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Illinois Medical Malpractice Blog

The alarming link between birth injury and developmental delays

While exciting and joyous, childbirth can also be a dangerous time, both for mother and baby. Unfortunately for concerned parents, there are any number of things that can go wrong, leading to complications and health problems immediately or even months or years down the road.

Perhaps the worst, though, is when these injuries to tiny, fragile newborns are preventable through proper care and medical precautions, but occur anyway due to mistakes or negligence on the part of careless medical professionals. Injuries at birth can result in developmental delays that affect the child's growth and brain development. How do these tragic injuries occur, and is there anything you can do?

A missed diagnosis: U.S. maternal mortality rate is unacceptable

As an expectant mother, when you discover that you are pregnant, your focus is likely on the health of your child. You want your child to be healthy and hope for minimal childbirth complications. 

In the past decade, however, the focus on infant well-being has drawn attention away from maternal health. The story of neonatal intensive care nurse Lauren Bloomstein was recently featured in an in-depth analysis of maternal mortality rates in the United States. While most of the developed world is experiencing a decline in maternal mortality, maternal mortality rates in the U.S. continue to rise at an unacceptable rate.

Can an Intracranial Hemorrhage Result from a Birth Injury?

No matter what the circumstances surrounding a birth injury are, they always cause a significant amount of stress for the baby, the parents, and the medical team. However, birth injuries range in severity from very mild to exceedingly severe. One of the most severe, and devastating, injuries that can occur is an intracranial hemorrhage.

Broken Clavicle: A Common Birth Injury

A trip to the hospital to deliver a child is supposed to be one of the few times that a couple travels to the hospital in a happy mood. They are looking forward to welcoming a new member into their family and only want for their new child to be healthy. Unfortunately, the childbirth process doesn't always go as planned and sometimes there are complications along the way.

While some complications are unavoidable, other complications can lead to birth injuries that could have been avoided. One of the most common birth injuries that occurs during the labor and delivery process is a clavicle fracture. 

Can a Forceps-Assisted Delivery Cause Birth Injuries?

No family goes into the delivery room expecting problems to arise with the delivery process; however, sometimes physicians need to use extra equipment to help the baby travel through the birth canal. In an earlier post, the vacuum extraction assisted vaginal deliveries were discussed. Along with vacuum extraction, forceps can also help extract the baby from the birth canal.

It is important for everyone going through a pregnancy to understand situations where physicians might use forceps to assist in the delivery process. Parents should also understand the injuries that the improper use of forceps can cause.

Klumpke's Palsy: A Common Birth Injury

Unfortunately, birth injuries happen to a large number of babies every year. While some birth injuries are unavoidable, other injuries are the results of mistakes made by medical professionals. If a child is injured by a mistake made by a medical professional, those individuals should be held responsible.

Some people may have read the firm's earlier post on Erb's Palsy. Another brachial plexus injury can cause another disorder known as Klumpke's Palsy. This birth injury is a paralysis that everyone should understand, especially if it was the result of trauma during the birthing process

The vital importance of informed consent

With few exceptions, patients are required to give informed consent before being treated by a physician. Informed consent helps to ensure that patients are educated about their options and their treatment before they are subjected to procedures, medical intervention, medication and other critical aspects of their care.

When a physician fails to seek informed consent or compromises the information that a patient has access to when giving his or her informed consent and that patient is harmed as a result, that patient may be able to hold the negligent medical provider accountable in court. For example, when something important goes wrong during the birthing process that could have been prevented if the patient had been given proper access to information prior to giving her informed consent, that patient may have grounds for a legal case. 

When prescription drugs cause birth defects

Pregnancy is rarely an easy journey. The discomforts of pregnancy can range from mildly irritating to potentially fatal. As a result, many pregnant women require prescription medication from time to time. Sometimes, these medications are absolutely necessary and cannot be avoided or traded for safer drugs. But at other times, prescriptions should be avoided or swapped for alternatives in order to protect both the woman and her pregnancy.

Tragically, some drugs are determined to cause birth defects only after hundreds or thousands of women and their pregnancies have been affected by them. At other times, a great deal of information is available about potential risks from the start of a woman's medical treatment. Although even then, careless pharmacists or physicians can accidentally expose pregnant women to truly hazardous drugs.

How important are nurses in the birthing process?

When considering the delivery of a child, most prospective parents think of the doctor as the most important person (other than the mother and child, of course). And it is true that the doctor is tremendously important in the pregnancy and birthing process. Expecting parents usually create a birth plan with their doctor and expect their doctors to be there during the birth to make critical decisions.

However, the nurses involved also carry a tremendous amount of influence. Especially with the often unpredictable aspects of birth, there are times when the on-call doctor cannot make it to the hospital on time for the delivery, leaving the parents and their nurses as the only ones on the scene. In situations like this, it is critically important that the nurses handling births are well trained and professional.

Understanding vacuum extraction birthing

Almost every family expecting a baby has their ideal of a perfect birth. No one imagines that perfect birth involving a doctor extracting the baby from the mother with vacuum technology.

Although vacuum extraction has become a common method for certain roadblocks in the birthing process, and the method is not without merit, it creates a degree of fear for expecting parents. Some of these fears are certainly warranted. It is critical to understand the technology, its benefits and its risks, so you can make smart decisions at birth and have the information you need in case the mother or child suffers serious birthing injuries as a result of vacuum extraction.

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Scales Of Justice: A
Constant Reminder

Attorney Jeffrey Goldberg commissioned this sculpture of the scales of justice to serve as a visual reminder of the firm's reason for being: to make sure that people who have been injured by the negligence of others are fairly represented and that they receive just compensation for their losses.

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