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Articles Posted in Birth Injury Lawsuit

maternal health of black women

New Legislation Aimed to Save Lives and Reduce Disparities Impacting Mortality in Black Mothers and Black Babies

Women of color, more so non-Hispanic Black mothers, suffer adverse maternal health outcomes at disproportionately high rates, as much as 3 to 4 times those of their white counterparts. In response, the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 has been unveiled alongside 12 bills to address the significant health inequities Black mothers are at risk for. While the newly proposed legislation could impact the growing concern for Black women’s health across the U.S., the related challenges are especially problematic in Illinois, where an average of 19 Black women in Chicago dies within 12 months of giving birth, making their deaths nearly six times higher than whites.

According to the U.S. House of Representatives and members of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act is designed to:

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 weren’t 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:

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.

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.

identifying spinal cord injuries in infants

Spinal cord injuries in newborns are usually a result of excessive traction or rotation of the spinal cord and twisting of a baby’s trunk during delivery, and can be caused by vacuum extraction or the use of instruments such as forceps. A physician who is trying to deliver and manually manipulate positions quickly may further put a baby at risk, making a negligent doctor one of the most common reasons for a spinal cord injury to occur. The severity, mortality, and disability will depend on the type and location of the damage. Other related injuries may include pediatric skull fractures, Erb’s Palsy, and lifelong bladder and bowel dysfunction.

The best way to avoid these types of injuries is for a doctor to properly evaluate the baby’s position before labor and delivery begin. Just as important is the close observation of injury symptoms and an injury diagnosis by use of ultrasonography or MRI of the newborn’s spinal cord after delivery.

Signs of Infant Spinal Cord Injury

Brain Injuries to Children
A birth injury is defined as the structural destruction or functional deterioration of an infant’s body due to a traumatic event at birth. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Some of these injuries are avoidable when appropriate care is available, and others are part of the delivery process that can occur even when clinicians practice extreme caution.” And most of the time, birth injuries are typically indicative of a medical mistake that was likely the cause of a traumatic experience to the fetus or newborn. Here is a deeper look and explanation of the top ten most common birth injuries in the U.S.

  1. Cerebral Palsy: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows the average prevalence of cerebral palsy is 3.3 children per 1,000 live births. It is the most common motor and movement disability of childhood and could cause serious, long-term injuries.
  2. Facial Paralysis: Facial nerve palsy is the loss of voluntary muscle control of the face. While it can be serious, the condition often goes away over time. The injury is caused by the pressure put on the baby’s seventh cranial nerve during birth.

New Hope for Brain Damage Recovery After Oxygen Deprivation at Birth
Around 450,000 babies are born preterm in the U.S. every year, according to the Children’s National Research Institute. Premature babies are often deprived of oxygen caused by immature lungs or irreversible birth injuries. Inadequate oxygen levels can decrease a newborn’s blood pressure, heart rate, and limiting the blood flow to vital organs and tissue. When this happens, irreversible neurological or cellular damage can occur and lead to permanent deficits and disabilities such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and vision and hearing loss.

Premature babies and those with brain injuries caused by birth have typically been treated with minimal handling, avoidance from stressful stimuli, including receiving care and treatments in new, quiet private family rooms. A new study led by researchers at Children’s National Hospital, published online on February 19, 2020, in “Nature Communications,” could lead to new treatments for children affected by brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation at birth. The recent study suggests that when oxygen-deprived infants are faced with opportunities for optimal brain development through an “enriched” environment, it may result in a more positive growth and healing of the brain.

What Makes for an “Enriched” Environment?

mom's rights and birth injury prevention

New Illinois Law Says Every Woman Has Safe Pregnancy and Childbirth Rights

New data published on January 30, 2020, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Vital Statistics System, shows that the U.S. maternal mortality rate was 17.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 live birth in 2018. And an average of 19 women will die within 12 months of pregnancy in the Chicago-area, according to a 2019 report by the Chicago Department of Public Health.

On January 1, 2020, an Illinois law took effect which amends the Medical Patient Rights Act to delineate 21 rights of women during pregnancy and childbirth through Pregnancy and Childbirth Rights (HB 2).

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