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Illinois medical malpractice attorney birth injury

Giving birth should be one of the most cherished moments of a person’s entire life. Sadly, many mothers throughout the United States have unexpected complications during pregnancy or birth that result in death or injury to the baby or the mother herself. While some of these incidents are unavoidable, others are caused by negligence on the part of the medical staff interacting with the patient. Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is injured or otherwise harmed by a medical professional who fails to perform his or her medical duties proficiently.

When Is a Medical Professional Guilty of Malpractice?

In order to prove that medical malpractice occurred, several conditions must be met. First, an established “doctor-patient” relationship must exist between the individuals in question. For example, a person cannot sue a nurse for medical advice that he or she gave casually outside of work just because that person is a nurse.
Next, the medical professional must have been negligent. Put another way, in order for an action to be considered malpractice, the doctor must have caused harm in a way that any other capable doctor would not have. A medical professional’s care is required to be consistent with “the same degree of knowledge, skill, and ability as an ordinarily careful professional would exercise under similar circumstances” and compliant with the prevailing standard of care. If it can be shown that a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional was not exhibiting this obligatory level of care, he or she may be considered negligent.
Finally, in order for a medical malpractice claim to be valid, the medical professional’s negligence had to cause some type of injury that led to damages. Damages can include medical expenses, physical pain, mental anguish, future medical expenses, decreased earning capacity, and lost wages.

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Cook County medical malpractice attorney birth injury

Even though doctors and medical facilities in the United States provide high-quality healthcare for many patients, birth injuries still occur, and the rate of maternal injuries in this country is higher than in any other developed country. Unfortunately, even though mothers and children of all backgrounds are affected by these types of injuries, those who are in minority groups are even more likely to experience serious or fatal complications during pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

Why Are African Americans More Likely to Experience Birth Injuries?

There are approximately 700 cases of maternal death each year, and two-thirds of these deaths are generally considered to be preventable. In addition, 50,000 women experience severe maternal morbidity (SMM), which involves life-threatening complications during pregnancy or birth. While these issues affect women from every background, they are much more likely to affect women of color. While an average of 17.2 maternal deaths occur out of every 100,000 births, this rate increases to 43.5 out of 100,000 for non-Hispanic Black women, while it decreases to 12.7 out of every 100,000 for non-Hispanic white women. Black women are also twice as likely to experience SMM as non-Hispanic White women.

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Cook County birth injury attorney hearing loss

Even when everything goes smoothly, childbirth can be a traumatic process for both mothers and infants. Unfortunately, medical issues during pregnancy or complications during labor and delivery can lead to birth injuries, and in some cases, these injuries can have a long-term or permanent impact on a child’s health and well-being. One concern that parents may have is the possibility that their child will suffer hearing loss due to a birth injury. Understanding the potential causes of hearing loss can help parents determine the best way to respond and ensure that their child receives the proper care and treatment.

Causes of Infant Hearing Loss

In the majority of cases, children experience hearing loss because of genetic causes, either due to a mutation of the child’s genes or as part of a syndrome in which the child experiences other symptoms. If either parent has one or more family members who are deaf or who have suffered genetic hearing loss, doctors should closely monitor the child during pregnancy and ensure that parents are prepared to provide the child with the proper care.

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Cook County birth injury attorney medication error

Many people throughout the United States take medications to treat mood disorders and mental health conditions. When used properly under the care of a psychiatrist, these drugs are generally safe, although they can have side effects. Unfortunately, some of these side effects include issues that affect a mother and her child during pregnancy. Women who take antidepressants should be sure to consult with their physician to address the risks of medication use and determine the best ways to receive the treatment they need while minimizing the possibility of birth defects.

What Types of Antidepressants Can Cause Birth Injuries?

