Frequent readers of this blog (or those familiar with birth injuries) have likely noticed that there are common trends when it comes to the types of injuries at the root of Illinois birth injury lawsuits. While new children can suffer an enormous range of problem at birth, lawsuits connected to those problems are usually rooted in a few injuries time and again. This is because birth injury lawsuits are filed based on the conduct involved, not the injury caused. There are acts of negligence that cause the same types of harm again and again-pulling too hard on a child in the birth canal or failing to order an emergency C-section when fetal distress is uncovered.
Our Chicago birth injury lawyers know that those particular acts of negligence are likely to result in a select few types of injuries. Those include shoulder dystocia, a brachial plexus injury, cerebral palsy, and a few other hams. While not all preventable injuries fall into those categories and not all incidents of these problems were necessarily caused by negligent care, the development of one of those select few injuries is often a red flag necessitating more inquiry. Unfortunately, much work still needs to be done to ensure that all possible steps are taken by medical professionals to ensure proper care is provided 100% of the time and that all injuries which can be prevented are prevented.
When mistakes are made, birth injury lawsuits fill in the gaps. They provide added incentive for involved medical facilities to enact changes to improve care in the future, and they provide the resources that the victim will need to deal with the consequences of the harm throughout their lives. For example, US Politics Today published a story this weekend about the end of a jury trial following a birth injury. In that case, the victim was a girl whose doctors pulled too hard during her delivery. Even though the child was in relatively good health during the delivery, the doctor chose to utilize a vacuum delivery. Then, when the girl’s arm became caught behind her mother’s pelvic bone, the doctor pulled down on the girl’s head. This resulted in ripping and rupturing in the nerves of the girl’s left shoulder. This injury is known as shoulder dystocia.
If common practices were followed the doctor would have manipulated the mother’s legs or applied pressure to the pelvic area. It is well-known that applying pressure to the infant’s head is unnecessary and risks injuries just like the one that resulted. As a result of the error the girl has severe and likely permanent arm damage. It is unclear if therapy will be able to provide any functional use of the arm. Problems such as this usually delay the advancement of fine motor skills in developing children. This is, of course, on top of the social stigma that always faces children who are different.
In this case, the jury at the birth injury trial found that the medical professional was negligent. They awarded the family $1.8 million for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. A large part of the money will be used for extensive surgeries that the girl is expected to need to try to help restore some of the lost movement in her arm.
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