$17,700,000

Brain injury due to nursing staff negligence

$14,000,000

Ignored x-ray results delaying diagnosis of lung cancer

$12,000,000

Failure to diagnosis causes wrongful death

$10,000,000

Truck ran over five year boy

$7,620,000

HMO doctor ignored mother's complaints resulting in death

$7,000,000

Vietnam veteran PTSD wrongful death

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Premature Babies, Brain Injuries and Cerebral Palsy

Birth injuries can uncover a medical mistake that was likely the cause of a preventable traumatic experience to a mom, an unborn fetus, or a newborn. This is especially true in early deliveries that could have been prevented with closer obstetric care and caution. Your baby may have been premature if born too early, before 37 weeks of pregnancy, while an expected, healthy pregnancy should last approximately 40 weeks.

  • Researchers from the Society for Neurosciencesay more than 60,000 babies are born early, weighing less than 3.3 pounds each year.

bereaved parents want answers to infant death

Advanced Support Is Necessary When a Parent Endures the Sudden Loss of a Newborn Caused by Medical Negligence

Even medical professionals can be found responsible for a tragic labor and delivery mistake that results in life-long injuries, infant death, or a circumstance so dire that the child’s future prognosis is death. It is possible that medical staff, including obstetric physicians, pediatricians, nurses, medical assistants, did not do all they could to keep the fetus or newborn safe. And sometimes, the injury or infant death could have been prevented with better medical care, particularly in these labor and delivery situations.

  • Forced C-section or induction

erb's and klumpke's palsy in infants

How Erb’s Palsy Injuries Can Occur During Labor and Delivery?

Most babies are born without any complications; however, a small percentage of newborns have medical issues that may have been caused at birth, including injuries to nerves and joints. This is especially true in breech deliveries, or forced inductions when an infant’s brachial plexus becomes injured. The brachial plexus is a group of nerves located near the shoulder. The nerves connect the physical function of the body to the spinal cord and brain. The brachial plexus is located on both sides of the infant’s body. Therefore, it can be injured when force is used to assist in the baby’s birth by a doctor who may haphazardly use forceps, a vacuum, or their hands to pull an infant who may be stuck in the birth canal during labor. When this occurs, the baby’s neck and shoulders become stretched, and damage to the brachial plexus is likely – but still avoidable.

Babies who suffer from this injury could have lifelong disabilities and cause an irreversible condition called Erb’s palsy. Erb’s palsy is also known by other names such as Erb–Duchenne palsy, shoulder dystocia, or radial nerve palsy. These are all forms of damage to the brachial plexus nerves. As a result, the arm muscles on one side of the body cannot move properly, causing the arm and shoulder to droop. In addition, as children age, they may have ongoing tingling in the hand or arm, making it challenging to participate in sports and efficiently perform simple activities such as eating, grooming, writing, and playing musical instruments.

do you suspect birth injury

12 Quick Facts That Could Support Your Birth Injury Lawsuit

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, most birth injuries are avoidable when risks have been identified, preventative steps are made to reduce complications, and appropriate care has been provided. And while some minor injuries to a fetus and newborn may occur and can resolve without treatment, a birth injury is better defined as the structural destruction or functional deterioration of an infant’s body due to a traumatic event at birth.

Unfortunately, many birth injuries lead to a child’s pain and discomfort resulting from a long-term disability. Parents must act quickly if they would like to receive compensation for these injuries and damages. If considering a lawsuit, know that these facts, and many others, could support each unique case.

infant spinal cord injury after birth

Spinal Cord Injuries Require Coordinated Diagnostic Infant Care

Spinal cord injuries in newborns are usually due to excessive traction or rotation of the spinal cord and twisting of a baby’s trunk during delivery. They can be caused by vacuum extraction or the misuse of instruments such as forceps. A physician trying to manipulate a fetus’ position quickly may further put a baby at risk, making a negligent doctor one of the most common reasons for a spinal cord injury to occur. The severity, mortality, and disability will depend on the type and location of the damage. Other related injuries may include pediatric skull fractures, Cerebral palsy, and lifelong bladder and bowel dysfunction.

12 Showing Signs of an Undiagnosed Infant Spinal Cord Injury 

how to avoid birth injuries

Your Doctor Should Be Doing All They Can to Avoid a Birth Injury to Your Baby

In many instances, birth trauma can be avoided if doctors recognize and foresee medical risk factors using regular prenatal visits, ultrasounds, exams, medications, and tests. But negligent actions on the part of the physician, nurse, or even a health care technician an occur and may be caused by:

  • misdiagnosis of fetal conditions

bone fractures in infants

Medical Professionals Must Provide Sensitive Care to Avoid Infant Bone Fractures

Obstetric staff who choose to use excessive force during labor and delivery may sometimes cause other more severe problems to a newborn, such as bone fractures. These injuries most likely could have been avoided by providing closer attention to the mother and fetus and by following a sensitive standard of care during the delivery. For many women and infants impacted by obstetric mistakes, the legal battle can be uphill and costly.

Breech Birth Complications, Delivery Equipment, and Common Bone Fractures

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The High Cost of Treating Birth Injuries

Most parents are not prepared for the ongoing, lifelong financial costs of medical malpractice birth injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control, hospitalization for birth disabilities alone costs the U.S. over $2.6 billion annually. This is in addition to the costs of diagnostic testing, physical therapy, special schooling, caregiver support, and treatments needed for their children. For example, a study published by The National Center for Biotechnology Information studied the ongoing costs for children with cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is the most common type of birth injury diagnosed, with about 4 out of every 1000 babies born suffering from the condition. Cerebral palsy can be the result of a doctor’s mistake or abnormal development during or after pregnancy. It can be caused by infection, fetal or pediatric stroke, undiagnosed maternal health problems, premature birth, and asphyxia, allowing brain damage to occur before, during, or after childbirth.

“Children with cerebral palsy (CP) and co-occurring ID incurred costs that were $41,664 higher” than children without cerebral palsy. Considering how common it is for intellectual disability to occur with cerebral palsy, this number represents a significant number of kids with the disability. On average, costs for “children with both cerebral palsy and intellectual disability were 26 times higher than for children without CP or intellectual disability.”

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Is Premature Infant Death Preventable?

As many as 1 million deaths are the cause of preterm birth complications each year, making it the leading cause of death among children under five years of age in the United States. One of the most common causes of neonatal death is premature birth, as are low birth weight and congenital disabilities. Unfortunately, medical providers can contribute to premature birth injuries and infant deaths due to malpractice and negligence, especially in the case of a physician failing to diagnose and treat prenatal problems, misdiagnosing the distress symptoms of either mom or the fetus, and failing to prevent an unnecessary premature birth. And some untreated problems in pregnancy, such as preeclampsia, problems with the placenta, umbilical cord, and amniotic sac (bag of waters), and asphyxia, are sometimes caused by a woman’s doctor not doing their job.

During the moments before and after a premature baby is born, specific attention and medical care are needed to ensure the infant will not suffer. Both prompt and correct support must create outcomes for a quality life for your child. During these steps, if a physician or medical professional failure occurs, irreversible and heartbreaking outcomes do happen. These injuries suffered at birth can be severely life-altering for both the child and the mother and may even lead to neonatal death.

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Black Infant Mortality Rate Has Remained Unchanged Since 2008

Each year in Illinois, approximately 145,000 live-born infants, and 950 infants die before their first birthday. While the overall infant mortality rate for Illinois infants decreased almost 25% between 2000 and 2018, approximately two-thirds of all infant deaths still occurred during the neonatal period and disproportionally impacted Black babies.

  • Infant mortality: the death of an infant before their first birthday
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