Articles Posted in Fetal Distress

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My Fox published a story earlier this month on a sad case of a young child who suffered a serious injury as a result of a traumatic birth. Many called it a miracle that the baby survived his first night out of the womb. However, he was plagued by the consequences of the injury throughout his short life, and he recently passed away at the age of three. It is an incredibly sad story that some are using to raise concerns about the safety of certain birthing methods and the potential need for clearer regulations for midwives.

Failure to Act Quickly

According to the report, the family involved made the decision to hire a midwife to help with a home birth. This is a decision that many families make, and successful home births with midwife aid is common throughout Illinois. But there was little successful about this particular birth. The mother began labor in mid-may of 2010. Eventually there were clear signs that something was amiss. Most notably, the mother began bleeding “profusely” — an obvious indicator of serious problems.

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Lawyers, patient right advocates, and others often mention that mistreatment in hospitals commonly occurs in bunches. In other words, the same individual practitioners and institutions often make errors time and again which cause harm to patients which should have been prevented.

This is the key reason why calls for more transparency in the medical industry are rising. It seems natural for patients to be able to learn about the quality of care provided by those who they are relying on. If a specific institution or practitioners have problem after problem in excess of others in the field, than red flags might be raised. Patients might chose to seek other options. The individual might then work to improve care. This is the basic quality premise behind the free-market system.

However, as we have often discussed, there is still a long way to go before we reach that ideal. That is because open, honest, and complete information about quality of care is still woefully lacking. Information is limited and much of it is created only using self-assessments. It does not take much imagination to understand how doctors, nurses, and medical institutions might be reluctant to be completely honest about the lapses of care. The foundation in self-reporting, means that the accountability system is lacking. Many patients, including expectant mothers, continue to visit medical professional with a track record of problems. Unfortunately, on some occasions, those mothers will not receive the care to which they are entitled and they themselves or their children might be harmed.

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Our Chicago birth injury attorneys were happy to hear that the family of a baby who suffered a birth injury has been awarded $58 million dollars in a birth injury lawsuit. The lawsuit was initially filed following the birth of the family’s only child, who was born back in early 2003 and suffered from cerebral palsy from what they allege to have been the doctor’s negligent choices in handling the pregnancy and the baby’s delivery.

The negligence initially occurred when the baby’s mother went in for her routine check up during her 39th week of pregnancy and the doctor realized that her amniotic fluid was half of what it should have been in a healthy pregnancy. The doctor did not induce labor and instead the mother went into labor on her own a couple days later and the baby was stuck in the breech position and had barely any signs of life once the doctor was finally able to deliver the baby. According to the Connecticut Law Tribune, the family’s birth injury attorneys argued to the jury that the doctor realizing the amniotic fluid levels were low and not choosing to induce labor immediately was his main error, and that in choosing not to do anything he acted extremely negligently. An expert at trial stated that the very low levels of amniotic fluid clearly indicated that the baby was in trouble and that the doctor should have acted immediately and not let the mother go into labor on her own.

Because the baby was not delivered when the problem was discovered and because the baby was breech and took several minutes to be delivered, the baby was barely breathing and developed cerebral palsy. Luckily the baby survived this ordeal but requires a lot of medical attention and treatment and will continue to require this level of care throughout his life. In terms of a diagnosis, cerebral palsy can cover many different types of brain injuries which may be caused by something going wrong during birth, and in this case likely happened because the baby was without oxygen for several minutes during the delivery. Since it is likely that the doctor not acting when he first realized that there was a problem with the baby caused the injury to be so severe and a permanent, the family filed the lawsuit against him. The case first went to trial three years ago and the jury could not agree on what the verdict should be, but after the retrial the jury decided to award the family $58 million dollars for all they have suffered through as a result of the doctor’s negligence. The amount of the verdict was intended to try to compensate the family not only for the medical costs associated with the birth injury, but also for all the emotional damage they have suffered.

