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What’s It Like to Have a Birth Injury?

Published on Feb 21, 2019 at 5:06 pm in Birth Injury.

When one hears that their child sustained an injury during birth, they may feel a mixture of overwhelming emotions. They’re worried about their child’s health, how this injury happened, and what this means for their child’s future. Unfortunately, birth injuries can lead to health complications for the rest of a child’s life. If your child has suffered from an injury because of medical negligence, you may be facing a reality that includes affording permanent care for your child.

Medical Malpractice: C-Sections, Surgical Risks & Patient Consent

Published on Jun 19, 2018 at 3:20 pm in Birth Injury.

Doctors have a legal duty to treat patients in accordance to established medical guidelines and standards, as doing so is critical to avoiding preventable injuries. While evaluating whether a medical professional took appropriate steps to treat a patient as a reasonably skillful doctor would under the same or similar circumstances is an important part of determining whether negligence played a role in causing birth injuries, it is also important to evaluate whether or not doctors adequately discussed information about procedures and associated risks – including risks related to cesarean sections, or C-sections for short.

During pregnancy, doctors have ample opportunity to speak with and evaluate pregnant mothers, conduct testing, and prepare them for delivery. This includes an evaluation of potential risk factors and complications that would necessitate a C-section per accepted medical guidelines, including:

  • Twin births
  • Large babies, or a history of large babies
  • Placental problems
  • Chronic health conditions (diabetes, high blood pressures, etc.)
  • Infections
  • Premature labor
  • Complications during labor and delivery

Doctors have a legal duty to properly interpret test results and discussions with mothers to evaluate foreseeable risks associated with vaginal delivery. When appropriate, they should discuss the possibility of C-sections with mothers as a means to avoid and mitigate these risks, as well as risks inherent to C-section procedures themselves.

Birth Injuries Caused by Medical Devices

Published on May 4, 2018 at 3:26 pm in Birth Injury.

Birth injuries can result from a range of negligent actions and conduct during pregnancy, labor, and delivery – including the improper use of forceps and vacuum extractors. While both of these medical devices can assist physicians during difficult deliveries, they must be used in accordance to strict standards. When medical professionals fail to use forceps or vacuum extractors properly, they can be held liable for preventable birth injuries, including those resulting in long-term and life-altering effects on children and their families.

At Shrager & Sachs, our Philadelphia attorneys have established our firm as a proven practice capable of protecting the rights of victims who suffer preventable harm due to medical malpractice. Over the years, our team has been dedicated to protecting the rights of families who have suffered injuries and losses as a result of substandard medical care – including substandard care resulting in preventable birth injuries. In birth injury cases involving forceps and vacuums, we closely evaluate the facts and circumstances at hand to hold treating nurses, doctors, or other medical professionals accountable for their negligence.

Forceps Injuries

Forceps are devices that enable a physician or health care provider to guide a baby’s head through the birth canal, and are typically used during difficult deliveries, when a mother has become exhausted, and when other factors or complications are present. Because the head and neck of a newborn are incredibly fragile, forceps must be used properly without applying excessive pressure or twisting. They must also be correctly positioned, as incorrectly placed forceps can cause catastrophic injury, and used at appropriate times.

Failure to Read Fetal Heart Rate & Birth Injuries

Published on Mar 19, 2018 at 3:29 pm in Birth Injury.

Monitoring an unborn baby’s heart rate during labor and delivery can alert nurses and medical staff to potential complications and medical emergencies that must be promptly addressed. Should a baby’s heart rate become too high or too low, for example, it may indicate fetal distress caused by oxygen deprivation and the need for an emergency C-section.

In order to ensure a baby is tolerating the birth process and identify any complications, nurses and staff use electronic fetal heart rate monitors. These devices provide readouts that must be interpreted by attending medical staff. Should they fail to read fetal heart rate, or interpret readouts properly, they can miss signs of distress and opportunities to avert serious, neurological injuries that could have otherwise been avoided.

Birth Injuries vs. Birth Defects

Published on Dec 8, 2017 at 3:59 pm in Birth Injury.

Birth injuries and birth defects can result in permanent medical conditions that require expensive and long-term treatment for your child. Thus, pursuing compensation against the physician responsible is necessary to seek justice and obtain a financial settlement. However, parents may not be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit for birth defects. What is the difference between a birth injury and a birth defect?

Birth Injuries Occur During Labor or Delivery

Birth injuries are often preventable, and have several causes. If the doctor pulls on the baby the wrong way, uses forceps or medical instruments improperly, administers the wrong amount of medication to the mother, or performs other unnecessary or incorrect procedures during labor and delivery, the child could suffer harm. You have the right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit for injuries your baby suffered due to your doctor’s negligence or carelessness.

The Impact Infections Can Have on a Pregnancy

Published on Jun 20, 2017 at 6:22 pm in Birth Injury.

