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.
Treatment of HIE
When an infant is born with HIE immediate evaluation and treatment may help to reduce the negative impact on the brain. There are two stages of brain cell failure associated with HIE. One of the most important ways to treat the first stage of HIE is with moderate hypothermia. Specially designed equipment is used to reduce the infant’s temperature. This may help to reduce the swelling of the brain cells to keep them from dying. The second stage of HIE cell failure typically occurs about 6 to 48 hours after birth. During this stage more cells may be affected and brain damage may progress.
Failure to Evaluate Condition
In this case, the mother states that the doctors failed to properly evaluate her condition and that of her unborn child. Monitoring and assessing the mother and fetus for potential birth risk factors is essential to a normal labor and delivery. If the infant or mother is at risk the doctors need to appraise their medical condition and determine the best option for delivery. In this situation, the woman claims that the doctors should have known that a c-section should have been conducted which would have prevented the injuries from happening.
Birth Injury Prevention
Birth injuries are much more common when labor or delivery become difficult. Complications can result in the birth being delayed, which can cause distress to the unborn baby. The most serious of these injuries is the lack of oxygen to the brain. That is why monitoring the mother and baby is an important step in the birth process. If a problem is noticed the doctor must make a quick decision to perform an emergency c-section.
During a c-section the baby is removed from the womb surgically. This operation can help prevent birth injuries, particularly those caused by a lack of oxygen. If your newborn was injured at birth you may be entitled to compensation to cover the expensive medical bills, rehabilitation, and care that will be necessary. Contact the skilled lawyers at Levin & Perconti to schedule a consultation.
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