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Illinois Birth Injury AttorneyIn the United States, infant death occurs in more than 5 of every 1,000 live births, and birth injuries and defects are even more common. Knowing that your newborn child’s life is at risk, or that they may experience health complications throughout their life, can be extremely concerning, and you may feel powerless to do anything about it. 

Perhaps you assume that birth complications are simply inevitable in some cases and that you are one of the unlucky ones. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) one of the leading causes of birth injuries and infant mortality is accidents during childbirth. It is not always easy to determine whether the negligence of a doctor or healthcare professional is to blame for your child’s injuries, but there are resources to help you uncover the root cause and determine whether it is possible to pursue compensation for damages. Here are some things you can do to identify and demonstrate medical negligence.

Consult With a Birth Injury Attorney

If your child has suffered an injury during childbirth and you have any suspicion that medical negligence may have been a factor, it is a good idea to talk to an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney who has direct experience with birth injury cases can listen to your account of the childbirth process and look out for any red flags that may require further investigation. An experienced attorney can also ask the right questions to help you identify signs of negligence that you may have been totally unaware of.

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"chicago Spina bifida is a serious birth defect that can affect a child throughout their life. If your child is born with spina bifida—especially open spina bifida or myelomeningocele—they may need extensive medical care and treatment immediately after birth and as they grow older. This treatment can be extremely expensive, and you may be concerned about your ability to cover the costs. Fortunately, there are a variety of financial resources that may be available to you.

What Are the Treatments for Spina Bifida?

There are a few different types of spina bifida, and the necessary treatment depends in large part on the severity of the type that your child has. One of the most common treatments for spina bifida is surgery early in the child’s life, or even before birth. Doctors may be able to perform surgery to close the spine, repair a tethered spinal cord, or drain fluid from the brain that accumulates due to the condition.

Children with spina bifida will also need regular health check-ups to monitor their condition and identify any new treatment needs. Children with more severe forms of spina bifida may have limited mobility or paralysis, so they may require ongoing physical therapy as well as equipment to assist with movement regular bathroom functions, including a wheelchair, walker, crutches, and catheter.

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Chicago Birth Injury AttorneyAs a new parent, the news that your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP) can be unexpected and concerning, especially if you are not familiar with the nature of the condition. You may have many questions about what caused the condition, how it will affect your child’s life, and what you can do to help. It is important to educate yourself about CP so that you understand your options for making sure your child gets the assistance he or she needs. Here, we address some of the common misconceptions about CP to help you develop a more accurate perspective.

Misconception: CP Affects Everyone the Same Way

It is important not to jump to conclusions about the effects of your child’s cerebral palsy based on other cases of the condition that you have seen or heard about. While all cases of CP are caused by brain damage before, during, or soon after childbirth, there are several different types of CP, and the extent to which the condition affects a person’s abilities can vary significantly. Your child’s diagnosis does not necessarily mean that he or she will be unable to walk, speak, or have normal intellectual development, but it is important to pay close attention to the details of the diagnosis so that you understand your child’s specific diagnosis and the likely effects.

Misconception: CP is a Genetic Condition

Cerebral palsy cannot be passed on genetically from a parent to a child, nor can it be transmitted from person to person in any other way. Rather, it is usually the result of complications surrounding the birthing process that prevent sufficient flow of oxygen to an infant’s brain, or a traumatic brain injury during childbirth. Determining what may have caused your child’s condition can help you consider your options for seeking financial assistance.

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Chicago Birth Injury AttorneyWhile birth injuries to a mother or child do sometimes happen, many of these injuries are preventable. Doctors and other healthcare providers have a duty to provide reasonable care based on their patients’ needs, and when they fail to uphold that duty, a patient can file a medical malpractice claim for any resulting injuries and damages.

If there is evidence of medical negligence in connection with any injuries you or your child suffered during the birthing process, you can pursue compensation for the costs of the necessary medical care and treatment for these injuries. However, these are not the only damages that you may be able to recover. Depending on the nature and effects of the injuries, you could have a claim for lost wages and non-economic damages like pain and suffering.

Understanding Lost Wages and Pain and Suffering Damages

Injury victims may recover damages for lost wages when the effects of their injuries prevent them from working and earning income at full capacity. For example, a person may miss time at work during their recovery, or a disabling injury may entirely prevent them from working in the future.