Infections can be especially dangerous to pregnant women and their unborn child if they are not quickly diagnosed and treated. Pregnancy can make infections more severe, which makes it all the more pressing to start treatment as soon as possible. Even mild infections can cause serious complications. Learn more about the impact infections can have on pregnancy.

Why Are Pregnant Women at a Higher Risk of Infection?

Pregnancy affects a woman’s entire body. Changes in hormone levels and immune system function can cause women to be more vulnerable to infection. Labor and delivery are especially susceptible times for infection.

Women often experience changes in immunity with pregnancy to protect both the mother and the baby. Some parts of your immune system may be suppressed while others are enhanced. The immune system works twice as hard to protect the mother and the baby. These changes can leave women open to infection. Other functions in the body change as well, which can affect the mother’s ability to fight off infection. Hormonal and physical changes can contribute to urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and lung infections. A pregnant woman’s body may be more predisposed to certain kinds of infections thanks to these changes.

What Causes Seizures in Newborns?

Published on Jun 6, 2017 at 6:26 pm in Birth Injury.

A seizure is defined as abnormal electrical discharges in the brain, which cause symptoms such as convulsions, altered consciousness, and brain disturbances. Seizures in infants can indicate neonatal brain damage has occurred. Often, they are the first sign of a birth injury. Frequently, seizures develop in babies who were deprived of oxygen during the delivery process. Many seizure-causing injuries occur near or during delivery.

Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE)

HIE is the most common cause of neonatal seizures. This brain injury is caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain during birth. This deprivation can occur from decreased oxygen in the baby’s blood (hypxemia/hypoxia) or decreased blood flow to the baby’s brain (ischemia).

There are a number of conditions that can cause HIE, including:

  • Untreated maternal high blood pressure
  • Umbilical cord injuries, such as the cord becoming wrapped around the baby’s neck (nuchal cord), umbilical cord prolapse, or cord compression.
  • Uterine or placental complications, such as placenta previa, placental abruption, placental insufficiency, or ruptured uterus.
  • Tachysystole (excessive uterine contractions)
  • Complications due to the baby’s size or position
  • Brain trauma or hemorrhages in the baby’s brain
  • Improper use of delivery instruments, such as a vacuum extractor
  • Delayed delivery
  • Delayed emergency C-Section
  • Prolonged second stage of labor
  • Infection
  • Kernicterus, a difficulty getting rid of the red blood cell byproduct, bilirubin.

These conditions all can put the baby at risk, though many can be diagnosed early and treated. Careful monitoring of the mother and infant for distress during the delivery process can reduce the chances of many of these injuries.

American Mothers In More Danger of Maternal Complications Than Moms Elsewhere

Published on May 18, 2017 at 6:28 pm in Birth Injury.

Despite our years of technological advancement and study of the human anatomy, childbirth is still considered extremely dangerous in the United States. According to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 600 American women lose their lives due to complications that arise either during pregnancy or the actual process of delivery. By other estimates, nearly 60,000+ other women will experience severe health complications during childbirth that require hospitalization or other treatment methods to correct.

In comparison to other countries in the developed world, the U.S. is one of the worst when it comes to medical safety for pregnant women and new mothers. In fact, the mortality rate related to pregnancy deaths in America is three times higher than that in Canada, and six times higher than that in Norway, Sweden, and Finland. While so many other countries are seeing these rates drop over time, it has actually spiked in America since 2000. It all begs the question, “What is going on with maternal care in America?”

Better Care Would Prevent More Deaths

It is impossible to pass up the high pregnancy and childbirth mortality rate in the United States to poor luck, bad health, or simply connected to the country having a high population when the CDC itself has stated that many of the deaths should be entirely preventable. Indeed, it believes around 60% of childbirth and pregnancy deaths would not happen if hospitals maintained better conditions, doctors received thorough training, and healthcare in the country overall was improved. In an almost contradictory way, the CDC cites evidence of extremely low infant mortality rates in the country, improved over decades of care and research, as the same evidence that shows pregnant women and new mothers could and should be getting better care.

Many pregnancy-related deaths are linked to:

  • Blood clots
  • Hemorrhages
  • Heart failure
  • Preeclampsia

While all of these conditions are severe, none should be so dangerous that mortality rates noticeably rise. With preparation in the delivery room and attentive obstetrician care, many of the worst complications should be avoidable, or at least predictable enough to stem.

Seeking Compensation for Infant Intracranial Hemorrhages

Published on Feb 15, 2016 at 8:16 pm in Birth Injury.

One of the most common ways for a child to be injured during birth is by an intracranial hemorrhage, or “brain bleed.” This type of trauma can occur during labor and delivery complications, often caused by the negligence of doctors or nurses during or near the time of birth. While some brain bleeds are minor and heal in a short amount of time, others can be very serious and result in permanent brain damage or other lifelong disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, seizures, or developmental and intellectual disabilities.

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