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Our Chicago birth injury attorneys recently reard about a case in which a baby was still born and the mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the hospital, alleging that the hospital staff’s negligence contributed to the baby’s death. According to Mercury News, an autopsy was done shortly after the baby passed away and the autopsy found that the baby died of an amniotic fluid infection, which alone does not automatically point to hospital staff negligence. However, shortly after the still birth the hospital fired multiple nurses and required several other nurses to undergo additional training suggesting that the hospital new that there had been at least some negligence on their part. Additionally, following the stillbirth the California Department of Health cited the hospital for failure to follow necessary procedures and stated in their report that the hospital staff’s actions did contribute to the baby dying.

Some of the findings of the Department of Health were that the only nurse present during the epidural was not trained to read the fetal heart monitor, that when the heart monitor was not detecting a heart rate the doctor was not notified immediately, and that no other measures were taken to detect a heart rate when the monitor was not finding one. This evidence suggests that had the hospital properly monitored the mother and baby that they would have seen that the baby was in distress because of the infection and hopefully been able to save the baby.

The hospital responded to these findings by the Department of Health by claiming that they would implement measures to make sure that this type of terrible incident does not happen again, but also blamed the nurses for failing to follow the rules the hospital already had in place. Many of the nurses involved in the firings claim that the hospital fired people that were not even involved in order to show the state that they were reacting to what had happened. While it is important that any hospital where something like this happens to make changes, it is crucial that the changes are ones that will actually make sure that this will never happen again and not just fire people to make it look like they are taking action.

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Our Chicago birth injury attorneys often receive troubling calls from heartbroken parents describing incidents of shoulder dystocia. According to a recent article from MissionLocal.org, shoulder dystocia is a birth complication often associated with, but not limited to pregnant women with diabetes. Shoulder dystocia occurs when a child’s head is delivered, but the shoulders of the child are unable to pass through the birth canal. When this occurs, the child is immediately in jeopardy of suffering serious birth injuries or even death. According to the report, sometimes doctors are able to avoid injury by quickly repositioning the child, but others aren’t so lucky.

Shoulder dystocia is one of the most dangerous birth complications. Once the head of a baby is delivered, significant strain is placed on the umbilical cord. In a typical childbirth setting this is not a problem because of the relatively short period of time between delivery of a baby’s head and shoulders. In shoulder dystocia cases, however, the prolonged stress often leads to permanent injuries.

John Perconti filed a lawsuit against Evanston Hospital in 2005 for complications suffered by Denise Juarez when the birth complication of shoulder dystocia caused her to ultimately suffer from Erb’s palsy, which is the weakness or loss of movement caused by damage to the nerve bundles at one’s shoulders.

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It is every parent’s worst fear for their child to suffer from a traumatic experience during the course of their life. Still, due to high levels of medical negligence during birth, some parent’s fears come to fruition all too soon. That was the case of one mother who gave birth at Norwich Obstetrics and Gynecological Group Inc. under the care of Dr. John Bodin. According to the Norwich Bulletin, Dr. Bodin was sanctioned by the Connecticut Department of Public Health after an investigation found he failed to monitor a woman in labor or intervene when nurses reported the unborn child was in distress. This failure led to the child suffering brain injury and a brain hemorrhage which subsequently led to the newborns untimely death only five weeks after his birth.

The mother, who has chosen to remain anonymous, claimed in a lawsuit against Dr. Bodin and the facility, that Dr. Bodin used an excessive amount of Pitocin, a drug used to stimulate contractions, and subsequently failed to recognize signs of fetal distress or to intervene by performing a timely Cesarean Section.

Medical malpractice lawsuits are unfortunately not uncommon. According to the Connecticut Department of Public Health an OB-GYN is sued an average of 2.7 times during his career. Lawsuits can be expensive to defend, costing as much as $200,000-$300,000 per lawsuit. These high costs, and the increasing costs in medical malpractice insurance are why Dr. Bodi claims to have closed his practice.

