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What Types of Birth Injuries Can Be Caused by Hypoxia?While a baby is still in the womb, oxygen is delivered to the infant via the placenta and umbilical cord. One of the most critical times during the birth process is the baby’s transition to breathing on his or her own. When problems occur during this transition, the baby may receive too little oxygen. Hypoxia, or inadequate oxygen, can lead to a number of devastating birth injuries as well as death.

What Complications Can Lead to Hypoxia?

Hypoxia is often caused when a problem with the baby’s umbilical cord reduces the oxygen available to him or her. Nuchal umbilical cord occurs when the umbilical cord wraps around the baby’s neck. A short umbilical cord or knotted umbilical cord can also cause hypoxia. Umbilical cord prolapse occurs when the cord drops through the mother’s cervix and reduces blood flow to the baby. Placental abruption occurs when the placenta separates from the uterus. This can not only deprive the baby of oxygen but may also cause dangerously heavy bleeding in the mother. The use of forceps has also been shown to sometimes cause hypoxia.

Hypoxia Can Cause Life-Altering Injuries

Doctors should be aware of the risk factors associated with hypoxia as well as the warning signs that a baby is not receiving enough oxygen. If swift action to correct low oxygen is not taken, the baby may develop:

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What Types of Brain Injuries Can Occur During Birth?Your baby’s birth is supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life. Unfortunately, for many parents, an unexpected birth injury fills the day with uncertainty and fear. Brain injuries during birth can be especially frightening. When an infant suffers brain damage during birth, he or she may develop problems that last the rest of his or her life. If the injury is the result of medical malpractice, the child’s parents may be entitled to compensation for the losses they have suffered because of the brain injury.

Brain Injuries Caused by Problems During Birth

There are numerous medical complications that can arise during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Asphyxia, or lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain, is one of the most concerning birth injuries that a baby can experience. Brain injuries can also be caused by physical trauma during delivery or infections that travel through the bloodstream and enter the baby’s brain.

  • Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) – When a baby’s brain receives too little oxygen before, during, or after birth, brain tissue may start to die. Once oxygenated blood flow returns to normal, a “reperfusion injury” is caused by the toxins that are released by the dying brain cells. HIE can be caused by umbilical cord problems, uterine rupture, placental abruption, feto-maternal hemorrhage, trauma during delivery, shoulder dystocia, and other conditions that reduce blood flow to the baby’s brain.
  • Neonatal Stroke – The most common type of fetal stroke, an arterial ischemic stroke, often occurs when blood flow within a baby's brain or spinal cord is blocked by a blood clot. Fetal strokes are more common when the baby or mother suffers from a cardiac disorder, a genetic condition affecting blood clotting, or sickle cell anemia.
  • Cystic Encephalomalacia Infections, physical trauma, or inflammation may result in the softening or death of brain matter. Cystic encephalomalacia can lead to intellectual disabilities, seizures, coma, and, in some cases, even death.
  • Microcephaly – When a baby is born with a much smaller head than is normal, the baby can develop problems learning to walk and talk, intellectual disabilities, feeding problems, hearing and vision loss, seizures, and other significant symptoms.
  • Skull Fractures – Usually, skull fractures are the result of the use of instruments like forceps and vacuum extractors during birth. Skull fractures can cause bleeding, brain damage, and ruptures in the membranes enveloping the brain.
  • Cerebral Palsy – Injuries to the brain during labor and delivery are some of the most common causes of cerebral palsy. A child with cerebral palsy may suffer from spastic muscles, problems with movement and coordination, difficulty swallowing, and a number of other debilitating symptoms.

Contact an Illinois Birth Injury Lawyer

Brain injuries during birth or pregnancy are sometimes caused by a doctor’s negligence. If a child develops a condition such as cerebral palsy or other health problems after being the victim of medical negligence, the parents may be entitled to compensation. To learn more, contact Schwartz Injury Law at 815-723-7300 and schedule a free consultation with a skilled Joliet personal injury attorney.

