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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:

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.

Fort Campbell Hospital Birth Injury Ends With $15.1M Settlement birth injury at military base

On January 10, 2005, Kelly D. Wilson gave birth to her son at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Fast forward to January 31, 2020, and the federal government agrees to award the Wilson and her family $15.1 million in damages to settle a lawsuit over the events that happened that day, fifteen years ago.

According to the lawsuit, when the Army veteran gave birth to her son in 2005, he “suffered a hypoxic-ischemic brain injury prior to delivery, resulting in cerebral palsy and lifelong neurological deficits.” And as a result of the brain injury, is now “wheelchair-bound, non-verbal and has involuntary movements and a seizure disorder.”

wrongful death c-section

Mom Dies After Routine Caesarean Section, and Dad Sues Cedars-Sinai

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles is facing national backlash after a woman internally bled to death after giving birth to her baby boy. The woman’s husband is now suing the hospital and pushing for policy changes and raising awareness of the U.S. maternal mortality crisis and birth-related injuries to mom and baby. The U.S. has remained the only developed country with a rising death rate for pregnant or new mothers for more than a decade.

The woman’s husband, Charles Johnson, says doctors told them the birth would be a routine Caesarean section, but soon after, he started noticing worrisome issues. According to a February 18, 2020 news interview between Johnson and CNN:

Birth Asphyxia

3 Types of Asphyxia Related Childbirth Injuries

Some of the most traumatic injuries that arise during childbirth are those that affect the baby’s brain. Asphyxia is an irreversible event that occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen for an extended time prenatally, intrapartum, or postnatally and results in abnormal neurologic function in a newborn. The harm can be incredibly debilitating and impact the child’s suffering for the remainder of their life.

When medical provider negligence is involved in a childbirth-related injury, it is likely due to a failure to monitor the fetus and respond to distress or diagnose a potential delivery issue. Many birth injury lawsuits have been filed because of these unfortunate labor and delivery events.

After a healthy pregnancy, the parents of baby Earl Reese-Thornton, Jr. expected to leave North Shore Medical Center in Miami, Florida after the delivery of a healthy baby boy in December 2013. Instead they are facing the heartbreaking reality that all of their lives have been forever changed by a doctor’s incompetence during delivery. During the 90 minutes before Earl was finally born, Dr. Ata Atogho forced a vaginal delivery by administering pitocin (a labor inducing drug), despite the fact that his mother’s stalled labor was causing the baby distress and called for an emergency C-Section. Instead, Dr. Atogho left Earl’s mother, Marla Dixon, laboring while he delivered another baby and carried on a phone call with his investment advisor. When Earl was finally born, it was clear he had suffered brain damage from lack of oxygen and required resuscitation.

Falsifying Documents and Government Responsibility

Dr. Atogho documented in Ms. Dixon’s chart that he offered her a C-Section and that she refused. Ms. Dixon stated that Dr. Atogho had never mentioned the possibility of a C-Section and that she had even asked for one and was denied, a story which the labor and delivery nurse at Ms. Dixon’s beside corroborated.

Did you know that roughly 7 out of every 1,000 babies born in the United States is born with a birth injury. Many of these birth injuries are unpredictable. What appears to be a happy and healthy fetus may result in pregnancy complications, negligence at the hands of others, or illness. However, one factor that is a recurring theme in birth injuries is weight.

The weight of the mother often serves as a good predictor of likelihood of a birth injury. Obesity and BMIs of greater than 40 are commonly connected with birth injuries. Often times, obese mothers do not get the right vitamins, nutrients, and exercise to remain healthy and develop strong, healthy babies. In addition, obese mothers experience higher frequencies of induction of labor. This results in higher rates of instrumental deliveries in obese women. Instrumental deliveries may include, for instance, the obstetrician using forceps or a vacuum to aid in delivery. By applying instruments and force, the risk of birth injury due to negligence increases tenfold.

C-Section Problems

A story last month from the Oregonian discusses a high-profile birth injury case filed by a hospital following a traumatic birth that left a child severely injured. The issues present in this case are similar to those faced by families in our areas.

The Situation

The story notes that the mother in the case knew early on that her son was in the “breech-birth” position. That is when the child is positioned in the womb to be delivered feet first, instead of head first. The feet first alignment is far more dangerous that the traditional head first delivery. As a result, mothers in that position most often deliver via Cesarean section. That is what was planned in this case as the mother already had a C-section scheduled.

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