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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Chicago cerebral palsy birth injury lawyerIf you are the parent of a child with cerebral palsy, you have probably spent many hours reading books, browsing the internet, and talking to your child's doctors about cerebral palsy treatment options. Cerebral palsy can cause a wide range of symptoms, from spastic movements and muscle rigidity to intellectual disability. According to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation, about a quarter of children with CP also suffer from behavioral and emotional problems such as anxiety and difficulty relating to their peers. 

Traditional CP treatments include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, medications, orthodontic devices, and surgery. While these treatments can be very effective, many parents are starting to look into alternative treatment options as well. 

Alternative Treatments for Children with Cerebral Palsy 

Parents of children with cerebral palsy often take a multifaceted approach to treatment. They pursue "out of the box" treatment options in addition to traditional treatment options. If your child has cerebral palsy, consider asking your child's doctor about:

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Chicago cerebral palsy attorneyWhen a baby is born, the timing is crucial. Infants must transition from receiving oxygen and nutrients through the umbilical cord to breathing on their own and receiving oxygen through their lungs. If this transition is not smooth, it can result in a lack of oxygen to the brain, which is called hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, or HIE. When HIE occurs, it can cause serious injury to the brain. In some cases, HIE can result in a lifelong condition called cerebral palsy.

If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy after suffering from HIE at birth, you may be able to file a birth injury claim against the doctor or hospital responsible for your child's care. An experienced birth injury attorney can help you understand your legal options and take the next steps.

What is Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy?

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a type of brain injury that occurs when an infant's brain doesn't receive enough oxygen. HIE may be caused by  a number of factors, including:

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Chicago birth injury lawyerCerebral palsy affects an individual’s ability to control his or her muscles, but the condition varies significantly with regard to severity. Some children with cerebral palsy are only mildly affected by the condition. They can play, walk, or even participate in sports. Others are nearly immobilized by the condition.

Fortunately, innovations in science, medicine, and engineering offer hope to cerebral palsy sufferers and their parents. Just recently, UC Riverside engineers received a $1.5 million grant to develop clothing that will increase mobility for children with cerebral palsy. The so-called “robot clothing” will, ideally, enable children with cerebral palsy to better control limb movement, perform physical activities like eating and grooming, and be more independent.

Innovative Robotic Clothing Will Incorporate Mechanical and Digital Technology

Anyone who has watched children interact with the world knows the critical role physical movement plays in the lives of children. Kids love to touch and explore their surroundings. They play with toys and chase each other on the playground. Children with moderate to severe cerebral palsy are limited in their physical abilities. Many struggle to crawl, walk, feed themselves, write, or hold objects. They are burdened by spasms and chaotic movements. Scientists have developed many different strategies and technologies to aid cerebral palsy sufferers, including many computer-based technologies that help children with CP learn, grow, and communicate with others.

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Chicago birth injury lawyerWhen a woman dies during pregnancy, childbirth, or in the 42 days following childbirth or the end of a pregnancy, it is considered a maternal mortality. Despite having access to some of the best healthcare in the world, American women suffer from maternal mortality at an alarmingly high rate compared to women in other wealthy, developed nations. Black American women are at a particularly high risk of falling victim to maternal mortality. Tragically, studies suggest that most of these deaths are due to preventable causes and pregnancy complications. 

When a woman dies during pregnancy or childbirth, her family is left to deal with overwhelming grief, suffering, and guilt. If your wife, daughter, or mother died as a consequence of poor medical care, you may be eligible to pursue compensation on her behalf. To learn more about ways that women commonly suffer from maternal mortality, read on. 

Leading Causes of Maternal Mortality

One of the unique reasons that American women die during pregnancy or childbirth is that the high cost of the American healthcare system prevents many women from seeking the comprehensive health care they need. This can cause the diagnosis of serious health conditions, such as pre-eclampsia, to be delayed or missed altogether. Other common causes of maternal mortality in the U.S. include: 

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Chicago cerebral palsy birth injury lawyerOne of the most common symptoms of cerebral palsy is difficulty controlling muscles throughout the body. This can result in muscle spasticity, difficulty with mobility, and challenges with speaking, eating, and facial expressions. Many different professionals help children with cerebral palsy overcome their physical challenges and one of the most helpful of these professionals can be a speech therapist. 

How Does Cerebral Palsy Impact Speech and Facial Movement? 

Verbal communication delays are common in children with cerebral palsy - up to 75 percent, by some estimates. Limited control over face, tongue, and neck muscles can make it difficult for children with cerebral palsy to clearly express their feelings verbally. Fortunately, speech therapy proves effective for many, if not most, of these children and allows them to enjoy a higher quality of life. 

Speech therapy can treat a variety of communication issues, including: 

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Chicago cerebral palsy birth injury lawyerAll healthy humans have an important fluid called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that surrounds the brain and spinal cords, protecting the crucial central nervous system. CSF helps prevent injury to these fragile parts of our body, cushioning them when they are injured by falls or impact injuries. CSF also plays an important role in transporting nutrients to the brain and taking away waste products. 

