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Illinois Maternal Birth Injury Lawyers

The rate of maternal birth injuries in the United States is on the rise. This is a troubling trend, especially since the rate of maternal injuries and deaths in the U.S. was already much higher than in many other countries. For pregnant mothers and families who have been affected by these issues, it is important to understand what these injuries are, how they can be prevented, and what treatments are available.

Statistics About Maternal Injuries and Deaths

A recent report by the National Center for Health Statistics showed that in 2021, there were 1,205 deaths of pregnant women in the United States. This represented a large increase from 2020, which saw 861 deaths. However, this was also an increase from 754 deaths in 2019, which was around the average number of annual maternal deaths over the past few decades.


Chicago Birth Injury Lawyers for Sepsis

There are numerous health issues that can affect mothers and children during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. When birth injuries occur, they can have serious effects, and if the proper treatment is not provided as quickly as possible, they may result in wrongful death. Sepsis, a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that can occur during or after childbirth, is caused by an infection in the bloodstream, and it can be deadly if not properly treated. In fact, infections and sepsis are the second leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths, accounting for nearly 14 percent of all deaths. It is important for families to understand how sepsis occurs so that they can be informed and take the necessary steps to protect the life and health of a mother and her baby. 

What Is Sepsis?

Sepsis occurs when an infection enters the bloodstream and triggers an immune system response. This response causes inflammation throughout the body, and it can lead to a wide range of dangerous symptoms, such as fever, chills, rapid breathing and heart rate, confusion, fatigue, and low blood pressure. If left untreated, sepsis can lead to organ failure or death.


Illinois Birth Injury Lawyer for Meconium Aspiration

There are a variety of complications that can occur during pregnancy and childbirth. During labor and delivery, doctors and nurses must closely monitor a mother and quickly address any issues that could threaten the health of her or her child. Failure to diagnose and respond to potential risks could lead to injuries with long-term effects. Meconium aspiration is one issue that may occur during prolonged labor or traumatic delivery, and if not treated correctly, it could have permanent effects on a child's health, including the possibility that the child will develop cerebral palsy.

What Is Meconium Aspiration?

Meconium aspiration occurs when a baby inhales meconium, a black, sticky substance that is present in the intestines of all newborns. Meconium is composed of amniotic fluid, skin cells, and other fluids or particles that the baby ingests while in the womb. Meconium may pass out of the child's body while they are still in the womb and become mixed in with the amniotic fluid. The child may then inhale the meconium during labor and delivery. In many cases, meconium aspiration is not harmful and will not cause any long-term problems. However, in some cases, meconium aspiration can lead to cerebral palsy.


Cook County birth injury lawyer for cerebral palsyAlthough the process of carrying a pregnancy to term and delivering an infant is hardly unique, it is fraught with opportunities for complications and injuries to both the child and the mother. One of the most common outcomes of exposure to dangerous conditions during pregnancy and childbirth is cerebral palsy, a developmental disorder that varies in severity and can make it difficult for a child to develop normatively both physically and neurologically. 

Many cases of cerebral palsy are congenital, but there are tragic cases that are the result of medical malpractice on the part of neonatal and delivery doctors, nurses, and anesthesiologists. Here are some of the most common avoidable causes of cerebral palsy during pregnancy and childbirth:

Untreated Infection and Fever

When a pregnant mother develops an infection, her body produces cytokines to fight the infection. Unfortunately, these can cause inflammation to the baby as well as the mother, leading to brain damage in the baby. A high fever can cause a similar reaction, which is why diagnosing and treating infections and fevers quickly and effectively is so important during pregnancy. 


Chicago epidural injury attorneyChildbirth is notoriously one of the most painful experiences a human body can endure. For many women, an epidural - a very common procedure that relieves pain during labor and childbirth - has made a major difference in the quality of the childbirth experience. However, like all medical procedures, epidurals are not without risks, especially when they are performed by undertrained, negligent, or careless anesthesiologists or nurse anesthetists. If you recently had a baby, and the epidural you were given caused serious nerve damage, you may be wondering what legal options are open to you. 

Epidural Nerve Damage and Lawsuits 

Also known as an epidural block, epidural anesthesia, or neuraxial anesthesia, an epidural involves injecting an anesthetic into the area in a patient’s back between the spinal nerves. Epidurals typically result in the complete lack of certain feelings, including pain, from the desired area of the body.  

Anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists are carefully trained in administering epidurals during childbirth, but when an epidural is misplaced because the person giving the epidural is careless, mistaken, tired, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the consequences can be disastrous.


Chicago birth injury law attorneysFor most women, pregnancy and childbirth are straightforward, albeit uncomfortable, processes. After nearly 10 months in the mother’s body, an infant is born, and the family celebrates the welcoming of a new little one. For many women, however, things are complicated right from the beginning. Known as “high-risk pregnancies,” pregnancies involving certain factors require much more extensive care and monitoring to keep the mother and baby safe. If this care is not provided because an OB fails to recognize risk factors, does not make appropriate referrals, or does not provide the necessary treatment, the lives and health of both the mother and child could be at risk of birth injuries.

What Are Risk Factors for High-Risk Pregnancy? 

Excellent research is available on risk factors during pregnancy and doctors who specialize in providing healthcare to pregnant women should be constantly assessing their patients for signs that a pregnancy is, or could become, high-risk.

High risk factors include, but are not limited to: 


Chicago birth injury attorneysPregnancy is one of the most difficult things a human body can experience. In a very short period of time, a woman undergoes massive hormonal changes that can cause severe sickness, weight gain, and structural alterations to her body that do not necessarily go away once a child is born. However, most women are happy to go through these difficult changes because, at the end of the process, they get to hold their infant in their arms. 

Being robbed of this experience because inadequate medical care caused the loss of an infant during the pregnancy can change a parent’s life forever—especially if a stillbirth occurred late in pregnancy, shortly before the child was expected to be delivered. While this can happen from natural causes, medical malpractice can unfortunately cause an infant’s life to be lost while in the womb or during delivery. If you know or suspect that this happened to you, Birth Injury Law Alliance, Ltd. is here to help. We know we cannot bring back your child, but we can help you take action against the person responsible for your loss and potentially help future parents avoid such painful scenarios. 

Stillbirth and Medical Malpractice

Pregnancy is an incredibly complex process, and losing a pregnancy can happen for no less complex reasons. However, the World Health Organization and other leading medical organizations believe most stillbirths can be prevented with adequate medical care. (It is important to differentiate between miscarriage, which happens before 20 weeks gestation, and stillbirth, which occurs after 20 weeks). 


Chicago, IL birth injury lawyerMost women have at least heard their friends or even their doctors mention “pitocin” as something that might be used as part of the childbirth process. Pitocin is most commonly used to induce or speed up labor in pregnant women. While it can be beneficial in certain situations, there are potential risks associated with its use. You should always speak with your doctor about medical concerns, but today, we will discuss what Pitocin is, how it is used, and what risks may be associated with its use during childbirth.

Understanding What Pitocin Is

Pitocin is a synthetically produced form of oxytocin, a hormone naturally produced by the body during labor and delivery. When produced naturally, oxytocin helps uterine muscles contract, which begins the process of pushing the baby out into the world. During childbirth, however, some women may not produce enough natural oxytocin to efficiently bring about labor. In situations such as these, doctors may recommend using Pitocin (or oxytocin) as an assistive measure.

What Is Pitocin Used For?

Pitocin has several medical uses for pregnant women who are having difficulty with their labor or delivery process. In some cases, it can help start or speed up a stalled labor if the mother’s body is not producing enough natural oxytocin. This is known as induction of labor. If the mother has had previous C-sections or has issues with high-blood pressure, Pitocin can be helpful as well. Depending on the circumstances, an induced labor can even be scheduled ahead of time with the intent of using Pitocin to get things moving.


Chicago birth injury lawyerCerebral palsy (CP) is a developmental disorder that affects the nervous system and can lead to movement issues, and it is often caused by birth injuries. It is important to understand what could have happened during the birthing process that could lead to a diagnosis of cerebral palsy. In addition, it is important to know how CP is diagnosed, as well as to learn a little about the needs of children with cerebral palsy.

What Could Happen at Birth That Leads to The Development of Cerebral Palsy?

