Risk Factors and Medical Negligence that Can Cause Macrosomic Complications

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Jun 7, 2016 1:13:34 PM

Macrosomic babies, or babies that are “large for gestational age,” have a birth weight of over 4,000 grams (8 lb 13 oz). Approximately nine percent of babies are born macrosomic. Macrosomia can lead to severe complications during pregnancy including shoulder dystocia and ensuing brachial plexus injuries, oxygen deprivation and brain damage, lacerations of the birth canal, uterine rupture, and urinary incontinence.

macrosomic_risks.pngBabies born at weights over 4,500 grams (9 lb 15 oz) are at an even higher risk. Expectant mothers should be aware that certain risk factors make a baby more likely to be macrosomic, including the following:

  • Obesity or significant weight gain during pregnancy. Obesity is one of the largest risk factors for macrosomia. Expectant mothers should follow nutritional guidelines and maintain a healthy weight throughout pregnancy.
  • Maternal diabetes. Both pre-gestational diabetes and gestational diabetes (diabetes developed both before pregnancy and during pregnancy) are major risk factors for macrosomia. Increased blood sugar and insulin production lead to excessive growth, large shoulders, and fat deposits in a fetus. Expectant mothers with diabetes should discuss their situation with a doctor to manage diabetes during pregnancy. All expectant mothers should maintain good nutrition and a healthy weight to avoid developing gestational diabetes.
  • Genetics. Babies with taller and larger parents are predisposed to be large themselves.
  • Overdue pregnancy. Pregnancies that continue more than two weeks after the due date have increased risk of macrosomia.
  • Previous pregnancies. Birth weight tends to increase somewhat in each of a woman’s pregnancy; thus, the incidence of macrosomia increases in babies whose mothers have given birth before. Prior delivery of a macrosomic baby increases the risk even more.
  • Male baby. Male infants tend to weigh more than females. Most macrosomic babies are male.
  • Maternal age. Women over 35 years of age are more likely to delivery a macrosomic baby.
Macrosomia can be very difficult to detect; a baby can only be weighed and macrosomia diagnosed after birth. However, doctors can predict a baby’s weight through a few tests, such as
  • Ultrasound. An ultrasound can help a doctor to determine the size of a baby’s head, abdomen, and femur. These measurements can predict the baby’s weight with some degree of reliability.
  • Height of the fundus. The fundal height, measured from the top of the pubic bone to the top of the uterus, usually corresponds with the length of the pregnancy. If the measurement of the fundus seems unusually large for the number of weeks of pregnancy, the baby may be larger than normal.
Macrosomic babies can be delivered safely, but special awareness and attention to detail is important. Expectant mothers should discuss macrosomia with their doctors if they have any of the risk factors detailed above. Doctors may consider early delivery, cesarean sections, and other methods to reduce the risk of birth injury from macrosomia. Failure to take necessary steps such as these can lead to serious and lifelong consequences. If you or your baby suffered from birth injury related to macrosomia, you may be able to gain the support you need and protect future mothers from suffering the same injuries. Contact our birth injury lawyers if you or your baby was injured due to macrosomic complications.

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Brachial Plexus Palsy, Birth Injuries, Erb's Palsy

Proper Fetal Monitoring May Prevent Birth Trauma

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Jun 6, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Pre-birth fetal monitoring is designed to prepare you and your doctor for your birth and to give warning signs if anything is abnormal with your baby. Since your baby can’t tell you if anything is wrong, your doctor needs to carefully monitor him or her throughout the pregnancy. The following tests may be necessary if you have a high-risk pregnancy (including women with diabetes and women who have had complications with previous pregnancies) or if you are past your due date.

Fetal Monitoring to Prevent Birth Injuries

Non-Stress Test

A non-stress test is an easy way to determine if your baby’s heart is working normally. If your baby is healthy, his or her heart rate should rise and fall from time to time without any stress. To test this, the doctor will use a fetal monitor like the one used during labor. The doctor will not introduce any stress to the situation, but will look for small fluctuations in the baby’s heart rate without the presence of stress. He or she may simply ask you to rub your hand on your stomach, or may make a loud noise above the abdomen. If the baby’s heart rate does not rise, further testing may be necessary to make sure the baby is doing well. 