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What Causes a Baby To Suffer From Hypoxia?The birth of a new child should be one of the happiest moments of a person’s life. Sadly, many babies suffer from birth injuries that cause serious, often permanent problems. One issue that can happen during birth is hypoxia, which is inadequate oxygen. When a baby does not receive enough oxygen to his or her brain, there can be debilitating brain damage that causes severe impairment. In some cases, hypoxia-related injuries are a result of medical malpractice. If you have reason to believe that medical negligence played a role in your child’s birth injury, contact an experienced attorney to learn about your legal options.

Factors That May Increase the Risk of Neonatal Hypoxia

The human brain needs a steady flow of oxygen in order to function properly. When an infant’s brain does not receive enough oxygen before, during, or after delivery, the brain can become severely damaged. Doctors and nurses should be aware of the risk factors for hypoxia and the warning signs that a baby may be suffering from hypoxia so that swift corrective action can be taken to prevent brain damage. Some of the most common risk factors for hypoxia include:

  • Prolonged or traumatic delivery
  • Umbilical cord injuries
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Placental insufficiency and placental abruption
  • Excessive hemorrhaging during pregnancy or delivery
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Infection

Even if an infant is deprived of oxygen, brain damage and other permanent effects may be avoided through medical treatments such as hypo-or-hyperthermia management, cooling therapy, fluid management, and ventilation. If hypoxia progresses into brain injury, the infant may develop cerebral palsy, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, cognitive impairment, and other serious disorders.

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Common Birth Injuries That Can Be Caused by Medical NegligenceGiving birth to a child is one of the most miraculous experiences that a person can have. Sadly, some births do not go as planned. Research shows that about seven out of every 1000 births results in a birth injury. Some of these birth injuries are unavoidable. Others, however, are the result of negligence or wrongdoing by a doctor, nurse, or another medical professional. When medical malpractice causes an infant to be seriously injured, the results can be devastating.

Babies With Certain Risk Factors Are Most Likely to Be Injured During Birth

Infants are more likely to be injured during birth when medical devices such as a vacuum extractor or forceps are used. Some of these injuries are only superficial cuts and bruises but others, such as intracranial hemorrhages, can cause serious, long-term damage. Babies are also more likely to suffer injury if they:

  • Are born prematurely
  • Are very large
  • Have a breech presentation
  • Experience excessive traction or rotation during delivery

However, birth injuries can still occur even when no risk factors are present.

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Can Cerebral Palsy Be Linked to Medical Malpractice?Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a congenital disorder that affects an individual’s muscle movement, tone, and posture. Because it hinders the body’s ability to move in a coordinated manner, people that are diagnosed with CP may need assistance with bodily functions such as breathing, eating, and motor skills. Since CP is often caused by brain damage that occurred either before or during a child’s birth, early detection can help parents establish a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you suspect that a doctor, nurse, physician, or medical staff member acted negligently during your pregnancy or at the time of birth, it is important to speak with an experienced birth injury attorney.

What Can Cause Cerebral Palsy?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CP is the most common motor disability found in children. Although the explanation of CP is not always known, there are several causes that can be linked to the disorder, such as:

  • Genetic illness
  • Low birth weight
  • Untreated jaundice
  • Premature birth
  • A stroke in the womb or after birth
  • Lack of oxygen reaching the brain
  • Infections during pregnancy
  • Medical problems faced by the mother during pregnancy

The failure of medical professionals to act accordingly throughout pregnancy or the birthing process can also lead to CP. For instance, if infections or changes in heart rate go undetected, the doctor or nurse may be held liable. Furthermore, the careless actions of a medical staff member may lead to CP. Improper tool use, medication errors, or administrative mistakes can be linked to medical malpractice.