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Illinois Birth Injury AttorneyAs we have discussed in past blogs, the United States has a troublingly high rate of maternal mortality when compared to other high-income countries, with around 700 maternal deaths each year. The problem is especially prevalent among Black, Latino, and other low-income communities in which mothers have difficulty accessing quality healthcare. Fortunately, the State of Illinois has recognized that financial support for mothers and infants can help to combat this problem, and has recently taken action to extend Medicaid benefits for those in need.

Illinois Medicaid Benefits for Pregnant Women and New Mothers

Medicaid is a federally funded program that is administered by state agencies, with the intention of providing low-income individuals and families with financial assistance for healthcare costs. Medicaid eligibility requirements vary somewhat from state to state, but in Illinois, you generally must be at least 65 years old or have a qualifying condition. Pregnancy is one such qualifying condition.

In recent years, Illinois provided Medicaid benefits for pregnant women through two different programs. One program, known as Medicaid Presumptive Eligibility, or MPE, covers outpatient services as needed during pregnancy. The other program, known as Moms & Babies, provides more comprehensive coverage for both outpatient and inpatient care. This includes care during delivery, and for a duration after the child is born.

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Chicago Birth Injury LawyerIf your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP) due to a birth defect or birth injury, they may face many challenges throughout their life, including impaired physical strength and coordination, limited communication abilities, mental health struggles, and difficulty completing tasks at school, at work, and in their day-to-day life. However, there are treatments available to help your child cope with these challenges, including various forms of therapy. As you search for ways to help and support your child, you should consider the benefits that therapy may offer.

Different Types of Therapy

Therapy gives your child the opportunity to work with specialists who can help them develop abilities and skills to address the different kinds of challenges they may face. Depending on the nature of your child’s condition, they may benefit from some or all of the following:

  • Physical therapy - In physical therapy, your child can perform exercises to increase their general muscle strength and coordination, which may help them sit and hold their head up, stand and walk with assistance, and hold and lift objects.

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Illinois birth injury attorneys for Medical NegligenceLabor and childbirth is an extremely stressful process, with a variety of possible risks of injury to the mother and child. In some cases, the risk of injury or health complications may still be present after the birth is complete. Doctors and other healthcare professionals are responsible for keeping a close eye on new mothers and babies to provide any necessary care and treatment. However, these professionals sometimes make mistakes, and unfortunately, medical negligence can have long-lasting consequences.

Medical Errors Soon After Childbirth

It is not uncommon for a mother or newborn to experience some health complications after childbirth, especially if the baby was born prematurely or there were difficulties during the birth. In many cases, healthcare providers are able to attend to these complications and ensure that the mother and child are back to full health before leaving the hospital. However, it is also possible for a care provider to cause or contribute to further complications through one of the following errors:

 

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Chicago attorneys for C-Section InjuriesThe process of labor and childbirth is complicated, and it can be influenced by many factors, including the mother’s health and the development of the fetus. In many cases, vaginal deliveries are not possible, and doctors must make an important decision to proceed with a Cesarean delivery, or C-section, at the right time. However, Cesarean deliveries can be risky, and unfortunately, both the mother and child can suffer injuries due to improperly timed deliveries and other medical errors.

Common Injuries Related to C-Section Procedures

A C-section is a surgical procedure, and as with other types of surgeries, there is a possibility of error on the part of the operating doctor or other health care providers who are involved in the process. Mothers and babies could suffer a variety of injuries during or after the C-section, including:

  • Wounds from surgical instruments - An error in the process of making the incision or extracting the child from the uterus could cause injuries to the mother’s internal organs or laceration injuries to the child, both of which could be accompanied by excessive bleeding. 

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Chicago Cerebral Palsy birth injury attorneys

All expecting parents hope for a child who is healthy, but the reality is that many children are affected by chronic health conditions from birth or soon after. If your child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP), whether due to a birth injury or complications during pregnancy or labor, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by your concerns for their health and your ability to provide for their needs. Caring for a child with CP is undoubtedly a demanding responsibility, but the following tips may help you manage it.

