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The birth of a child should be a joyful time for families. While most babies are born without complication, sometimes medical negligence causes injuries or even the death of a newborn. Lawyers at Levin & Perconti are representing the family of a baby that was stillborn. The family claims that the doctors were negligent by failing to diagnose a serious medical emergency in a timely manner. This resulted in the baby being stillborn. A lawsuit was filed in Cook County against several doctors and medical facilities.

Understanding Stillbirth

Stillbirth is the death and delivery of a baby who has died. A stillbirth differs from a miscarriage in that a miscarriage is the loss of a fetus which is less than 20 weeks into the pregnancy while a stillbirth is the death of an unborn baby who is beyond the 20th week of pregnancy.  About 1 of every 200 pregnancies results in a stillbirth. A stillbirth is usually caused by a problem or a trauma. Most couples can go on to have a healthy child in the future.

Medical mistakes are never easy to deal with, but when they involve a newborn baby the situation is devastating. Parents are full of joy, expecting to bring home a beautiful new perfect infant. When a mistake at birth causes an injury, the parent’s joy quickly turns to misery. In one recent case, a baby and mother both suffered injuries due to alleged negligent care during labor and delivery. The mother filed a lawsuit in Cook County seeking damages against the doctors, hospital, and healthcare association involved in the error.

Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

The mother states in the lawsuit that both she and her newborn daughter sustained injuries during childbirth. The baby suffered from hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, HIE, a serious and potentially long-term injury. HIE is a brain injury that occurs when there is reduced blood flow to the baby’s brain. It is estimated that approximately 40 – 60% of infants born with HIE will die before the age of 2. Others may be left with severe disabilities. HIE happens to about 1 to 2 infants out of every 1,000 live births, not including underdeveloped countries.

One of the most devastating things that can happen to a parent is to learn that their newborn baby was injured during labor or delivery. According to the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, birth injuries happen to about 1 to 2 infants out of every 1,000 live births in the United States. There are many reasons why an injury may happen. One of the most common reasons is the use of devices to assist in the birth such as forceps and vacuum units.

Birth Injuries Caused by Forceps

Forceps are used to assist with difficult deliveries. The doctor may need to help pull the infant, which may be done with the help of forceps. When used properly, forceps are usually safe. However, they can cause injuries to the baby, especially if excess force is used. Some of the most common birth injuries which could be caused by forceps include:

It is not only infants that can be injured during the birth process. Mothers can also experience injuries, some of which may be very serious. In some cases the mother may die. Injuries are often preventable and could be caused by mistakes made by the doctor or medical team. When labor or delivery becomes difficult the risks to both the infant and the mother increase.

Injuries during Childbirth

There are a number of different injuries that may occur to mothers while they are giving birth. Potential injuries include:

The birth of a child is usually a happy experience and parents are overjoyed to bring home their newborn bundle. But when a birth injury occurs, the joy turns to sorrow when the child is hurt. Birth injuries can be serious and may even cause lifelong disabilities. According to the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, birth injuries occur to approximately 6 to 8 of every 1,000 live births in the U.S. Birth injuries are usually preventable and may be caused by the negligence of the doctor or medical team before, during, or after delivery.

Causes of Birth Injuries

Birth injuries occur because of problems with labor or delivery. Most birth injuries fall into one of several main categories including mechanical stress to the body, lack of oxygen, and utilization of medications. Injuries may range from minor problems that will heal quickly to serious and lifelong medical issues that require long term care.

When parents prepare for the birth of their baby they anticipate joy and delight. Sometimes, however, a family is left saddened and in disbelief after their baby suffers an injury during birth. Birth injuries occur in up to about 6 out of every 1,000 births in the United States. There are a number of different types of injuries that may occur. One of the most serious injuries is meconium aspiration syndrome. Meconium aspiration syndrome, MAS, happens when the baby breathes in some of the amniotic fluid before or during labor or delivery.

About Meconuim Aspiration Syndrome

MAS is a very serious problem that occurs in up to approximately 10% of all births. Meconium is a substance that consists of the first fecal matter, sometimes mixed with amniotic fluid. The baby can breathe this substance into his lungs. When someone breathes fluid into the lungs it is called aspiration. Aspiration of meconium can cause severe birth injuries or even death. It most often occurs when the baby is under stress during the labor or delivery process.