While the overall risk of birth defects when using antidepressants is low, certain drugs have been linked to birth defects and other complications during pregnancy and birth. These include:

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Cook County medical malpractice attorney birth injury

The coronavirus pandemic has affected everyone in the United States, and people have had to make different types of adjustments to their lives to avoid the health risks that can result from contracting COVID-19. Pregnant women are likely to be especially concerned, since giving birth in a hospital may increase the risks of infection. It is important for mothers to understand whether their child may suffer birth injuries related to COVID-19 or whether they will be at an increased risk of maternal injuries or other complications.

Studies Show Higher Rates of Complications for Mothers With Coronavirus Infections

Expectant mothers may be concerned about how their child will be affected if they contract COVID-19 while pregnant. Fortunately, while some maternal infections have been known to cause harm to a child, preliminary research indicates that it is rare for a coronavirus infection to be passed from a mother to a child, and children are unlikely to experience birth defects.

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Cook County maternal injury childbirth

As one of the richest countries in the world, the United States should be able to provide quality healthcare to mothers and children during the process of pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Unfortunately, even though medical facilities have made a serious effort to reduce birth injuries to children, the same level of care is often not provided to mothers. In fact, the U.S. has the highest rate of maternal death among developed countries, with hundreds of women dying during childbirth each year. Perhaps even more concerning, however, is the increasing rate of serious maternal injuries, known as severe maternal morbidity. These types of injuries affect mothers in more than 1 percent of all births, adding up to over 50,000 cases each year.

What Is Maternal Morbidity?

Unexpected complications during pregnancy and childbirth can result in many different types of short-term and long-term issues that affect a mother’s health. Some forms of severe maternal morbidity include:

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Cook County birth injury attorney skull fracture

The process of labor and delivery can sometimes put strain on the body of a child. During a vaginal delivery, a child’s head must pass through the birth canal, which can put significant pressure on the skull and brain. While the bones of a newborn’s skull have not yet fused together, allowing for some flexibility during birth, delivery can still cause compression to the child’s head, and in some cases, an infant may experience a skull fracture.

A fractured skull can be very dangerous for a newborn, and it can cause permanent brain damage and lead to a variety of other complications. If a fracture results in the bones of the skull pressing into the child’s brain tissue, this can result in conditions such as cystic encephalomalacia. Bleeding around the brain can cut off blood flow, leading to neonatal stroke or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Damage to the brain can cause permanent conditions such as cerebral palsy (CP).

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Cook County medical malpractice attorney birth injury

Every expectant mother hopes that her delivery will go as smoothly as possible. However, complications during the birthing process sometimes necessitate the use of special procedures and equipment that may present a risk to the baby. Vacuum extraction or vacuum-assisted delivery is a procedure used during a vaginal delivery when a baby needs help traveling through the birth canal. A device called a vacuum extractor creates suction on the baby’s head and allows the doctor to gently pull the infant out while the mother pushes. Although vacuum extraction is a common procedure, it is also associated with an increased risk of serious, sometimes life-threatening birth injuries.

Why Is a Vacuum Extractor Used During Labor and Delivery?

If labor is not progressing normally, a vacuum extractor may be used to encourage the baby through the birth canal. Vacuum extraction is often used when a mother experiences ruptured membranes or trouble pushing the baby out. Atypical heart rate indicating infant distress may also prompt an obstetrician to use vacuum extraction. This procedure is typically not recommended if a woman is less than 34 weeks pregnant, the infant suffers from certain health conditions such as hemophilia or osteogenesis imperfecta, the baby is in a breech position, or if the baby’s head is too big to fit through the mother’s pelvis.

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Illinois birth injury attorney Gastroschisis

Despite the remarkable medical advances that have taken place in recent decades, birth injuries continue to be an unfortunate reality in the United States. While some birth injuries are easily remedied and do not result in lasting damage to the infant, others result in lifelong complications or even infant death. Gastroschisis is a congenital birth defect in which an infant’s intestines protrude through his or her abdominal wall. Surgery is necessary to correct the abnormality, but unfortunately, surgery is not always enough to prevent the infant from suffering major health complications or even death.

