergies and life-long struggles with obesity.
There are a number of reasons as to why some babies are born with a high birth weight. Some babies are born large because their parents are large people. Some babies are large because they are born after their due date. Hispanic women have an increased chance of delivering overweight children when compared with other races. While these risk factors cannot be prevented, there are a number of others that can be. According to a board-certified OB/GYN on the Daily Beast Health Blog, the “three most significant risks for having an overweight baby are… obesity prior to getting pregnant, excessive weight gain during pregnancy, and uncontrolled diabetes.”
Because of the increased risks in child birth that overweight babies present, it is important that physicians identify the size of a child before his or her birth and to take the necessary precautions in preventing birth injuries when it is known that a baby will be born with macrosomia. If physicians do not follow proper practice in these instances they may be subject to medical malpractice liability.
One of the many concerns that need to be dealt with in the delivery of an overweight child is the possibility of shoulder dystocia. Shoulder dystocia occurs when a mother is able to deliver the head of her child, but the body gets stuck in the mother’s birth canal. When this happens a baby has a high chance of developing nerve damages or other serious injuries including the possibility of death. The chances of delivering a baby with shoulder dystocia are greatly increased for babies that are delivered with macrosomia.
Our Chicago birth-Injury lawyers recognize the difficulty that delivering overweight babies presents. Since our practice was founded, we have represented a number of families in cases involving birth injuries like shoulder dystocia during a macrosomic birth. In one of these cases, our client’s physicians failed to perform an ultrasound to determine the size of the baby even though the mother’s first child was macrosomic. They also failed to inform the child’s mother of the risks associated with delivering a baby of this size or inform her that a c-section was an option to reduce these risks. As a result, our client’s daughter suffered a shoulder dystocia and the family pursued a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for her injuries and to pay the child’s past and future medical care and treatments. We settled the family’s shoulder dystocia lawsuit in 2009 for $1.35 million against the negligent physicians and hospital staff that caused her injuries.