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IL birth injury lawyerPremature birth, or birth before 37 weeks gestation, is associated with a range of medical concerns. A baby who is born too early may experience patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), low blood pressure, breathing problems, intraventricular hemorrhage, and other life-threatening medical problems shortly after birth. Premature babies may grow up suffering from intellectual disabilities, vision and hearing problems, cerebral palsy, and more. Sadly, some premature babies die during infancy. If your baby was born premature, you may question whether medical mistakes are to blame.

Risk Factors that Increase the Chances of Premature Birth

Understanding why a baby is born prematurely is often extremely difficult. Countless factors influence the health and growth of a fetus. However, researchers have identified certain risk factors that make premature birth more likely. These factors include:

  • Maternal infections
  • Maternal high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Maternal diabetes
  • Problems with the mother’s cervix, placenta, or uterus
  • Insufficient cervix (incompetent cervix)
  • Previous premature births
  • Giving birth to multiples
  • In vitro fertilization
  • Drug, alcohol, or cigarette use during pregnancy
  • Maternal obesity or being underweight
  • Physical trauma during pregnancy

Doctors should be aware of any risks that may endanger the health of a growing fetus. If doctors fail to take the appropriate steps to address risk factors, they may be liable for an infant’s premature birth. Studies have shown that infection and inflammation are significant contributors to spontaneous preterm births. Urinary tract infections, uterine infections, and sexually transmitted infections should be treated promptly to lessen the chances of harm to the baby.

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IL birth injury lawyerMost babies weigh between six to nine pounds at birth. While many people are aware of the risks premature and underweight babies face, fewer are aware of the risks associated with larger-than-average babies. “Fetal macrosomia” refers to an infant that weighs more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces. Fetal macrosomia occurs in just under 10 percent of newborns. While many babies with fetal macrosomia are born healthy, high fetal weight can increase the risks of birth injuries such as shoulder dystocia.

Potential Consequences of Fetal Macrosomia

Babies that meet the criteria for fetal macrosomia increase the chances of complications during labor and delivery. One of the primary concerns for large babies is the risk of shoulder dystocia. This condition occurs when the baby becomes lodged on the mother’s pelvis during delivery. The infant’s head is delivered, but his or her shoulders are too large to fit through the mother’s pubic bone. This potentially life-threatening condition must be immediately addressed. Shoulder dystocia may deprive the baby of oxygen which can cause brain damage in a matter of minutes. The condition may also place so much pressure on the baby’s neck and shoulders that the baby’s brachial plexus nerves are damaged.

Uterine rupture, a condition in which the uterus tears during labor, may also be caused by fetal macrosomia. This condition typically necessitates an emergency C-section. Fetal macrosomia may require the use of birth-assistive devices such as vacuum extractors and forceps which may potentially injure the infant. Vaginal tearing and other injuries to the mother may be caused by large birth weight as well.

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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 hearing loss

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

Causes of Infant Hearing Loss

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

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Cook County medical malpractice attorney birth injury

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

Studies Show Higher Rates of Complications for Mothers With Coronavirus Infections

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

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Illinois birth injury attorney Gastroschisis

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

The Causes of Gastroschisis Still Largely Unknown

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

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

Causes of Breech Presentation During Birth

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

  • Giving birth to multiples, such as twins or triplets

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

Some Maternal Infections Can Cause Life-Threatening Injuries

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

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

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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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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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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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