Contraction Stress Test

A contraction stress test evaluates how well the baby will hold up under the stress of labor. During labor, contractions temporarily restrict blood and oxygen supply to a baby. This test will simulate labor using a hormone called oxytocin to induce contractions. If the baby’s heart rate does not speed up after a contraction, this may indicate that he or she will struggle during labor.

Biophysical Profile

A doctor may want to do a biophysical profile if the baby is not reactive enough in the non-stress test. This test uses detailed ultrasound scanning to look at fetal movement, fetal body tone, fetal breathing, and the amniotic fluid. Your doctor may also choose a modified biophysical profile, in which he or she only looks at the amniotic fluid volume.

These tests can clue the doctor in early to any potential complications that could arise during labor, which can potentially avoid serious birth trauma or birth injuries. Abnormal results in any of these tests may lead a doctor to recommend that you deliver early or undergo a cesarean section.

If your doctor failed to appropriately carry out one of these tests or another, you may have been the victim of medical negligence. Contact the birth injury attorneys at Anapol Weiss if you have any legal questions about what happened during the birth of your baby.

Topics: Birth Injuries

5 Umbilical Cord Accidents Than Can Lead to Birth Injuries

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Jun 2, 2016 3:30:00 PM

The umbilical cord provides oxygen and essential nutrients to a fetus during pregnancy while also carrying away waste products. It is a life-giving connection between the baby and the mother. However, certain umbilical cord accidents can occur during pregnancy, labor, and birth that may endanger the health or life of the infant.

Most of these accidents involve a restriction of the umbilical cord in some way, meaning that the baby is cut off from oxygen or other necessities. Below are five types of umbilical cord accidents that require immediate medical attention.

    1. Umbilical Cord Compression. The umbilical cord can become compressed for a variety of reasons, including those listed below. Compression is dangerous because it leads to a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the baby.
    2. Umbilical Cord Prolapse. An umbilical cord prolapse occurs when the cord drops into the vaginal canal before the baby during delivery. The cord can then become trapped or compressed by the baby’s body. Prolapse usually occurs when the amniotic sac breaks too soon. However, it can also be caused by a premature baby, multiple births such as twins, excessive amniotic fluid, a breech delivery, or a long umbilical cord. Doctors need to pay special attention to prolapsed cords. Sometimes, a doctor will be able to move the fetus away from the cord. In other cases, the baby may need to be delivered by a cesarean section.
    3. Umbilical Cord Knot. When the baby moves around inside the uterus, a knot can form in the umbilical cord. Usually, the knot remains loose and does not affect the baby. In some cases, however, the knot can tighten and cut off oxygen supply and blood flow. The cord knots most often because it is too long or in the case of identical twin pregnancies (the two cords can knot around each other).
    4. Umbilical cord accidents that lead to birth traumaNuchal Cord. Almost one third of babies are born with their umbilical cords wrapped around their necks, known as a nuchal cord. In most cases, the baby will be born healthy and normal. Occasionally, the cord can cut off blood flow to the brain and harm the baby. A cesarean section may be necessary in this case.
    5. Cord Torsion. Cord torsion, also known as stricture or overcoiling, is when the umbilical cord twists enough times to coil back on itself, almost like a telephone cord. This twisting can cut off blood supply or oxygen to the baby.

While all of these umbilical cord accidents occur naturally and can be safely taken care of, they can lead to serious birth trauma or fatalities if birth injury malpractice occurs. If it happened during the delivery of your baby, we can help.

Contact Anapol Weiss to speak with a birth injury attorney if your baby was harmed by the mishandling of an umbilical cord problem and suffered a lack of oxygen at birth.

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Birth Injuries, Medical Negligence

Common Causes of Erb’s Palsy Birth Injuries

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Jun 1, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Erb’s palsy, a form of brachial plexus palsy, is a lifelong birth injury that causes weakness and loss of motion in the arm, wrist and/or hand. One to two of every 1,000 babies have been diagnosed with Erb’s palsy, but the condition is preventable.

Erb’s palsy can develop when a brachial plexus nerve is stretched so badly that it ruptures or tears from the root altogether. A nerve that sustains this type of damage will not heal on its own. Even if surgery is able to restore some function, a baby’s arm may not fully recover.

Erbs Palsy and Brachial Plexus nerve injury

Irreparable brachial plexus birth injuries can occur during a difficult delivery involving a large (macrosomic) baby, a breech birth or a prolonged labor. The injuries can also result during a complicated birth in which an obstetrician must exert force to deliver the baby quickly.

