Articles Posted in Illinois Birth Injury

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.

Levin Perconti - Baby's Shoulder

4 Newborn Injury Complications Caused by Shoulder Dystocia

One of the most feared complications of a normal vaginal delivery, shoulder dystocia is a frightening reality that most U.S. labor and delivery teams are not nearly as prepared for as they should be. The American Family Physician defines shoulder dystocia as a difficulty during labor that occurs when the anterior shoulder of the baby gets stuck behind one of the mother’s pelvic bones during a vaginal delivery and ultimately delays birth.

Today, clinicians have many tools available to recognize the knowns risks of shoulder dystocia and should be trained to adhere to more conservative approaches and tactics to ensure a safe delivery with minimal harm of pressure put onto the baby or the umbilical cord. Although risk factors are identifiable during the course of prenatal care, doctors do continue to make delivery mistakes such as having a mom continue to push or fail to intervene soon enough. These medical errors can result in several significant birth injuries to the infant’s nerves and oxygen flow, and the mother.

The birth of your child should be one of the best days of your life. However, what was supposed to be a joyful day turned tragic for one mother after her daughter died during childbirth. The mother has filed a lawsuit against the hospital and doctor stating that they were negligent and failed to provide proper care in order to prevent injuries. The lawsuit was filed in Cook County and is requesting a jury trial and a judgment of more than $50,000.

Mistakes during Delivery

For most women, the labor and delivery process progresses without any serious problems. Unfortunately, sometimes there are complications which can cause severe injuries or, in rare circumstances, death. When complications present themselves, the doctors and other members of the medical team need to make decisions and take quick action. If medical assistance is not immediately rendered, complications can take a serious and deadly turn for the worse.

Monitoring Is Important

During labor and delivery both the fetus and the mother are monitored. It is very important to ensure that the baby is never in distress. If any distress is noticed both baby and mother must be immediately assessed. If the baby is experiencing deprivation of oxygen it is considered a medical emergency. The baby needs to be delivered immediately, possibly by c-section. The point of using a monitoring device is to be able to quickly be made aware of a problem. In this case, it seems that there was either no monitoring or there was no medical personnel paying attention to it.
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A new trend within the OBGYN community is catching on and quickly growing in popularity nationwide. An article in USA Today discusses how an increasing number of hospitals are hiring OB hospitalists, also commonly referred to as laborists, to ensure that they are always ready when obstetric or gynecological emergencies occur.

The Society of OBGYN Hospitalists (SOGH) defines a laborist as “an experienced OBGYN physician with a practice focused on managing the OBGYN care of the hospitalized patient.” These doctors are paid by the hospital to be readily available inside of the facility for a specified shift.

According to reports, there are several causes for this rising trend:

*Hospitals are looking for ways to decrease their risk of malpractice lawsuits
*Low patient satisfaction rates
*Doctors not wanting to remain on call for long periods of time
*OBGYNS who prefer to work for a steady salary, instead of managing an independent medical practice
*Increased reliance on nurses who must often perform deliveries when the on-call physician does not arrive in time Continue reading ›

There is arguably no more natural process than pregnancy and delivery of a baby. The female body is wired for this process and most experts agree that the healthiest option for all concerned is to let nature take its course. But a growing trend is taking the delivery date out of Mother Nature’s hands and putting it into the hands of the expectant mother and her physician. Women are choosing to schedule their deliveries prior to their actual due dates. Termed elective induction, many health care professionals advise against this decision, citing increased risk of injury to the mother and the baby. But a recent study suggests that an elective induction may prove the best choice when an infant is considerably larger than average.

There are a variety of reasons why women choose elective inductions:
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Birthing injuries are extremely challenging for families. They are particularly difficult when caused by a physician or member of the treating hospital staff. Under these circumstances, a court of law may order the payment of damages as compensation for the injury. But a malpractice claim requires more than the simple filing of a document. When instituting a malpractice lawsuit, its important to abide by the relevant laws within Illinois.

Statute of Limitations

The state places limits on the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit in Illinois courts. Under Illinois law, an injured party has two years to file a lawsuit, but there are variations on when the time begins to run. Though it typically starts on the date that the injury occurred, this isn’t always practical because the victim may not be aware that the injury occurred. In this situation, the discovery rule may apply, where the statute of limitations does not start until the date that the injury is discovered. In some situations, the statute of limitations time may be interrupted, like in cases where the victim is a minor or temporarily disabled. The statute of limitations will begin running again when the child becomes an adult or the disability is cured.
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The actions of a hospital staff during the labor and delivery of a baby can result in lasting medical consequences for the child, as well as the mother and family. A moment of hesitation or inaction may lead to serious injuries that will forever effect the newborn’s quality of life. When these incidents occur, physicians and the medical center should take responsibility for their role in the injury. However, if they don’t, an experienced attorney can assist victims in securing the financial compensation to which they are entitled.

Northwest Georgia News is reporting about a five-year-old boy who was recently awarded an $8.4 million settlement from a Georgia jury. He lives with cerebral palsy and, according to the court documents, the medical staff that handled his birth is responsible for his condition. As stated in reports, the young boy’s mother trusted the medical staff of a Georgia medical center with the delivery of her child. The fetal monitor reportedly showed that the baby was in distress from a lack of oxygen. This information should have prompted a cesarean section, according to court documents, but medical staff never notified a physician about the risky situation.
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The state of Kansas may soon see medical malpractice award caps increased from $250,000 to $350,000, according to an article by Medscape Business of Medicine. In April, the Kansas legislature voted in favor of a bill to raise the 25-year-old limits on pain and suffering malpractice awards. This move reportedly came as a surprise to many interested parties and legislative observers.

Moves by the legislature to increase award caps are commonly done in response to court determinations that the caps are unconstitutional, but Kansas lawmakers are not facing this problem. In Kansas, the court ruled in the exact opposite direction. The State Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that the current $250,000 limits are constitutional, giving legislatures a strong footing to maintain the caps. In the neighboring state of Missouri, the court overturned medical malpractice caps all together, ruling they were unconstitutional.

The other strange twist to this proposed legislation is the overwhelming support it reportedly received from medical doctors. According to Medscape, the Medical Society of Sedgwick County “identified passing legislation to increase the cap as one of its four most pressing issues of 2014.” Doctors from Wichita, the largest city in Kansas, are included in that organization.

Birth defects of the brain or spine are called neural tube defects. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), neural tube defects often occur as a result of insufficient folic acid intake by the mother. Folic acid is is a form of the Vitamin B and it is found in foods like spinach, broccoli and various types of beans. Women who do not eat these types of food are often deficient in Vitamin B, even before becoming pregnant. Neural tube defects develop within the first month of gestation. Women often don’t know that they are pregnant yet, so they are not taking prenatal vitamins, which are good supplements for folic acid. To combat this potential problem, physicians sometimes prescribe prenatal vitamins to patients who are trying to become pregnant. According to the NIH, there is a higher risk of neural tube defects when:

–the mother is obese

–the mother has diabetes that are not adequately controlled

While the majority of incidents involving medical malpractice and birth injuries occur at hospitals during labor, a new alarming trend is the frequency of stillborns and birth injuries that occur during home births.

Home births are on the rise as mothers hope to return to the past and have a more relaxed and stress-free birth in their own home. There are many forms of home births, such as water births, but most forms include the use of a midwife. Many have doctors either present or on call. However, Dr. Lachlan de Crespigny and Professor Julian Savulescu warn mothers about home births in a research article published in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

In fact, “having a home birth may be like not putting your child’s car seat belt on,” the researchers caution in their article.

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