Educate Yourself About Your Child’s Condition

All cerebral palsy cases are related to brain damage early in the child’s life, but there are several different forms of CP that manifest themselves in different ways, potentially affecting a child’s balance, coordination, and muscle movements in different parts of the body. You can support your child by talking with their health care providers and doing your own research to better understand how the condition affects your child specifically. Increasing your understanding will help you better provide for your child’s needs and make informed decisions about their care and treatment.

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Illinois birth injury attorneys for Maternal InjuriesChildbirth is often a difficult process for both the mother and the child, especially when the child is having difficulty traveling through the birth canal. In these cases, a doctor may recommend the use of forceps to guide the baby’s head and assist with the delivery. However, an error in the use of forceps can cause serious injuries not only to the child, but to the mother as well. If you have been injured while giving birth to your child, you may have a claim for compensation based on medical negligence.

Maternal Injuries From Forceps Use

The use of forceps during childbirth is a very delicate procedure, and even a minor error could have serious consequences. Some possible maternal injuries and health complications related to forceps use include:

  • Lacerations and tears - Forceps can cause cuts or tears in the tissue of the vagina, the anus, or the perineum (the area in between). This can lead to scarring or excessive bleeding that may prove fatal.

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Illinois birth injury attorneysMany birth injuries to infants are related to complications with prolonged or induced labor, health complications with the mother, or the child’s lack of oxygen. However, some injuries are the result of direct physical trauma to the child during extraction.

These injuries commonly affect a child’s head, neck, spine, and upper body, and they tend to be more common when doctors use vacuum extraction or forceps to assist with the delivery. If your child has suffered one of the following traumatic injuries, the Birth Injury Law Alliance can help you determine how to proceed.

Birth Injuries to the Head and Upper Body

All of the following injuries can occur due to trauma during childbirth:

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Chicago birth injury attorneysChildbirth is a complicated process with many possible dangers for both the child and the mother. A serious problem that some newborns experience is birth asphyxia, a condition in which the infant cannot obtain sufficient oxygen during or after birth. Birth asphyxia can have many different causes, including problems with the placenta or umbilical cord, or complications with prolonged labor. If asphyxia affects your child, it is important to understand what this could mean for their health in both the short and long term.

Short-Term Symptoms and Effects

When a child is born, doctors use what is known as an Apgar score to gauge the baby’s health. To determine this score, doctors look for several indicators, including the child’s appearance, heart rate, reflexes, muscle activity, and breathing. Asphyxia can affect almost all of these indicators. For example, an infant who suffers from asphyxia often has discolored skin, a low pulse, and difficulty breathing. In most cases, doctors can recognize the symptoms of asphyxia and take action to address it as quickly as possible.

If birth asphyxia is not treated promptly, it can result in more serious health complications in the short term. The baby could experience seizures, blood clotting, high blood pressure, and acidosis, a condition in which there is excessive acid in the blood. Asphyxia can also cause organ failure, including in the liver, kidneys, and brain, and it may prove fatal soon after birth.

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Chicago birth injury lawyersTiming is a critical issue in a baby’s birth. When labor is not progressing normally, doctors may need to induce or speed up labor using various medical techniques. Unfortunately, labor induction is not without its risks. Mothers and babies can suffer birth injuries when labor is not induced properly, labor is prolonged, or the doctors fail to recognize the need for an emergency C-section.

Why Would a Doctor Induce Labor?

Labor induction involves various methods that stimulate uterine contractions and speed up the birth of a baby. A doctor might recommend labor induction when a pregnant woman is more than two weeks overdue, or medical concerns make induction the safest choice. Placental abruption, gestational diabetes, infections, and pre-labor rupture of membranes may all cause a doctor to recommend labor induction. Doctors have a legal “duty of care” to provide reasonably skillful medical care to patients. This includes thoroughly assessing the situation and determining what course of action is in the mother and baby’s best interests. If the risks associated with labor induction are lower than the risks of continuing without inducing labor, the doctor will suggest labor induction.

What Can Go Wrong During Labor Induction?

Labor induction works about three-fourths of the time. If labor induction does not produce the desired results, the mother may need an emergency C-section. Doctors have a very limited window of time during which they must determine if an emergency C-section is necessary. A delayed c-section can lead to significant birth injuries to the baby, including brain damage. Certain medications used to induce labor, including Pitocin and Cytotec (synthetic versions of the hormones prostaglandin and oxytocin), can cause abnormal contractions that lead to low fetal heart rate and reduced oxygen to the baby. The infant may suffer from brain injuries including hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), and cystic encephalomalacia. Mothers may also suffer injuries caused by labor induction, including Infections, bleeding, and a serious complication called uterine rupture.