A birth injury can occur when the baby does not receive enough oxygen during delivery. This lack of oxygen can cause brain damage which can then result in cerebral palsy. Other causes of cerebral palsy include infection in the mother during pregnancy or labor, preterm delivery, and trauma during delivery—such as if forceps were used incorrectly or an overly large baby was delivered without a Cesarean section. Brain damage resulting from these events can cause permanent impairment of motor skills and function leading to cerebral palsy.

How Is CP Diagnosed?

It may take months—or even years—for a child to be diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Because symptoms can be subtle and vary significantly from person to person, diagnosing CP requires careful medical observation and testing over time. These tests may include but are not limited to:


Chicago birth injuries lawyerAlso known as “fifth disease” or “slapped cheek syndrome,” parvovirus B19 is a virus that mainly affects children but can sometimes affect adults as well. It is commonly spread through contact with saliva or other bodily fluids like mucus or blood. The virus usually causes mild symptoms such as fever, rash, and joint pain in infected individuals. However, if a woman contracts the virus during pregnancy it can lead to serious complications for both her and her unborn child. In today’s blog post, we will discuss some of the risks associated with parvovirus B19 for pregnant mothers.

Risks for Pregnant Mothers

If a pregnant woman contracts parvovirus B19, there are several potential risks she may face including miscarriage, preterm labor, stillbirth, low birth weight, and anemia. Babies born to mothers who have been infected with the virus may suffer from anemia or chronic arthritis due to their weakened immune systems caused by the virus. In some cases, parvovirus B19 can even cause congenital heart defects in newborns, which can be life-threatening if left untreated. In addition to these physical effects of the virus on mother and baby, there are also psychological implications such as anxiety or depression in expecting mothers due to the fear of harm coming to their unborn child.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The best way to diagnose parvovirus B19 in pregnant women is through blood tests that measure antibodies against the virus or detect its genetic material directly in fetal blood samples taken during amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS). There is currently no cure for the virus, but there are treatments available that can help reduce symptoms and decrease the risk of complications for both mother and baby. These include iron supplements for anemic babies and antiviral medications for expecting mothers with severe symptoms from infection. Regular prenatal care is also essential for monitoring any potential changes in fetal health due to infection with parvovirus B19 throughout pregnancy so that any necessary interventions may be made promptly if needed. 


Chicago birth injury attorneyChildbirth is usually a beautiful, natural process that should be celebrated. But sometimes, complications arise during labor and delivery, and an emergency cesarean section (C-section) becomes necessary to ensure the safety of both mother and baby. With this in mind, we will look at and discuss some of the most common scenarios in which ordering a C-section becomes a medical necessity, as well as the dangers involved with waiting too long to order one.

When Is a C-Section Necessary?

A C-section can become medically necessary in certain situations where labor or delivery may pose a risk to either mother or baby. For example, if a baby’s umbilical cord is wrapped around its neck or body or if the baby is showing signs of distress such as decreased heart rate, an emergency C-section might be indicated. Other situations in which ordering a C-section could be medically necessary include placenta previa (where the placenta covers all or part of the cervix) and placental abruption (where the placenta separates from the uterus before delivery). Moreover, if labor has not progressed after several hours or if there are other signs of fetal distress, then a C-section may be needed for safe delivery.

It is the responsibility of the attending obstetrician to ensure that the childbirth process is being carefully monitored so that an emergency C-section can be ordered if needed. Failure to do so could leave the medical staff liable for any injuries sustained by the mother or baby as a result.


Chicago birth injury attorneysAntibiotics, pain medication, blood pressure medication, labor-inducing medications, and other types of medications help reduce complications and pain during pregnancy and birth. However, when medication is used incorrectly, it can cause substantial harm to a pregnant woman or her baby.

Whether caused by a clerical error, miscommunication, dosage miscalculation, or carelessness, medication errors can have catastrophic effects. In some cases, babies are left with life-changing birth injuries or maternal injuries.

Errors in the Prescription and Administration of Medication During Pregnancy and Birth

Doctors must use extra caution when prescribing medications to pregnant women. Certain medications can be harmful to a developing baby. For example, certain acne medications can cause heart and brain deformities or even fetal death. If a doctor prescribes a medication that is known to be dangerous for pregnant women, the doctor may be liable for any birth injuries or other harm that results from the medication.


