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

Orthopedic Surgery for Children with Cerebral Palsy

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

Some orthopedic surgeries that may alleviate cerebral palsy symptoms include:

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

What is Preeclampsia?

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

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

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

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Illinois medical malpractice attorney birth injury

Our spinal cords serve numerous vital functions. Consequently, damage to the spinal cord before or during an infant’s birth can have profound consequences. Babies who sustain a spinal cord injury during birth may suffer from paralysis, difficulty breathing, digestion issues, and more. The infant may require extensive medical intervention to recover from the spinal cord damage or he or she may be disabled for the rest of his or her life. There are many different reasons that an infant may suffer a spinal cord injury. In some cases, a spinal cord injury is caused by negligent medical care during a child’s birth.

Trauma During Birth May Damage a Baby’s Spinal Cord

Often, spinal cord injuries during birth occur because there is an urgent need to deliver the baby so birth assistive tools are used. For example, if the baby is not receiving enough blood flow to the brain, doctors may need to manually assist labor using forceps or vacuum extraction. When used correctly, birth-assistive tools can save an infant’s life. However, misuse of these tools or using assistive tools with an alternative birthing method can lead to preventable birth injuries. Force applied manually or via assistive tools, external cephalic version, and excessive traction may cause the baby’s spinal cord to become bruised or torn.

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Cook County medical malpractice attorney birth injury

Births take place every day in hospitals throughout the United States, and doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel are trained and equipped to address complications and perform procedures to ensure that children are delivered safely. Cesarean deliveries are commonly performed if there are problems that would make a vaginal delivery unsafe, and in some cases, emergency C-sections are necessary to prevent birth injuries to children. Since a C-section is a surgical procedure, there are a variety of complications that can occur, and in addition to issues that may affect the health of a child, there is also a risk of life-threatening maternal injuries.

Injuries to Infants in a Cesarean Delivery

While C-sections can usually be performed without putting a child at risk, some injuries may still occur. The most common injuries involve lacerations in which a child is cut by surgical tools during the procedure. While these types of injuries are usually minor, in some cases, they could lead to serious blood loss or nerve damage. If children are delivered before 39 weeks, they are at higher risk of injuries such as broken bones, skull fractures, or brachial plexus injuries. Following a C-section, some newborns will experience breathing issues or excessive fluid in the lungs.

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Cook County birth injury attorney meconium aspiration syndrome

The first stool that a child passes is known as meconium. This fecal matter is usually thick and sticky, and while it is usually passed after the child is born, there are some cases where it may be passed either before or during labor. When this occurs, the child may be at risk of meconium aspiration, in which the fecal matter is breathed into his or her lungs. This can lead to serious birth injuries that may affect a child’s health and well-being both immediately after birth and in the years to come.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Meconium Aspiration Syndrome

When meconium is breathed into the lungs, it can block the airways, or it may coat the air sacs in the lungs, affecting the child’s ability to absorb oxygen into the bloodstream. This can lead to asphyxia, and if the oxygen supply to the child’s brain is interrupted, he or she may experience brain damage and conditions such as cerebral palsy. Blocked airways can also cause the child’s lungs to overexpand and rupture or collapse. Meconium aspiration may also lead to infections that can have a variety of long-term effects.

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Cook County birth injury attorney Erb's palsy

There are a wide variety of complications that can occur during a child’s birth, and if these are not addressed correctly, children may suffer birth injuries. Depending on the type and severity of an injury, a child may require extensive medical treatment or may even suffer permanent disabilities. Erb’s palsy, which is a condition that affects a person’s arms and shoulders, can result from complications during delivery. When a child suffers from this type of injury, parents will want to understand how they can provide the necessary treatment throughout the child’s lifetime.

Causes and Effects of Erb’s Palsy

Erb’s palsy may occur due to injuries to the brachial plexus during a child’s delivery. The brachial plexus is the network of nerves that carry signals from the brain and spinal cord to the shoulders, arms, and hands. These nerves may be injured if shoulder dystocia occurs during birth, especially in cases where too much force is placed on a child’s head, neck, or shoulders. Improper use of forceps or vacuum extraction can lead to nerve damage, and a child may also experience injuries to the brachial plexus during a Cesarean delivery.

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Cook County birth injury attorney cerebral palsy

There are multiple different types of complications that can affect both mothers and children during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Cerebral palsy is one of the most serious issues that can occur because of birth injuries, and this condition can affect all types of children and families. However, some studies have revealed troubling statistics that indicate that cerebral palsy is more prevalent among Black children than white children. Because of these racial disparities, Black parents of children with cerebral palsy will want to understand the potential causes of their children’s condition and the steps they can take to provide for their children’s needs.

Possible Reasons for Racial Disparities in Children With Cerebral Palsy 

The key study that found these racial disparities was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and it looked at children in a geographical area who had been diagnosed with spastic cerebral palsy that resulted because of brain injuries that occurred before or during a child’s birth. While the study found that the overall prevalence of cerebral palsy had not changed over time, Black children born at normal birth weight and at full term were more likely to experience cerebral palsy than white children in the same circumstances. Notably, the study found that Black and white children with a very low birth rate were equally likely to experience cerebral palsy. However, racial disparities play a role in these cases as well, since other studies have found that Black children are nearly twice as likely as white children to be born with low birth weight.