Causes of Meconium Aspiration Syndrome
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The latest serious disease that has begun making the rounds is called the Zika virus. The Zika virus is particularly dangerous to unborn babies, making it a very serious threat to pregnant women. The Zika virus is currently being experienced in Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, South America, the Pacific Islands, and Cape Verde. However, it is spreading and is expected to continue spreading. The Zika virus is spread through the bite of a mosquito and possibly through tick and tsetse fly bites.

About the Zika Virus
According to the Centers for Disease Control, CDC, the source of the Zika virus is currently only located in countries outside the United States. However, there have already been a number of patients here in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with the Zika virus. These individuals have visited one of the countries where there is a Zika outbreak. Additionally, doctors are trying to confirm whether a patient contracted the virus through sexual contact with someone who has the virus.
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Though pregnancy may seem like an easy condition to diagnose, there are numerous possibilities for misdiagnosis. When physicians are negligent and incorrectly identify a medical condition, there can be fatal consequences. The development of the fetus in the womb is an intricate and delicate process. By failing to adequately diagnose problems or potential issues, doctors place the mother and the child at risk. The misdiagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy can prove particularly dangerous and a negligent physician should be held accountable for his or her actions.

What is ectopic pregnancy?

In a normal pregnancy, the fertilized egg implants in the lining of the uterus to develop and grow. As explained by the Mayo Clinic, the egg sometimes implants in other areas of the reproductive system, resulting in an ectopic pregnancy. Possible places for ectopic pregnancy include:

*Fallopian tubes – These are the tubes that connect the ovaries to the uterus, for movement of the unfertilized egg each month. A pregnancy in this area of the body is commonly referred to as a tubal pregnancy.

*Abdominal Cavity – Though it rarely occurs, the fertilized egg sometimes implants in the abdomen of the mother. It may also occur as a secondary implanting that began as a tubal pregnancy, with the fertilized egg moving from the tubes to the abdomen.

*Ovary – A fertilized egg in the ovary is also characterized as an ectopic pregnancy. It typically occurs when the egg does not release during ovulation. Instead, the fertilization process occurs within the ovary.

*Cervix – A cervical pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg implants in the uterine endocervix. Though this type of pregnancy normally aborts during the first few months gestation, it may continue if the implanting occurs close to the uterine cavity

The Dangers of Ectopic Pregnancies
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Thousands of babies are born each year with low oxygen levels, which creates a significant risk of death or long term brain injury. Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) occurs when the brain does not receive an adequate amount of oxygen. Within minutes of oxygen deprivation, brain cells begin to die, making HIE a potentially fatal condition.

To protect newborns from the fatal results of HIE, doctors often use a cooling method where the infant is purposely placed into a state of hypothermia for a specific period of time.

According to a report in the medical journal Nature, this treatment is effective at preventing death and brain injury between birth and toddler years. The effectiveness in advanced ages has yet to be determined. Treated babies were found to have increased mental and physical well being than those who were not cooled. They were 60% more likely to exhibit normal levels of intelligence, auditory abilities and vision.

According to recent reports, researchers are now trying to determine whether longer and more intense cooling treatments will produce better results. An article in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) is discussing the results of a study on longer and deeper cooling methods. The details of the study were as follows:
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A federal district court recently awarded a couple $6.75 million for injuries relating the the treatment of son’s condition. According to a report by Medical Press, the New York family hoped that the medication would bring relief for their young son, who was born with cerebral palsy. Instead, the it led to a life threatening condition that requires constant monitoring.
Cerebral palsy is a disorder that results from injury to the developing brain, usually occurring during pregnancy. According to cerebralpalsy.org, there are a variety of causes that lead to the condition:

***A prenatal disturbance of brain cell migrations occur with environmental factors prevent cells from moving into their correct locations within the brain

***Poor insulation of developing nerve cells occurs when the protective covering does not form adequately enough to protect nerve endings
***Prenatal brain cell death occurs when problems during the birthing process lead to a lack of oxygen to the brain or the rupturing of blood vessels within the brain
***Postnatal traumas, injuries and infections can lead to inappropriate connections between cells within the brain Continue reading ›

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