Chicago birth injury attorneyGrowing up is hard enough. Growing up with a serious medical condition like cerebral palsy is even harder. The causes of cerebral palsy are varied and complex. However, some children suffer cerebral palsy because of complications during birth that cause brain damage. Some of these complications are unavoidable, while others are the result of a medical provider’s negligence.

Cerebral palsy manifests in many different ways, including uncontrollable movements, physical limitations, and learning difficulties. For many children with cerebral palsy, having a service animal or emotional support animal can be invaluable in helping them cope with the challenges that they face.

Service Animals for Children With Cerebral Palsy

Children with cerebral palsy often have difficulty with performing everyday tasks. Service animals are specially trained to help people with physical and cognitive impairments in their everyday lives. They can provide assistance such as retrieving objects, opening doors, retrieving objects, and providing emotional support. Some service animals are even trained to recognize and respond to medical events like seizures.


Chicago maternal death attorneyChildbirth is substantially less dangerous than it was in the past. Unfortunately, however, maternal injury and death during childbirth does still occur in rare cases. If your wife passed away during the labor or delivery process, you are probably feeling grief-stricken, confused, and overwhelmed. You may not know what your legal options are in a situation like this.

Each situation is different. However, some maternal deaths are directly caused by medical negligence immediately before, during, or after birth. If your child’s mother died as a result of poor medical care, you may be able to seek justice on her behalf through a wrongful death claim.

Causes of Maternal Death During Birth

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over 80 percent of pregnancy-related deaths are preventable. Medical mistakes and substandard medical care during pregnancy or birth that can cause fatal medical complications include:


Chicago birth injury lawyerEach child with cerebral palsy is unique. The condition manifests in countless ways and levels of severity. Some children experience minor impairment and can move their bodies without assistance. Others experience moderate symptoms such as irregular walking gait, twisted posture, involuntary movements, and speech difficulties. Children with severe cerebral palsy may be unable to control their limbs or walk at all. They may suffer from intellectual disabilities, vision and hearing loss, and seizures.

The treatment a child with cerebral palsy receives will depend on his or her unique symptoms and difficulties. However, orthotic devices can be beneficial in many situations, as they help to maintain or improve posture, control movement, reduce pain, and facilitate function. There are many different types of orthotic devices, including ankle foot orthosis, knee orthoses, hip abduction orthoses, thoraco-lumbo-sacral orthosis, and more.

Helping Children With Cerebral Palsy Participate in Life

Parents of children with cerebral palsy often long for their children to be able to enjoy childhood in the same way as their peers. Orthotic devices can help to make this happen, as they can encourage a child's engagement in life by allowing them to move around more easily, participate in physical activities and social events without limitations, and even gain independence. Orthotic devices may not eliminate all of a child's symptoms, but they may help reduce symptoms enough to give the child some relief.


Chicago birth injury lawyerEvery mother hopes for a quick, problem-free birth. Unfortunately, sometimes the labor process can be wrought with complications and difficulties. Prolonged labor or "failure to progress" is any labor that lasts more than 20 hours for a first-time mother or 14 hours in subsequent births. Without medical intervention, prolonged labor puts both mother and baby at risk of birth injuries.

Why is Prolonged Labor So Dangerous?

Many different problems can cause prolonged labor. The baby may be too large to fit through the mother's birth canal or in the wrong position. Weak contractions and other issues can also lead to prolonged labor. Whatever the reason, prolonged labor can be very dangerous. Oxygen deprivation to the fetus is one of the biggest risks associated with prolonged labor. If the baby is stuck in the birth canal for too long, his or her oxygen levels will drop. If the oxygen is cut off long enough, the baby may suffer brain damage and permanent disability.

How Is Prolonged Labor Treated?

The best way to treat prolonged labor is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Regular prenatal care can help ensure that a mother-to-be is healthy and may even pick up on any potential issues that could lead to difficulties during delivery. If labor does last too long, the doctor will typically order tests to evaluate the baby's wellbeing. To ensure the baby continues to get enough oxygen, doctors may use a vacuum extractor or forceps to help deliver the baby quickly. In some cases, a C-section may even be necessary to minimize the risk of birth injury. About one-third of all Cesarean sections are conducted because labor is not progressing normally. C-sections, vacuum extraction, and other methods carry risks, so doctors must weigh the risks and choose the course of action that has the lowest potential for injury.