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Cook County medical malpractice attorney birth injury

There are many different types of complications that can arise during labor and delivery, and if they are not addressed properly, they can affect the health of both the child and the mother. Infections are one common concern, and in addition to taking steps to ensure that a child does not become infected by bacteria or viruses during delivery, doctors and nurses should also address maternal infections, since they may lead to birth injuries to children or maternal birth injuries. Chorioamnionitis is one type of dangerous condition that can sometimes occur, and it involves a bacterial infection of the amniotic fluid and the membranes inside the uterus.

What Causes Chorioamnionitis?

Chorioamnionitis typically occurs when bacteria that are present in the vagina, such as E. Coli or Group B Streptococcus (GBS), enter the uterus. These bacteria can then infect tissues within the uterus, including the placenta or the sac surrounding the amniotic fluid, and the child may also become infected.

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Cook County birth injury attorney preeclampsia

There are many different health concerns that can affect a mother and her child during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. High blood pressure experienced by a pregnant mother, which is known as preeclampsia, is one serious condition that can lead to birth injuries. This complication will usually occur after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and a mother may also experience this condition immediately after giving birth. Preeclampsia should be recognized and addressed promptly by medical professionals to protect the health of both the child and the mother.

Complications Related to Preeclampsia

While the causes of preeclampsia are not fully understood, it may occur when the blood vessels in the placenta do not develop properly, restricting blood flow to the fetus. Genetic factors, nutritional issues, and body fat may also play a role in a mother’s high blood pressure. Symptoms of preeclampsia include headaches, vision problems, abnormal swelling in a mother’s hands or face, and pain in the upper abdomen. Tests that can be performed to diagnose preeclampsia include measurement of protein levels in a mother’s urine and blood tests to measure platelet levels or look for the presence of chemicals that indicate impairment of kidney or liver functions.

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Cook County birth injury attorney cerebral palsy

Children with cerebral palsy may experience a wide variety of physical and mental impairments that affect their health and well-being and their ability to live a normal life. Difficulty with swallowing foods and liquids is one issue that commonly affects those with CP, and this condition is known as dysphagia or oral-motor dysfunction. Parents of children with CP will want to understand how this issue may affect their child and the steps they can take to ensure that their son or daughter receives the proper nutrition while avoiding further injuries.

What Causes Dysphagia?

Young people who suffer from cerebral palsy may have limited muscle control, making it difficult for them to move food from their mouth, through their esophagus, and to their stomach. Oropharyngeal dysphagia may occur due to abnormal development or weakness of muscles in the mouth and throat. Esophageal dysphagia may occur because of malformation of muscles in the esophagus, causing food to become dislodged after it is swallowed and before reaching the stomach.

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Cook County medical malpractice attorney cerebral palsy

Children with cerebral palsy (CP) may require a wide variety of treatments and assistive devices. Leg braces are often used to improve mobility and correct deformities, but while these devices can provide a number of benefits, they also present challenges for parents and children alike. As the winter months approach, parents may be wondering about their options for winter boots that will provide children with protection from the elements while fitting over braces and allowing for easy, comfortable movement.

Footwear and Orthotics

Braces worn on the feet and legs are known as orthotics, and these devices can help address the issues experienced by those with CP, such as rigid muscles, spasticity, or low muscle tone. Orthotics can provide support and stability and improve a child’s ability to sit, stand, and walk. They can also be used to correct or prevent deformities in the muscles and bones, and they can help improve muscle strength and reduce missteps, hyperextensions, and accidents.

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Cook County birth injury attorney cerebral palsy

Complications during labor and delivery can lead to different birth injuries, such as cerebral palsy (CP). Children with cerebral palsy may experience a variety of symptoms that affect their movement, cognitive function, and many other areas of their lives. Epilepsy is a common condition that is related to cerebral palsy, and between one-third and one-half of people diagnosed with CP experience some form of seizures. While different medications are available to treat epilepsy, parents will want to make sure these drugs are safe for their children to use.

Treating Seizures With Anticonvulsant Medications 

Children with cerebral palsy can experience multiple different types of seizures. These include tonic-clonic seizures that cause a child to suffer a complete loss of motor functions and experience convulsions in the muscles, as well as confusion that can last up to a few weeks after a seizure. Partial complex seizures can also occur, and while these do not involve convulsions, they may lead to a partial loss of consciousness and temporary impairment to walking or other motor functions.

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Cook County birth injury attorney developmental disabilities

All parents are concerned about issues that may affect their children’s health, and one recent study highlights some troubling trends regarding developmental disabilities. Scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) found that the rates of these types of disabilities among children increased between 2009 and 2017. Parents will not only want to be aware of the prevalence of these types of health concerns, but they should understand whether birth injuries may have led to disabilities that impact their children’s well-being.

Birth Injuries and Developmental Disabilities

During this study, researchers looked at parent-reported data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) to determine the percentage of children between the ages of 3 and 17 diagnosed with developmental disabilities. During the period of 2009-2011, this percentage was 16.2 percent, but the percentage increased to 17.8 percent in the period of 2015-2017. Additionally, the study found that boys were more likely than girls to be diagnosed with a developmental disability, and disabilities were more likely to affect children in rural areas and those with public health insurance than children in urban areas and those with private insurance.

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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 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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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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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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