Articles Posted in Birth Injury Prevention

15 Things Parents May Not Know About Their Baby’s Birth Injury

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.”

This is a list of 15 things parents may not know about preventable birth injuries.

The routine induction of labor among women with preexisting type 1 and type 2 diabetes before pregnancy is a common practice and rightful under individual circumstances. But according to recent findings published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care, it is also associated with certain neonatal complications related to deliveries before 38 weeks.

“Based on this population-based, retrospective data, delivery of women with preexisting diabetes before 39 weeks’ gestation is associated with a higher rate of neonatal complications and does not reduce the cesarean section rate,” said lead researcher of the study, Howard Berger, MD, head of maternal fetal medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto. “Clinicians are often faced with the dilemma of when to deliver pregnant women with preexisting type 1 and type 2 diabetes. On one hand, it is known that pregnancies in women with preexisting diabetes are at increased risk for certain complications, including stillbirth and the development of preeclampsia. This has led to many clinicians electively choosing to deliver these women before 39 weeks’ gestation, but the price that is paid is an increase in early-term deliveries, which carry with them an increase in certain neonatal complications.”

According to Mayo Clinic, labor induction carries various risks, including:

Preventable Birth Injuries

How Long Do I Have to File a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Illinois?

Minor injuries to newborns may occur during the birthing process, which could be natural due to the force of labor. However, when nerves are damaged, bleeding occurs on the brain, bones are broken, or a baby’s oxygen is deprived causing irreversible injuries, further treatments and extended care will be required, leaving parents to reach a traumatic point of devastation and financial strain. Sadly, many times these injuries could have been prevented had the mother’s medical team including, doctors, nurses, and others, avoided negligent behaviors and faulted choices.

Examples of medical negligence during birth may include failure to:

Brain Injuries to Children

Record-Setting Verdict Against West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park for Failure to Order Emergency Cesarean

In November, an Illinois jury made up of six men and six women in Cook County decided that West Suburban was liable for medical malpractice. The award was a record-setting $100.6 million verdict for a lawsuit alleging a doctor and staff caused a newborn’s severe and permanent brain damage. The jury’s award is nearly double the previous Illinois record for an infant brain injury case.

Lawyers for the family and the boy, now a 5-year-old, alleged medical malpractice for West Suburban Medical Center and its health care providers due to their failure to recognize signs of fetal distress and order an emergency Cesarean section (C-section) in a timely manner.

Medical Negligence

As U.S. Maternal Mortality Rates Soar, Injuries to Baby May Follow

According to Harvard Medical School, expecting moms in the United States are now 50 percent more likely to die in childbirth than their mothers. The rate had alarmingly more than doubled from 10.3 per 100,000 live births in 1991 to 23.8 in 2014, and experts agree, the majority of these deaths could be avoided. These numbers rank the U.S. as the most dangerous place to give birth in the developed world, positioning health care providers to blame for their failures and carelessness in keeping mothers and babies safe during pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum stages.

Pregnancy-Related Deaths Are Mostly Preventable

The birth of a baby should be a happy time for families. Sometimes, unfortunately a birth injury may occur that causes serious harm to the baby during labor or delivery. Of the various types of injuries, brain trauma is one of the most severe, and can be disabling. Cerebral palsy may sometimes be the result of a mistake or problem that causes a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain. This lack of oxygen can cause cerebral palsy or other mental disabilities. Parents of infants who suffered a lack of oxygen are naturally concerned about the extent of the injuries sustained. There are some tests that should be done to determine cerebral palsy.

Observation of Behaviors

One of the first signs of possible problems can be detected by observing the behavior of the infant. A baby that suffers a seizure should certainly be examined and diagnosed for the possibility of cerebral palsy or another serious problem. However, there are often small behaviors that could indicate cerebral palsy. For example, parents should note the frequent occurrence of involuntary movements of the limbs. Drooping or limpness of a limb or part of the body could also be cause for concern.