Certain kinds of brain damage can cause pseudocysts, or fluid-filled sacs, to present in the brain’s white matter and neocortex after serious brain injuries that cause softening or loss of brain tissue. This condition is known as cystic or multicystic encephalomalacia. Instead of normal brain tissue, CSF fills these sacs, resulting in long-term brain damage, which, among other symptoms, commonly manifests as cerebral palsy. When this happens as a result of trauma to the mother or child during childbirth and is caused by a negligent healthcare provider, the parents of the child may be able to recover compensation. 

Symptoms of Cystic and Multicystic Encephalomalacia

Cystic and multicystic encephalomalacia are often associated with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, which is caused by traumatic events during labor that cut off an infant’s access to oxygen for long enough to cause brain damage. During labor, signs that encephalopathy may have occurred include: 

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Chicago maternal infection lawyerBefore modern medicine, roughly a third of women died during pregnancy or childbirth. Current medical standards of care make this a number almost impossible to fathom; the vast majority of present-day childbirths go well, even when the mother and infant are facing serious complications. But when doctors, nurses, midwives, or hospitals are ill-prepared to respond to complex situations, mothers can still suffer serious injuries during and after childbirth. 

One of the most common causes of postpartum injuries still associated with childbirth and its aftermath are maternal infections; while these are not always avoidable, they are often a consequence of poor medical treatment during childbirth, especially during complicated deliveries and recoveries. If left undetected or improperly treated, these infections can lead to serious injuries, including maternal death. To learn more about common causes of postpartum maternal infections, read on and then contact an Illinois birth injuries lawyer. 

Common Postpartum Infection Causes

Whether a mother delivers vaginally or via C-section, tears and open sores are common features of a post-pregnancy body. If nothing else, the site in the uterus from which the placenta detaches is a potential area of infection until it heals. Other causes of infection include: 

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Chicago meconium aspiration lawyerBefore an infant is born, his bodily waste is sent through the umbilical cord and placenta to be processed and eliminated by the mother’s body. Once a child is born, however, his digestive tract begins functioning and the first poop a child produces is a thick tar-like substance called meconium. For first-time parents who are not expecting meconium, this can be alarming, but it is perfectly normal. 

Rarely, an infant will begin pooping during labor. Meconium can be passed while a baby is still in the uterus, causing it to move around in the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby. Most of the time when this happens, the baby does not breathe in any meconium or amniotic fluid. But when meconium is inhaled, it can cause serious problems and requires urgent treatment from trained Illinois medical healthcare professionals. 

Symptoms of Meconium Aspiration

Babies are at risk of many birth-related injuries. Symptoms of meconium aspiration can be difficult to separate from other, unrelated causes. Doctors must be alert and prepared to diagnose and respond to meconium aspiration quickly and effectively. Symptoms of meconium aspiration include a baby who: 

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Chicago birth injury attorneyThe unfortunate reality for many mothers giving birth vaginally is that tearing injuries can easily occur. The skin of the vagina is biologically prepared to thin and stretch during delivery, but certain situations can make perineal tearing unavoidable. And while perineal tears are usually fairly easy to repair, poor medical treatment can make a mother’s recovery excruciatingly painful, sometimes requiring expensive further treatment and causing irreparable harm. 

If your doctor committed a mistake that cause unnecessary perineal tearing, or if they improperly tried to repair perineal tearing, you may be able to take action. 

What Kind of Mistakes Cause Unnecessary Perineal Tearing? 

Mild to severe perineal tearing is common during delivery. Unfortunately, certain situations can worsen perineal tearing. These include: 

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Chicago abortion injury attorneyAbortion has always had a painful stigma for the women who seek it, even when their own lives are at risk. Due to recent political events, this threat may have increased, making it hard for women to talk about having an abortion and to seek the help and emotional support they need. When an abortion goes wrong and a woman is injured, this lack of support can leave a woman feeling like she has nowhere to turn for help. 

Tragically, this lead leads to a lack of resources about what a woman can do after a injury resulting from a terminated pregnancy. Whether the pregnancy was terminated for medical or elective reasons does not matter; a doctor still has the same duty to provide a patient with the standard of medical care. Abortion clinics and doctors’ offices that provide abortions are subject to the same malpractice laws that any other doctor is subject to. If you were injured during an abortion, you are not alone. You may be able to take legal action to recover compensation for your suffering. 

What is Medical Malpractice? 

While the vast majority of doctors are responsible practitioners who work with great care, doctors are still just people who can struggle with addiction, fatigue, sloppy worksmanship, and more. When a doctor or other medical professional causes a patient harm through the doctor’s laziness, mistaken choices, or other incompetent actions, that can constitute medical malpractice. 