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Chicago birth injury attorneysAs a parent, your child’s cerebral palsy (CP) diagnosis can be cause for serious concern, both regarding their well-being and your ability to provide for the costs of their treatment and care. If the condition was caused by a birth injury related to medical negligence, you may be able to recover compensation from the parties at fault. However, given the immediacy of your child’s needs and the sheer magnitude of the expenses you are likely to face over time, it is understandable that you would look to other sources of financial assistance. One possible source of help for some parents is Social Security benefits.

Supplemental Security Income for Children With Cerebral Palsy

The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) offers disability benefits through a couple of different programs. The program that most often helps families of children with CP is Supplemental Security Income (SSI). For a child to be eligible for SSI, they must have a qualifying disability and limited financial resources.

Qualifying disabilities are typically determined based on the SSA’s Listing of Impairments, commonly known as the Blue Book. Cerebral palsy is noted as a qualifying neurological disability for children, but only under certain circumstances. In order for your child to qualify for benefits, their condition must affect at least two extremities to the extent that they have extreme difficulty standing up from a seated position, balancing while standing, or using their upper limbs. Reports from your child’s doctors and therapists can help you demonstrate your child’s eligibility.

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Chicago birth injury attorneysCerebral palsy can have a profound impact on a child’s growth and development. As a parent of a child with cerebral palsy, you are probably constantly looking into ways to improve your child’s quality of life. Although surgery is often considered a last resort, several surgical procedures have been shown to improve mobility, pain, and overall functioning in children with cerebral palsy. Limb-lengthening or leg-lengthening surgery is an orthopedic surgery that corrects leg abnormalities or length discrepancies. This procedure may help a child with cerebral palsy with walking and movement, but the procedure is also associated with several risks.

How Does Leg-Lengthening Work?

Many children with cerebral palsy have legs that are different lengths. This can make walking very difficult and painful. Leg-lengthening surgery involves cutting the leg bone and allowing the body to form new bone so that the leg is longer than it was before the surgery. This is typically accomplished by inserting a metal device inside of the leg that slowly increases the space between the leg bones that were surgically separated. The body will then naturally fill in the space with bone over time.

What Are the Benefits of Leg-Lengthening for Cerebral Palsy Sufferers?

Having legs of two different lengths often causes pain in the back, hips, legs, and feet. Leg discrepancies may also accelerate joint deterioration. Limb-lengthening surgeries have about a 95 percent success rate. The procedure may correct leg discrepancies and misalignment that make it harder for children with cerebral palsy to get around. It may also reduce pain and slow the weakening of the joints.

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Illinois cerebral palsy attorneysPublic opinion about cannabis products has changed dramatically in the last several decades. More and more people are using products like cannabidiol, or CBD, to treat everything from chronic pain to seizures. If you are a parent of a child with cerebral palsy, you may watch your child struggle with muscle pain and stiffness, reduced mobility, involuntary movements, and a host of other symptoms. Some parents have found that CBD oil is an effective treatment option for children with cerebral palsy, however, there is still controversy and uncertainty surrounding cannabidiol.  

What is CBD Oil?

While CBD oil is derived from cannabis, CBD oil is not the same thing as marijuana. Cannabidiol is one of the non-psychoactive active ingredients in the hemp plant. This means that users do not feel a “high” when they consume products containing only CBD. The World Health Organization reports that the substance “exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential” and most medical experts do not consider the product to be dangerous. However, the effectiveness of CBD oil has been called into question.

Does CBD Work for Cerebral Palsy Sufferers?

Clinical studies have shown CBD to be an effective treatment option for childhood epilepsy as well as chronic pain and anxiety. Some parents of children with cerebral palsy have also found that the supplement reduces cerebral palsy symptoms. One mother found that CBD oil helps her nine-year-old significantly. She states that the substance dramatically reduced the incidence of her child’s tonic-clonic seizures and “really really relaxes her.” However, the benefits and risks associated with using CBD oil to combat cerebral palsy symptoms has not been fully researched. Therefore, it is important to discuss any questions and concerns you have with your child’s doctor.