Physicians can take action to prevent these problems from resulting in Erb’s palsy. In addition to performing an emergency caesarian section, there are specific delivery maneuvers that can aid in a successful delivery. Failure to act quickly can mean permanent consequences for a newborn.

We can help if your child developed Erb’s palsy because a physician did not adequately respond to a difficult birth. Filing a birth injury lawsuit can hold responsible parties accountable for their negligence, and it can help future babies and mothers from suffering the same physical and emotional distress. Contact Anapol Weiss to speak with a birth injury attorney if your child was diagnosed with Erb’s palsy or suffered a brachial plexus injury at birth.

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Brachial Plexus Palsy, Birth Injuries, Erb's Palsy, Medical Negligence

Three Things to Know about Cerebral Palsy and Medical Negligence

Posted by Anapol Weiss on May 26, 2016 11:30:00 AM

One in 323 babies is born with cerebral palsy, a physical disability that affects movement and posture in a variety of ways. The disability is caused by problems with brain development before, at, or after birth. Most of the time, cerebral palsy is congenital and the specific cause may not be known. In some cases, however, a medical care provider’s mistake can result in a baby developing the condition.

Certain risk factors make a baby more likely to develop cerebral palsy. These risk factors include premature babies or babies with low birth weights, multiple births such as twins, and complications during labor including breech births.

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In about 10 to 15 percent of cases, however, cerebral palsy results from a birth injury caused by negligence. Below are three factors related to medical negligence that can lead to this type of lifelong injury.

  1. Cerebral palsy can develop as a result of undiagnosed or untreated infections in the mother during pregnancy. Infections like toxoplasmosis, rubella (German measles), cytomegalovirus, and herpes can all increase a baby’s risk of cerebral palsy. Mothers can protect themselves against some of these infections, such as rubella, through vaccination before pregnancy. Be aware of your health throughout your pregnancy, and make sure that your doctor is monitoring any suspicious infections.
  2. A mother and her baby can have different blood types. A condition called Rh incompatibility means that the mother’s Rh blood type (either positive or negative) is different from that of her baby. This condition can cause brain damage and severe jaundice, one of the major risk factors for cerebral palsy. This disorder can usually be prevented with injections of Rh immune globulin both during pregnancy and after birth. Expectant mothers should be aware of these risks and discuss them with a doctor.
  3. Restricted oxygen to the infant’s brain during labor or birth can lead to cerebral palsy. Asphyxia, a condition in which the brain does not receive oxygen, can have dangerous ramifications. Several types of birth injuries cause asphyxia, including umbilical cord problems, hemorrhaging, prolonged delivery, and maternal shock. An estimated 6 to 8 percent of cerebral palsy cases are caused by birth asphyxia.
The vast majority of medical care professionals work attentively to be sure that all risks are minimized. However, doctors sometimes make mistakes or commit negligence that can lead to a lifetime of problems for babies with cerebral palsy and their families.

Contact our birth injury lawyers if you or a loved one has been affected by cerebral palsy. We can investigate the situation, determine if you were a victim of negligence, and help you to gain the support you need to battle this disability.

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Birth Injuries, Medical Negligence, Cerebral Palsy

Problems that can Cause Brain Damage at Birth

Posted by Anapol Weiss on May 19, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Parents-to-be rightfully expect their medical care provider to detect and respond to any condition that may injure their unborn baby. When certain dangerous situations go undetected and/or untreated, it is unfortunately the newborn and his or her family who must suffer the consequences. Below are a few problems that can lead to preventable brain damage during birth.

Oxygen Deprivation

Adequate oxygen is crucial to a healthy birth. Without enough oxygen, cells in a baby’s body quickly begin to malfunction and can die or sustain permanent damage. An infant can then suffer from a range of injuries depending on the amount of oxygen, if any, he or she is receiving.

There are two distinct conditions to describe the severity of oxygen deprivation during birth. Perinatal hypoxia means the baby is not getting enough oxygen to the brain and body. Perinatal anoxia refers to a situation in which there is no oxygen. Reduced or lack of oxygen at birth can result in a serious brain injury called hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and other permanent health problems.

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Physical Birth Trauma

A baby can sustain head injuries before, during or after birth that can result in brain damage.  The improper use of forceps or other medical devices, for example, can injure a baby’s delicate skull and cause permanent brain damage. 

