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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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Chicago birth injury attorney infections

For many expectant mothers, the fear of something going wrong during pregnancy or delivery can be daunting. Every expectant parent hopes that the child’s birth will go smoothly, and no issues will arise. Sadly, many births do involve dangerous complications that put both the mother's and the infant’s lives in danger. What is even more tragic is that some of these problems may have been prevented if medical staff took the appropriate steps to recognize and address the signs of distress. Infections are especially concerning complications that can develop during pregnancy and birth, and they can lead to serious injury or even death for the mother and/or the child.

Infections Passed from Expectant Mothers to Infants

When bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites spread through a person’s body, the result is an infection. Maternal infections can be especially problematic, because the infection may spread to the womb and infect the fetus. The bacterial infection chorioamnionitis can cause the fetal membranes to become dangerously inflamed. Toxoplasmosis, a condition caused by parasites that often live in cat feces, can also be passed from the mother to the fetus during pregnancy. Toxoplasmosis can cause life-altering consequences for an infant, including brain damage and blindness. Sexually transmitted infections such as human papillomavirus (HPV), herpes, syphilis, and gonorrhea can also put infants at risk. Some of the most common infections that infants develop during or shortly after birth include pneumonia, cytomegalovirus (CMV), and congenital rubella. Neonatal infections can cause the child to suffer from intellectual disabilities, congestive heart failure, disfigurement, hearing loss, and even stillbirth.

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Illinois birth injury attorney cerebral palsy

One of the biggest concerns for many children with cerebral palsy due to a birth injury is malnutrition. For decades, struggles with diminished growth and inadequate nutrition were considered an unavoidable part of living with severe cerebral palsy. Now, thanks to advances in medical technology, CP sufferers have more options for care than ever. One option for children who struggle with oral motor dysfunction or dysphagia is gastrostomy feeding or using a “G-tube.” If you are a parent of a child with CP, you may be wondering what is involved in a G-tube placement and whether this option is right for your child. 

How Does a G-Tube Work?

A gastrostomy is a feeding tube that is inserted through a small hole in a person’s abdomen for the purposes of hydration, nutrition, and medication administration. Most G-tubes involve a pump or gravity drip that allows formula or medication to be introduced directly into the stomach. Parents may also use a syringe to administer medication or formula through the feeding tube. Many parents of children with CP are wary of feeding tubes, because the thought of a tube being placed through their child’s abdominal wall is an understandably frightening prospect. While a gastrostomy is not appropriate for every case, many parents of children with severe CP find that a G-tube helps their child receive the nutrition they need.

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Cook County birth injury attorney cerebral palsy

If you have a child with cerebral palsy, you already know the typical symptoms. Cerebral palsy can cause problems with movement, posture, walking, breathing, sensory processing, and swallowing, as well as serious pain, seizures, and a myriad of other issues. One symptom that has caused many restless nights for children with cerebral palsy and their parents is difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Research shows that up to 46 percent of children with CP have sleep problems that interfere with their quality of life. Experts suggest that parents of children with cerebral palsy try the following tips to help their children get the adequate rest they need:

Reduce Noise and Other Sensory Input Before Bed

Infants are born with a heightened reaction to sudden noises called the Moro reflex or “startle reflex.” Typically, this reflex lessens as the child ages, but children with cerebral palsy often retain the strong response to noise long after infancy. This can make children especially reactive to abrupt or loud noises. Even something as simple as a radio playing in another room may be enough to keep a child with CP tossing and turning. One of the best ways to help your child sleep may be to ensure that the child’s home is a quiet, non-stimulating environment.

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Cook County birth injury attorney cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy refers to a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. In many cases, cerebral palsy (CP) is caused by damage to the brain sustained during a birth injury. Symptoms of CP include impaired movement, involuntary movements, unsteady walking, limpness or rigidity of limbs, and atypical posture. The severity of CP differs depending on the person. Some individuals might need braces to help them walk, while others may be confined to a wheelchair and require lifelong care

One of the scariest symptoms for parents of children with CP is dysphagia, or trouble swallowing. Also called oral-motor dysfunction, up to 90 percent of CP sufferers experience dysphagia. If you have concerns about your child’s ability to safely eat and drink, your doctor may suggest a “swallow study.” Read on to learn more about how this important test may help your child with cerebral palsy.

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