The Causes of Gastroschisis Still Largely Unknown

Gastroschisis occurs when the abdominal wall of a growing fetus does not develop properly and a 1- to 2-inch opening in the abdominal wall forms. This allows the fetus’s intestines to extend outside of its body. The intestines are then exposed to the amniotic fluid and may become inflamed, twisted, or shortened. In complex cases, other internal organs may also protrude through the abdominal opening. Since the 1980s, more and more babies have been born with gastroschisis. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that the incidence of gastroschisis nearly doubled between 1995 and 2005. Younger mothers and mothers who drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes during pregnancy are more likely to have babies with gastroschisis; however, the exact cause of the defect is still unknown.

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Chicago birth injury lawyerA baby’s transition from the womb into the outside world is a critical moment. If complications arise during the birthing process, the baby can suffer injuries that affect him or her for the rest of his or her life. One common complication that can lead to serious medical conditions is a breech birth. Babies should be born head first. However, in 3-4 percent of births, the baby is not positioned in the correct way. Breech presentation increases the risk of serious birth injuries and even infant death in some cases.

Causes of Breech Presentation During Birth

A baby is in a breech presentation if he or she is positioned in such a way that his or her buttocks or feet will enter the birth canal first. Breech presentations are more common when certain risk factors are present. These factors include but are not limited to:

  • Giving birth to multiples, such as twins or triplets

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Chicago birth injury lawyerAnticipating the birth of a new child is often one of the most exciting times in a mother’s life. Unfortunately, many mothers have seen their joy turn to fear after experiencing an unexpected complication during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. One complication that can be especially dangerous to the health of the baby and the mother is a maternal infection. If a pregnant woman develops an infection and it is not treated properly, the pathogens may be passed on to the developing baby. Newborns can also develop an infection from bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens that are present in the hospital delivery room.

Some Maternal Infections Can Cause Life-Threatening Injuries

Although minor maternal infections, such as a common cold, may not pose a major risk to the baby, other infections can be life-threatening. Infections that can be especially dangerous to an infant include:

  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTI): Most people experience a urinary tract infection at least once in their life. Typically, these infections are easily treated with antibiotics and do not cause any long-term damage. However, if a pregnant mother develops a UTI and it is not treated properly, the infection can cause premature birth, sepsis, preeclampsia, and low birth weight.

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Cook County medical malpractice attorney maternal death

When a pregnant mother goes into labor, she may be much more concerned about the health of her unborn child than her own health. The thought that she could pass away during labor or delivery may never even cross her mind. Tragically, maternal death is a major problem in the United States. Between 700 and 900 mothers pass away every year in this country from pregnancy-related complications. In fact, the United States has a higher maternal death rate than all other developed nations. Even more concerning, the rate at which pregnant mothers are dying has increased in the last few decades despite advances in prenatal care. In some cases, medical error or negligence may have caused maternal death. 

Factors That Contribute to Maternal Mortality

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a pregnancy-related death as one involving the death of a mother during pregnancy or within one year of the end of the pregnancy. In 1987, the first year for which the CDC collected data about pregnancy-related death, there were 7.2 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. By 2016, this rate had more than doubled. The top cause of pregnancy-related death in the United States is hemorrhaging or excessive blood loss. Other top causes of maternal death include:

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Illinois medical negligence attorney cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) can cause uncontrolled movement, difficulty swallowing, problems with walking and coordination, chronic pain, and a long list of other debilitating symptoms. If you are a parent of a child with cerebral palsy, you may be willing to try almost anything to give your child some relief from his or her symptoms. One medication you may be curious about is Cannabidiol, or as it is better known, CBD oil. There is still much to be discovered about this substance and how it can be safely used as a medication for children. However, there are also many parents who praise the substance’s ability to reduce their child’s CP-related symptoms.  