Failure to Monitor Dangerous Problems

Physicians and medical staff must respond immediately to the health care needs of both mother and baby in order to protect them against preventable injuries. They can spot sudden problems by paying close attention to fetal monitoring equipment, which can detect changes in normal heart rate patterns during labor. An abnormal fetal heart rate can indicate fetal distress, which often involves a reduced supply of oxygen.

Other conditions that require immediate attention include:

  • Macrosomia (large fetus) complications such as shoulder dystocia
  • Placental abruption
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Umbilical cord accidents such as a prolapsed cord

Every baby deserves the best start possible. When a medical care provider fails to detect and treat dangerous problems before, during or after birth, they put a newborn at risk for permanent brain damage. If it happened to your child, we can help.

Contact Anapol Weiss to speak with a highly qualified birth injury attorney if your child sustained brain damage at birth. We can investigate your situation and determine if medical malpractice is to blame.

Topics: Birth Injuries

Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for Birth Trauma

Posted by Anapol Weiss on May 13, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Birth trauma happens unexpectedly, but it can forever change a family’s life. While the details leading to a birth injury can differ greatly, many situations involve poor prenatal care or a medical care provider’s failure to take action in connection with problems that arise during labor and delivery.

Conditions that can result in birth trauma include: 

  • Decreased or lack of oxygen during birth
  • Fetal distress
  • Hypertension in the mother during pregnancy
  • Improper use of forceps or other medical devices
  • Macrosomia (large fetus) complications
  • Placental abruption
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Umbilical cord problems

If these birth complications aren’t fatal, they may lead to brain damage and other permanent injuries. It is for this reason that physicians and medical staff must respond immediately to the health care needs of mother and baby.

When Birth Trauma Results from Medical Negligence

A child and his or her family are the ones who suffer lifelong consequences when a health care provider fails to stop preventable birth injuries from happening. While nothing can change what happened, filing a medical malpractice lawsuit can:

  • Seek compensation for the child’s injuries including future medical needs
  • Hold hospital staff, known as the defendant(s), accountable for the harm they caused
  • Stop a similar situation from happening to another family

To win a birth injury lawsuit, a lawyer will need to prove that the defendant’s conduct fell below the standard of medical care that should be met by a competent and qualified practitioner. A medical expert qualified in the same field as the defendant will be needed to establish that standard, how the provider failed to meet this standard of care, and how the baby was injured as a result.

The first step is to contact an experienced birth injury lawyer to discuss the events leading to the trauma. The lawyer can then investigate the details of the situation to determine whether negligence of the health care provider involved in the treatment is to blame.

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For decades, Anapol Weiss has successfully advocated for children hurt during birth. If your newborn was injured, we can help. Contact Anapol Weiss to speak with a Pennsylvania or New Jersey medical malpractice lawyer today. Our highly qualified team can investigate your case and answer your legal questions.

Topics: Birth Injuries

Complications Caused by a Lack of Oxygen during Birth

Posted by Anapol Weiss on May 10, 2016 3:30:00 PM

Reduced oxygen before, during or after a baby’s birth can cause severe and potentially fatal injuries. When signs of oxygen deprivation arise, health care providers must identify the cause and take immediate action.

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Birth asphyxia is a condition in which a baby’s brain and organs are not receiving an adequate amount of oxygen. Without enough oxygen, cells in the body quickly begin to malfunction and can die or sustain permanent damage. A baby can then suffer from a range of injuries depending on the amount of oxygen, if any, he or she is receiving.

There are two distinct conditions to describe the severity of oxygen deprivation during birth. Perinatal hypoxia means the baby is not getting enough oxygen to the brain and body. When there is no oxygen, a baby is suffering from perinatal anoxia. Both conditions can result in a serious brain injury called hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Complications from HIE include:

  • Death
  • Coma
  • Irregular breathing
  • Heart rate and blood pressure irregularities
  • Seizures
  • Diminished reflexes
  • Apnea

If HIE is not fatal, a child can develop movement disorders like cerebral palsy, developmental delays, sensory or digestive problems, chronic seizure disorders, and other permanent health issues.

What Causes Oxygen Deprivation?