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As cerebralpalsy.org reports, Cerebral Palsy is a group of disorders that can be caused by a birth injury or brain damage later in life, and it results from the brain’s inability to control the body adequately. Cerebral Palsy affects chronic movement and posture, causing stiff or difficult movement, loss of depth perception and balance, and/or involuntary or uncontrolled movements. Approximately 10,000 babies each year in the United States will develop Cerebral Palsy, and it is estimated that 800,000 people in the United States live with the disorder. Of that number, about 2-3 children out of every 1,000 children have Cerebral Palsy.

A York Daily Record interview with Kyle Barnhart, a 19 year old college student, shows that people affected by a Cerebral Palsy birth disorder can overcome their disability and become very successful. Barnhart lives with Cerebral Palsy, and while he travels across campus in a motorized wheelchair, uses an electronic communication device to help him speak, and is assisted by aides, his life reflects that of a typical college student. Barnhart throws around a football with his friends, participates in dorm pranks and antics and regularly speaks in class. Cerebral Palsy is thought to be caused by a prenatal brain injury, but Barnhart does not have mental disabilities; in fact, he made the Dean’s List during his first semester of college.

Our Chicago birth injury attorneys represent clients who have developed Cerebral Palsy as a result of medical malpractice and doctor error. For example, we reached a $4.5 million settlement on behalf of a child who suffered brain injury leading to Cerebral Palsy because a doctor failed to perform a timely Caesarean section despite fetal distress. The Illinois birth injury lawyers at our firm also reached a $2.3 million settlement for another child who suffered a severe brain injury and Cerebral Palsy when a physician failed to perform a Caesarean section in a timely manner after the child’s mother complained of a ripping and tearing feeling in her uterus. Birth injuries, such as Cerebral Palsy, often require lifelong medical care. Verdicts and settlements reached on behalf of victims can help to compensate for lifetime medical expenses, potential loss of income and pain and suffering from these injuries. If you believe that your child suffered a birth injury as a result of a healthcare provider’s negligence, please contact us to discuss your case.

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According to a press release on Emailwire.com, a family was awarded over $38 million by a jury in a birth injury lawsuit. The press release states that a newborn suffered severe birth injuries after medical practitioners failed to execute a cesarean in a timely manner. As a result of this medical negligence, the newborn sustained an irreversible brain injury. Follow the link to read more about this birth injury verdict.

When medical providers fail to perform c-sections and other interventions during childbirth, in a timely manner, they risk causing serious birth injuries such as birth hypoxia and cerebral palsy. Fetal distress is detectable when an infant’s heart rate is abnormal. If a labor and delivery team suspects fetal distress, they should immediately perform interventions to prevent serious injury. When providers fail to do so, a baby can suffer lifelong injuries or death.

Awards for birth injury cases are often high because they take into consideration both economic and non-economic damages. In most instances, the verdict or settlement will be determined by calculating proven damages, such as past and future medical expenses and loss of potential earnings. They also take into account pain and suffering and loss of normal life, or disability and disfigurement damages. The Chicago birth injury attorneys at Levin & Perconti have received compensation for families in a number of birth injury cases, including a $6.71 million Cook County birth injury verdict for a child who suffered a serious brachial plexus injury. If you believe that your child has suffered a birth injury as a result of a medical provider’s negligence, please contact us to discuss your potential claim.

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The Record reports that a woman in Madison County, IL is suing Anderson Hospital and her physician, claiming they failed to provide appropriate prenatal care during her pregnancy. According to the suit, filed by an Illinois medical malpractice lawyer, the doctor failed in her duty to properly monitor the fetus, failed to ensure that the fetus developed properly in spite of the plaintiff’s diabetes and failed to intervene in a timely manner when fetal distress was detected. As a result of the doctor’s failures, the plaintiff’s unborn daughter died in December 2007. To read the full account of this Illinois malpractice lawsuit, click the link.