COVID-19 in Nursing Homes - Learn More.

Articles Posted in Birth Injury Prevention

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.

injuries sustained in child labor

Injuries to Infant Can Occur During Labor Induction Mistakes

Many mothers are needlessly dying during labor or their babies sustaining life-altering injuries because of medical mistakes and a routine of poor care. And while most of the complications women and newborns are experiencing develop during pregnancy and are mostly treatable, tragic events continue to unfold during planned or induced labors. The medical induction of labor occurs when a care provider uses a drug and/or physical method to try to cause labor to begin before it starts on its own.

According to research provided through the National Partnership for Women & Families and the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, three situations occur at the end of pregnancy when women or newborns are likely to benefit from induction:

cerebral palsy symptoms

Cerebral Palsy is a Neurological Disorder Caused by Brain Damage

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the average prevalence of cerebral palsy is 3.3 children per 1,000 live births. Cerebral palsy is often a result of a birth injury or abnormal development during or after pregnancy. It can be 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. It is the most common motor and movement disability of childhood and could cause serious, long-term injuries related to other conditions like Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy.

There are four main types of cerebral palsy, the most commonly diagnosed as spastic cerebral palsy (70% – 80% of cases). Each type differs in movement patterns, location and severity of issues, and should be evaluated alongside individual symptoms. Athetoid, ataxic, and mixed cerebral palsy can be diagnosed alternatively. Most children with cerebral palsy will have symptoms identified after birth or are diagnosed by 18 months old. However, in some cases, symptoms may only become visible as the child becomes fully developed.

injuries sustained during cesarean section

Emergency C-Section Delays Can Create Lifelong Disability Outcomes

In 2018, 31.9% of all deliveries in the U.S. were by cesarean (c-section), according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This represents only a small decrease from 32% in 2017. That same year, the cesarean delivery rate had increased for the first time since 2009, when it peaked at 32.9% after increasing every year since 1996 (20.7%).

If there are complications with a pregnancy, or problems identified that might impact a baby or the labor process, a doctor may recommend cesarean. This is an invasive surgery in which the baby is born through a cut in a mother’s stomach and uterus. While some c-sections are planned, others are emergencies because the mother’s health or her baby’s health is in danger. When complications are detected during birth, medical practitioners must take quick action to perform c-sections in a timely manner. Failure to do so may result in serious birth injury to the child, including brain damage and lifelong disabilities due to oxygen deprivation.

using ultrasound to find birth defects

Mistakes in Fetal Ultrasound Readings Can Have Devastating Effects During Labor & Delivery

Most women will undergo several minimally invasive fetal ultrasounds during her pregnancy to produce images of the inside of her womb and her unborn child. The images, called sonograms, can provide a closer look at a baby’s internal organs, physical features, size, and allow for doctors to screen for maternal and fetal problems that could assist in a safer birth process.

Ultrasounds are routinely used to:

congenital syphilis and birth injuries

What is Congenital Syphilis?

Syphilis is a chronic bacterial infection spread through sexual contact and sexual intercourse, making it a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Congenital syphilis (CS) is a disease that occurs when a mother with syphilis passes the infection on to her baby during pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CS can affect a child’s health, depending on when a mother was adequately diagnosed and received treatment for the infection. Without a diagnosis or the proper treatment, a baby can be lost through miscarriage or stillbirth, but also be born premature, with a low birth rate and have a small chance for survival after birth due to infection.

The CDC says for babies born with CS, many will have health conditions and severe serious health problems such as:

lawsuits involving obstetricians

Obstetric violence has become yet another vexing problem added to the traumatic experiences that too many pregnant women in America face during both the prenatal and postnatal phases. Much of the maternal distress reported is centered on the prevention of delivery complications and disrespect for decisions through childbirth, but violence and harassment to pregnant moms can also occur.

Examples of obstetric violence can include:

  • the denial of treatment or continuum of care
Lawyer Monthly - Legal Awards Winner
The National Trial Lawyers
Elder Care Matters Alliance
American Association for Justice
Fellow Litigation Counsel of America
Super Lawyers
Contact Information