Lack of oxygen at birth can be caused by problems with the placenta or umbilical cord, sedation of the mother, a long or difficult delivery, and other dangerous issues. The responsibility rests on health care professionals to recognize these problems and take action to prevent an adverse outcome.

Getting Help

Health care providers must take responsibility when their negligence leads to birth injuries. If your child was hurt during birth, we can help. Nothing can change what happened, but the birth injury lawyers at Anapol Weiss can be your family’s voice in court and obtain justice and compensation for problems that never should have happened. Contact our firm for assistance.

Topics: Birth Injuries

Choosing an Experienced Birth Injury Lawyer

Posted by Anapol Weiss on May 5, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Filing a lawsuit may feel like less than a priority for parents dealing with an unexpected birth injury. Their family is preparing for a long road ahead that is likely filled with physical, emotional and financial distress. As a result, obtaining legal representation may seem like more of a hassle than it’s worth.

However, victims who do not contact a qualified birth injury lawyer right away could unknowingly be hindering their ability to obtain much needed compensation for their injured child. Waiting too long could also prevent them from obtaining justice and allow the health care provider to cause injury to another child. Below are four benefits to hiring a qualified birth injury attorney.

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1. Obtaining Crucial Documents

Lawyers are experienced in obtaining pertinent information including medical records to begin investigating a birth injury case right away. They know how to use insurance records, medical bills, and other documentation to illustrate the magnitude of the child’s injuries and how the health care professional’s negligence contributed to those injuries.

2. Acting as the Patients’ Voice in Court

Hospitals and physicians typically have top-notch defense attorneys who are skilled at protecting their interests in court. Nevertheless, an experienced birth injury attorney can obtain a verdict or negotiate a settlement to ensure injured children receive the financial recovery they’ll need to have the best quality of life possible.

3. Working with Medical Experts

The testimony of an expert is an important component to proving a victim’s case in a birth injury lawsuit. A lawyer will often call upon a medical expert to not only establish the applicable standard of care in the situation, but also to show how a physician failed to meet that standard.

4. Providing Resources, Understanding and Compassion

After decades of advocating for countless families with injured children, an experienced lawyer has a deep understanding of the struggles following a birth injury. They can provide valuable information and resources for victims and their families.

Contact Our Firm for Assistance

For decades, our birth injury lawyers have successfully represented children and their mothers who were permanently injured as a result of medical negligence. If you were injured, contacting Anapol Weiss can be the first step toward obtaining justice and compensation. You could also be preventing a similar situation from happening to another unsuspecting patient. Our legal team is ready to help.

Topics: Birth Injuries

Why File a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit?

Posted by Anapol Weiss on Apr 29, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Medical malpractice is not the only contributing factor to cerebral palsy. In addition to preventable birth trauma and lack of oxygen during birth, this incurable neurological disorder can result from brain malformation and other issues no one can prevent.

As a birth injury, however, cerebral palsy can result from the negligence of a medical professional before, during and/or after a baby is born. The following actions by the attending health care provider can result in a child suffering from the condition:

  • Failure to detect and treat an infection in a pregnant mother
  • Failure to detect and act on umbilical cord problems
  • Failure to perform a needed cesarean section
  • Failure to respond to abnormal fetal monitor tracings
  • Traumatic delivery

A baby may not be diagnosed with cerebral palsy until body movement and muscle coordination issues become clear, which could take years after a baby is born. Even after a physician determines a child has cerebral palsy, identifying the cause is a complex process that requires extensive knowledge and skill.

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Choosing to File a Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit

It may be difficult for parents to see beyond the immediate needs of a baby with cerebral palsy, but there are many factors to consider. Their child will likely need future treatment, therapy and other long-term care and possibly medical equipment. In addition to obtaining compensation for these future needs, a cerebral palsy lawsuit holds hospital staff accountable for the harm they caused. It can also stop a similar situation from happening to another family.

The first step is to contact an experienced cerebral palsy lawyer to discuss the events leading to the child’s birth and injuries. The lawyer and his or her legal team can then investigate important details about what happened and determine whether negligence is to blame. Victims who have grounds for a cerebral palsy birth injury lawsuit can then move forward with seeking compensation and justice.

The attorneys at Anapol Weiss have decades of success advocating for children who were permanently harmed during birth. If your baby was injured during birth, we can help. Contact our firm for assistance.

 

Topics: Medical Malpractice, Birth Injuries, Medical Negligence, Cerebral Palsy

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