The birth of a baby is one of the happiest events in the lives of parents. Yet for some, the emotions turn from joy to despair if a baby suffers an injury during birth. Birth injuries occur infrequently but they still happen from time to time. Those that are most at risk for injuries at birth are those where undiagnosed pregnancy complications exist. Complications include a variety of issues and any one of them may increase the chances that a baby will suffer an injury during labor or birth.

Serious Complications
Continue reading ›

Most babies are born without any complications, however, a small percentage of newborns have medical issues that may have been caused at birth. An injury to the brachial plexus can cause a condition called Erb’s palsy. Babies who suffer from this injury could have lifelong disabilities.

Brachial Plexus

The brachial plexus is a group of nerves located near the shoulder. It basically ties the physical function of the body to the spinal cord and brain and is located on both sides of the body. It can be injured when force is used to assist in the birth of the baby. The doctor may use forceps, a vacuum, or his hands to pull a baby who is stuck. When the neck and shoulders are stretched, damage to the brachial plexus may occur.

Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s palsy is also known by other names such as Erb-duchenne palsy, shoulder dystocia or radial nerve palsy. These are all forms of damage to the brachial plexus nerves. The muscles of the arm on one side of the body are not able to move properly, causing the arm to droop. Some people may have tingling in the hand or arm. In some cases, the entire arm, including the hand and fingers, are affected, while sometimes only a slight reduction in movement is noted.
Continue reading ›

Birth injuries occur to approximately 3 to 6 out of every 1,000 births in the United States. A birth injury is harm that happens to a child during the labor or delivery process. Birth injuries can range from mild to severe. Mild birth injuries are often treated and the infant makes a full recovery. More severe injuries may require ongoing treatment or surgery. Permanent or disabling injuries are the most severe types of birth injuries that usually occur due to lack of oxygen during birth. There are some important risk factors that make birth injuries more likely.

Premature Babies

Babies who are born prematurely are at a higher risk for birth injuries than full-term babies. Premature babies are those born at less than 37 weeks gestational age. These infants are at a higher risk because their organs may not be fully formed or functional. Jaundice is one of the main concerns for premature infant injuries. When treated promptly, jaundice typically poses no long-term medical harm and infants recover fully. However, if jaundice goes undiagnosed or treated it can lead to serious medical problems or even death.

Large Babies

Large babies or those who weigh more than 9 pounds may be at a higher risk for possible birth injuries. Large babies can more easily become stuck during delivery. When this occurs, the doctor may need to assist in the delivery by pulling the baby or through the use of instruments. Large babies are often born to mothers with diabetes or hypertension. Prenatal care should be done to confirm the size of the infant prior to delivery. If the baby is large, a cesarean section may be required to avoid the potential for injury during birth.
Continue reading ›

The birth of a child is one of the happiest days in a parent’s life. Sometimes, however, complications at birth can cause injuries to the baby. Sometimes these injuries are minor, while other times they could be quite serious. Jaundice is a common problem with newborns at birth. Jaundice is a condition that is characterized by yellow skin color. It can also affect the whites of the baby’s eyes. Jaundice is often easily treated with no further problems. However, sometimes jaundice may not be properly diagnosed or treated, leading to medical complications.

Diagnosis of Jaundice

Jaundice
in newborns can range in severity. Mild cases of jaundice may not require any type of treatment. More severe cases require immediate treatment. Doctors and other medical professionals should diagnose and treat jaundice as quickly as possible. Blood tests should be done to determine whether a child has elevated levels of bilirubin. Bilirubin is a substance that the body creates to remove dead blood cells. The substance is then broken down in the liver so it can be removed through waste.
Continue reading ›

Lawyer Monthly - Legal Awards Winner
The National Trial Lawyers
Elder Care Matters Alliance
American Association for Justice
Fellow Litigation Counsel of America
Super Lawyers