What Is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol is a chemical compound found in cannabis plants. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis, CBD is not psychoactive. It does not produce the feeling of being “high.” However, the substance may be able to provide some of the same pain-relieving and calming benefits that THC-containing marijuana provides. CBD oil is often taken sublingually, meaning it is placed under the tongue and allowed to enter the bloodstream through capillaries in the mouth. It may also be taken orally in capsule form or even used topically in the form of CBD-infused lotions and creams.  

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Illinois medical negligence attorney

cesarean section, or “C-section” for short, refers to a surgical procedure during which an infant is born via an incision in the woman’s abdomen. An emergency C-section typically occurs when a mother planned to give birth vaginally, but unexpected complications make a C-section the safer choice. Doctors and medical staff are trained to recognize signs of fetal or maternal distress that may indicate a C-section is needed. In some cases, a physician’s failure to perform a necessary C-section may lead to serious birth injuries and even fetal or maternal death.

Medical Complications That Can Lead to an Emergency C-Section

Just under one-third of U.S. mothers who gave birth to a child in 2017 did so via cesarean delivery. Choosing to deliver a baby naturally or undergo a C-section is a very personal decision for expectant mothers. Many women understandably have strong feelings about whether or not they want their baby delivered surgically. Unfortunately, some expectant mothers do not have the birth experience they had hoped for because unexpected medical complications arise. A cesarean section is typically considered to be a riskier delivery method than vaginal birth. However, when a mother and her baby are in danger, this may be the best way to prevent birth injuries or fetal death. Some medical issues that may require an unplanned C-section include:

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Cook County cerebral palsy birth injury attorney

If you are a parent of a child with cerebral palsy (CP), you know just how difficult it can be to watch your child suffer from CP symptoms. Children with CP caused by a birth injury may experience trouble controlling their movements, problems with walking and coordination, difficulty swallowing, pain, and much more. Each CP case is very different. Some sufferers only experience mild symptoms that have a manageable effect on their everyday lives, while other CP sufferers endure symptoms that are completely incapacitating. As a parent of a child with cerebral palsy, you may wonder if any medical procedures can help your child gain control over CP symptoms. Surgery is not right for everyone, but some CP patients find that surgical interventions such as the ones described below improve their mobility, independence, and overall quality of life. 

Procedures That Can Alleviate CP Symptoms

The most challenging symptoms for many cerebral palsy patients are muscle spasticity and stiffness. Orthopedic surgery on a CP patient’s arms, wrists, legs, or feet may help correct alignment issues, enhance motor functioning, and increase the patient’s overall control over his or her movements. Surgical procedures may also be able to address CP symptoms such as curvature of the spine (scoliosis), spinal deformities, tremors, gastrointestinal distress, hearing difficulties, joint problems, hip dislocation, and pain. As with any type of surgery, there are certain risks associated with CP surgeries, including complications with anesthesia, infections, and excessive bleeding. A doctor may recommend surgery to a CP patient if he or she believes that the benefits of the surgery will outweigh the risks. In many cases, non-invasive treatments such as physical therapy, medications, muscle injections, and orthotic devices are usually performed before surgery is considered an option.

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Cook County birth injury attorney cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a disorder that negatively affects a person’s ability to control his or her movements. An individual with CP may experience rigidity or limpness of the limbs and trunk, atypical posture, reduced balance and coordination, involuntary movements, exaggerated reflexes, and other physical problems. Cerebral palsy can be caused by a number of different factors, including birth injuries. Someone who has CP can have difficulty with walking, swallowing, sight, and more. Understandably, many parents of children with CP wish to do everything they can to find ways to alleviate their children’s symptoms so that they can live as normal a life as possible. One treatment option that many parents of children with CP are exploring is Botox injections.

How Does Botox Help?

You have probably heard about Botox injections being used cosmetically to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. However, the drug has many other uses as well. Botox is the brand name of a “botulinum toxin A,” which is a substance created by bacteria. The substance is a potent neurotoxin; however, when small amounts are injected locally, it can be used for medical or cosmetic purposes. Botox has the effect of weakening or paralyzing muscles by blocking nerves from firing. This may help to relax muscles and therefore decrease pain in some CP patients.