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Chicago birth injury lawyersIllinois parents-to-be must navigate a large amount of complex information as they prepare to welcome their child into the world. When tragedy strikes and pregnancy ends in miscarriage, parents often feel a challenging combination of grief, confusion, and anger. There may be many questions - Why did this happen? Is anyone responsible? Sadly, parents who try to preempt unhealthy pregnancies by testing for genetic anomalies may risk inadvertently ending the pregnancy when the test itself causes a miscarriage. 

New Research from Yale Medicine tries to help grieving parents by looking for answers to difficult questions about miscarriages. If you have suffered from a miscarriage and are wondering whether your healthcare provider’s negligence caused or contributed to the miscarriage, call an Illinois birth injuries attorney. 

Miscarriage Testing

One test currently being researched offers to tell parents whether they are experiencing a miscarriage the same day concerning symptoms appear. While the test is still in development, it offers promising insights into whether a miscarriage is happening and why some women suffer from multiple miscarriages. Currently, testing to determine why a miscarriage happened - and even whether a miscarriage is happening - can take weeks, leaving parents in limbo. This test will give women a same-day answer as to whether a miscarriage is happening by detecting levels of alpha-fetoprotein, or AFP. AFP only comes from fetal blood and, if present in the test, indicates pregnancy loss is occurring. 

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Chicago birth injury lawyerDoctors, nurses, midwives, and other childbirth medical specialists have an array of tools at their disposal to aid in ensuring babies are born safely. While the vast majority of deliveries do go smoothly, sometimes urgent intervention is needed. Delivering mothers have no choice but to put their faith in their attending doctor’s skill and knowledge. 

Tragically, not all doctors are as educated or dedicated to their patients’ well-being as they should be. And even when a mistake is just that - an accident - the results can be devastating. One kind of tool that has the potential to cause great harm to both mother and child during delivery is forceps. Forceps look like a large pair of tongs that are meant to fit around a child’s head to help guide them out of the birth canal. While forceps save lives, when used incorrectly, they can cause several types of maternal injuries

How Can Forceps Hurt a Mother During Delivery? 

While forceps injuries are generally well understood in children, mothers can also be badly injured as well.  Injuries that a mother may sustain include, but are not limited to: 

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Chicago birth injury attorneyThe process of pregnancy and birth ends well for most children, but it also presents a long period of complicated genetic development during which a child’s body and brain are fragile and susceptible to injuries. Many of these injuries can happen because of recklessness or carelessness on the part of childbirth healthcare providers, and a surprising number of injuries appear to be linked to a higher risk of developing autism. 

While there are many treatments and therapies for autism, a child with autism may need medical, social, and educational support for the rest of their life. If your child suffered from a birth injury and now has autism, you may want to see whether you can take action against the person or organization responsible. 

Which Birth Injuries May Cause or Contribute to Autism? 

Several birth injuries are correlated with much higher rates of autism in young children, although it is difficult to establish a direct link between one particular occurrence and the later manifestation of autism. However, birth injuries that are frequently associated with autism later on include: 

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Chicago birth injury attorneysOne of the most incredible aspects of the miracle of new human life is the fact that, for the vast majority of pregnancies, nothing goes wrong at all. Out of the millions of cells that must divide and developmental processes that must go perfectly, for most families, there are no complications. But when unusual circumstances present themselves, a team of educated, fast-thinking doctors can make the difference between barely averted disaster and tragedy. Some of the things that go wrong are caused by genetic or physical conditions; others are caused by medical caregiver incompetence; and still others, like fetal macrosomia, are a combination of the two. Read on to learn about this condition and how it can appear in Illinois birth injuries

Understanding Fetal Macrosomia

Infants with fetal macrosomia are more commonly known simply as “big babies.” An infant whose weight is in the top 10 percent of all fetal weights before birth has fetal macrosomia - usually, this means the child weighs more than about nine pounds. While nearly everyone knows someone who gave birth to a particularly large infant without consequence, fetal macrosomia can pose serious health complications to both the baby and the mother. 

Why Is Fetal Macrosomia Dangerous? 

A large infant can cause many problems during delivery. Potential risks to the mother include: 

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Chicago birth injury attorneyHealthcare providers are essential during childbirth for ensuring a safe delivery and healthy infant. The responsibilities these caregivers have are enormous and parents must place their trust in their team of doctors during a physically vulnerable and emotionally heightened moment. While most deliveries are successful and parents are rewarded with the joy of meeting their child for the first time, some deliveries are complicated and require quick, deft decision-making and medical treatment. 

When labor is not progressing or a baby needs urgent delivery, doctors may recommend a forceps delivery to help the baby come out more quickly. Birth forceps are exactly what they sound like - specialized tools that help a doctor grasp an infant and guide them out with pulling motions. While birth forceps can be very effective, they can result in serious injuries if they are used inappropriately. 

When Are Forceps the Right Delivery Tool? 

Certain situations require the use of forceps and a doctor’s experience, training, and good medical judgment will determine whether they are used in a specific instance. Situations that may require the use of forceps include: 

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