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Illinois birth injury attorneyCerebral palsy can lead to life-altering symptoms. A child with cerebral palsy may have difficulty eating and speaking, walking, and using his or her muscles to complete everyday tasks. He or she may be afflicted with involuntary movements and muscle rigidity. Some cerebral palsy sufferers also experience intellectual disabilities and problems with learning and development. If your child has cerebral palsy, you may be interested in alternatives to traditional medical interventions.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Children with Cerebral Palsy

There is still much that we do not know about alternative treatment for cerebral palsy sufferers. Some families find that alternative therapy reduces their child’s CP symptoms and increases his or her quality of life. However, others do not find the treatments to be effective. 

If you have a child with cerebral palsy, you may want to ask your child’s doctor about exploring alternative therapies such as:

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Chicago birth injury attorneyIdeally, a baby is born head-first. This ensures that the child can breathe as soon as his or her head clears the birth canal. A baby that is positioned incorrectly within the mother’s body during labor and delivery may suffer life-threatening birth injuries. Doctors may need to take corrective actions to reposition the baby or deliver the baby through Cesarean section (C-section.) If a doctor fails to handle a breech birth correctly, the baby may suffer serious or even fatal injuries.

Potential Remedies for a Baby in Breech Presentation

When a baby is in breech presentation, doctors have several choices. In some cases, the doctor may be able to manually reposition the baby so that the mother can continue with a vaginal delivery. External cephalic version (ECV) is a process during which a doctor pushes on the outside of the woman’s abdomen in order to manually reposition the baby. However, this procedure is not safe in situations involving multiples, rupture of the amniotic sac, abnormal fetal heart rate, low amniotic fluid levels, or vaginal bleeding.

In many cases, the best way to ensure that a breech baby is delivered safely is to deliver the baby via C-section. Although there are also risks associated with a C-section, the risks of vaginal delivery often outweigh the risks of a C-section when the baby is not positioned correctly. An obstetrician must consider all of the relevant factors and make the decision that reduces the chances of injury to the baby and the mother as much as possible.

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IL birth injury lawyerCerebral palsy is a life-changing medical condition that can affect everything from walking and eating to cognition and learning abilities. If you have a child with cerebral palsy, you know just how far-reaching the illness's effects can be. Fortunately, doctors and researchers are learning more and more about cerebral palsy every day. Many medical interventions, including several surgical procedures, may improve the quality of cerebral palsy sufferers' lives.

Orthopedic Surgery for Children with Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy can lead to rigid muscles, uncontrollable muscle movement, and difficulty with everyday tasks like using a pencil or showering. Children with cerebral palsy may struggle to gain the independence they crave because of their lack of muscle control. Orthopedic surgery has proven to be one method of improving functionality. As a parent, the thought of your child going under the knife may understandably be unnerving. Most parents try various other treatment options such as physical therapy and muscle injections before trying surgery. Unfortunately, these treatments do not always result in the relief doctors hope for.

Some orthopedic surgeries that may alleviate cerebral palsy symptoms include:

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IL birth injury lawyerDuring pregnancy, the health of the growing fetus is directly tied to the mother’s health. If the mother suffers from a medical condition such as preeclampsia, this may have a direct impact on the baby’s wellbeing. For these reasons, doctors must closely monitor a pregnant mother’s health. The sooner a maternal health condition is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin. If a doctor fails to recognize the signs of a health complication during pregnancy, the baby may suffer an avoidable birth injury.

What is Preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is characterized by high maternal blood pressure during pregnancy. Sometimes, a mother suddenly experiences elevated blood pressure, and other times, her blood pressure slowly rises over time. Blood pressure greater than 140/90 mm Hg is considered abnormal. Some mothers suffering from preeclampsia do not experience symptoms of high blood pressure. Others experience symptoms like:

  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Blurred vision
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Swelling in the face and hands
  • Signs of kidney and liver problems

Because pregnant mothers may not experience symptoms and many preeclampsia symptoms are typical of pregnancy in general, doctors must routinely check a pregnant woman’s blood pressure. Two abnormal blood pressure readings more than four hours apart are usually indicative of preeclampsia.

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