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Chicago birth injury attorney pitocin cytotec

The medical advances made in the last 100 years have dramatically reduced the number of birth injuries and stillborn births in the United States. Drugs administered during pregnancy, labor, and delivery can help reduce maternal pain, avoid complications, and prevent injuries to the newborn child. Unfortunately, if there is a medication error, the consequences can be devastating. Medication mistakes can cause lifelong complications or even death to both mothers and infants. If you or a loved one were the victim of a medication error during pregnancy or birth, you will want to understand the reasons these errors occurred and the steps you should take.

Improper Drug Administration or Dosing

Some of the most common medication mistakes that lead to infant and maternal injuries involve the drugs Cytotec and Pitocin. Cytotec, or the generic version of this medication, misoprostol, is intended to treat stomach ulcers. However, it is sometimes used “off-label” to induce labor. While this medication can be very beneficial in some circumstances, if used incorrectly, it can cause debilitating injuries, including but not limited to:

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Cook County maternal birth injury attorney

Many expectant mothers wait for their delivery date with anticipation, excitement, and trepidation. While everyone hopes for a smooth delivery, unfortunately, this does not always happen. A variety of complications during the birthing process can result in serious injuries or death to the mother. While some maternal injuries are unavoidable, there are some cases in which they could have been prevented. Patients who have suffered injuries during birth and their family members will likely want to determine who may have been responsible for these types of injuries. 

Common Injuries to a Mother During Labor and Delivery

There are many different things that can go wrong during the birth of a child. Doctors, nurses, or other medical staff must carefully monitor the mother and the infant for signs that could indicate a health concern. If a complication arises, staff must be ready to take swift action to fix it. Common maternal injuries include but are not limited to:

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Chicago premature birth injury attorney

The typical gestation period for a baby is approximately 40 weeks. However, various problems during pregnancy can cause an infant to be delivered too soon. Premature babies face numerous serious health concerns including brain injuries, patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), respiratory problems, vision and hearing loss, and developmental delays. There are almost countless reasons that a baby may be delivered prematurely. In some cases, preterm birth is a result of medical malpractice. If a doctor’s negligence caused or contributed to a baby being born too soon, the doctor or the medical facility may be legally responsible for a birth injury and the subsequent harm it causes.

Understanding the Medical Standard of Care

The majority of medical malpractice claims are based on a medical professional’s negligence. A doctor, nurse, or other medical professional is considered negligent when his or her failure to meet the “medical standard of care” led to a patient’s injury or death. The medical standard of care refers to the quality of treatment that a reasonably skilled professional of similar education and training would have provided in similar situations. A doctor could be liable for injuries related to premature birth if he or she failed to diagnose issues that could cause premature labor, failed to order the correct treatment for a mother at risk of premature labor, ordered the wrong type of medication, or made other mistakes that endangered the life of the infant or the mother.

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Chicago medical negligence attorney shoulder dystocia

Every expectant parent hopes that the birth of their child goes as smoothly as possible. Unfortunately, some births involve unexpected complications that put the baby at risk of serious injury or death. Shoulder dystocia, a condition that occurs when an infant’s shoulders become lodged in the mother’s pelvic area during birth, can be especially dangerous. Doctors and nurses must take swift action to prevent shoulder dystocia from developing into a life-threatening situation. If the medical staff does not properly prevent or respond to shoulder dystocia, the medical facility may be liable for any injuries that result.

Why Does Shoulder Dystocia Occur During Birth?

Shoulder dystocia occurs when a child’s head leaves the birth canal but his or her shoulders become stuck. The condition can result in a grave situation that must be dealt with quickly and precisely. There is no way to predict shoulder dystocia with 100 percent certainty, but there are certain factors that can make an infant more likely to suffer from this serious complication, including:

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