Chicago birth injury lawyerWhen a child is diagnosed with a life-changing condition like cerebral palsy, the parents' first question is usually, "Why?" While there are many possible causes of cerebral palsy, parents often look to the mother's pregnancy, labor, and delivery for an explanation. Did a mistake during the birth process cause the child's condition? If forceps, vacuum extraction, or other tools were used during the delivery, did the use or misuse of these tools injure the baby?

Forceps Delivery and Brain Damage

Can the use of forceps during delivery cause cerebral palsy? While the jury is still out on this question, there is some evidence to suggest that forceps may play a role in certain cases. Forceps are sometimes used during a baby's birth if labor is not progressing normally. They are also sometimes used if the baby's head is too large to fit through the mother's pelvis, if the baby is in a breech position (bottom first), or if the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby's neck. The instrument guides the baby through the birth canal, ideally, allowing the baby to be born without complication.

Many successful births involve the use of forceps. Unfortunately, however, the misuse of forceps can cause skull fractures and brain damage. In some cases, this damage may lead to cerebral palsy. If you believe that your child's cerebral palsy was caused by forceps delivery, it is important to speak with an experienced birth injury lawyer to discuss your legal options. Proving the relationship between the use of forceps and your baby's medical condition will be complex and will require substantial evidence.


Chicago birth injury lawyersExpectant mothers usually prioritize their health and safety as much as possible. They recognize that any illness or injury can hurt their growing baby. Unfortunately, even the most prudent mother may contract an infection during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. Because infections can be so dangerous for pregnant women and newborns, doctors must be vigilant for signs of infection. Failure to promptly diagnose and treat infections can severely harm the baby or the mother.

Undiagnosed Infections in Pregnant Women

Infections are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in pregnant women. According to the CDC, infections are responsible for 12.5 percent of maternal deaths in the United States. The most common types of infection during pregnancy are urinary tract infections, followed by respiratory infections like pneumonia. Other common infections include sexually transmitted infections such as herpes and gastrointestinal infections.

Doctors must be careful to reduce the chances of a pregnant woman contracting an infection. Exam rooms should be clean and sterile, and all medical personnel should wash their hands before coming into contact with the expectant mother. In some cases, a woman may be placed on antibiotics as a preventative measure if she is at risk of developing an infection.


Chicago birth injury lawyerOne of the most characteristic symptoms of cerebral palsy is difficulty with movement. Some sufferers of cerebral palsy have mild muscle rigidity or spastic movements while others experience debilitating uncontrolled movements, muscle spasms, and loss of control.

Although there is no cure for cerebral palsy, medical and technological advances provide both children and parents with hope. One option many parents of children with cerebral palsy explore is electrical stimulation therapy.

What is Electrical Stimulation Therapy?

Electrical stimulation therapy or functional electrical stimulation use electrical currents to simulate nerves in people with cerebral palsy, stroke, or other medical conditions. Some evidence suggests that electoral muscle stimulation may help children with cerebral palsy gain greater control over their muscles – especially when combined with physical therapy. Nerve stimulation may help children walk and play, reduce their muscle rigidity and spasticity, and increase motor function.


Chicago birth injury lawyerSkull fractures during birth are more common than many people realize. While many skull fractures sustained at birth are minor and will heal on their own without any long-term effects, some can be much more serious. In some cases, a baby can sustain a skull fracture that leads to serious health complications, including brain damage. If your baby sustained a skull fracture during birth and suffered health complications as a result, you may be wondering if you can sue the doctor for medical malpractice.

When Is an Infant Skull Fracture Considered Medical Malpractice?

As with any potential medical malpractice case, there are a few key elements that must be present in order for you to have a valid claim. First, it must be proven that the doctor breached the standard of care that is expected of medical professionals. Second, it must be shown that this breach of care directly led to your baby’s skull fracture. Finally, you must be able to prove that your baby suffered health complications as a result of the skull fracture.

If all of these elements are present in your case, you may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor who delivered your baby. However, it is important to note that these cases can be complex and difficult to win. If you are considering taking legal action, it is important to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can help you understand your legal options and build a strong case.

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