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Can Using Forceps During Childbirth Injury a Baby?While it is uncommon for babies to suffer serious birth injuries during an assisted birth, it can still happen if the doctor miscalculates or misuses a device.

If a mother is having difficulty during labor, a doctor will sometimes use forceps or a vacuum to help guide the baby through the birth canal. However, this should not be the first step to coaxing a baby through a difficult birth. It is risky to pull too hard on a baby during birth because it can lead to: 

  • Nerve damage;
  • Muscle weakness;
  • Exterior eye injury;
  • Skull fracture;
  • Seizures; and
  • Bleeding within the skull.

Most of the time the injuries are minor cuts to the baby’s scalp or wherever the forceps grab the baby, but parents whose child sustained more serious injuries should file a medical malpractice lawsuit as soon as possible.

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Will County birth injuries lawyerEvery parent hopes for just one thing when they prepare for the birth of a child: a healthy baby. So, in cases where a baby is born with broken bones or another ailment, the special day can turn into a nightmare for the parents.

Birth injuries such as broken bones sustained during labor can leave a baby in a lot of pain and even the possibility of long-term disability. Unfortunately, the injury is commonly a result of medical negligence in which a doctor does not notice that a baby is too big to pass through the birth canal without injury. In such a case, the doctor should order for a cesarean birth to make the process easier for both mother and baby.

How do I Know if My Baby Was Born with a Broken Bone?

Babies can feel the pain of a broken bone just as easily as an adult can, but they cannot tell their parents or the doctor what is the source of their pain. According to the Birth Injury Guide, a clavicle (collarbone) break is the most common injury after a complicated delivery. It can be the result of not enough room for the baby to pass through the birth canal or too hard of a pull from the person delivering the baby.

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Joliet Birth Injury Attorney

If your baby suffered a birth injury as a result of medical errors in treating meconium aspiration, you may want to seek malpractice compensation in order to provide proper lifetime care for your child.

What Is Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (MAS)?

In the womb, a baby does not use its lungs to breathe in oxygen. It cannot, since the baby is surrounded by amniotic fluid in the uterus. Instead, a baby receives oxygen through the umbilical cord. However, a baby in the womb will take “practice breaths” that harmlessly draw clean amniotic fluid into its lungs.

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Orland Park birth injury attorney medical expertWhen a hospital or birth center fails to adhere to obstetric standards of care, a baby can suffer severe birth injuries. One health professional’s negligence, or a combination of medical mistakes, can cause irreparable harm to both the child and mother.

Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit may be far from the minds of grieving parents. However, it is crucial to begin the evidence-gathering process as soon as possible after an infant death or injury, because memories quickly fade, and important evidence could be lost. While you have up to eight years to file a birth injury claim in Illinois, it takes months to gather the necessary evidence and prepare to file a claim.  

Medical Records Review and Analysis

Medical errors, particularly a failure to recognize danger signs, can happen at any time before, during, or after labor and delivery. Therefore, your lawyer’s first job will be to obtain complete medical records for both mother and baby. These records will be the most important factor in your case. 

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Joliet birth injury lawyer

When you see headlines about babies weighing 10, 12, or even 14 pounds at birth, you might wonder how common this really is and whether such large babies are at a greater risk for some type of birth injury

An estimated 7 percent of babies born in the US weigh more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces at birth, qualifying them for the medical term macrosomia, which means “large for its age.” Just 1 percent of all babies weigh in at 9 ½ pounds or more, the weight at which obstetrical best practices suggest a baby should be delivered by cesarean section. 

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Tinley Park birth injury lawyer hypoxia

What Is the Statute of Limitations on a Birth Injury Claim in Illinois?

Illinois law recognizes that the extent of a birth injury is often not fully realized until a child nears school age. The Illinois medical malpractice statute of limitations, which you can find at 735 ILCS section 5/13-212(a), states that the statute of limitations is 8 years after a child’s birth to file a birth injury claim for damages.

Oxygen Deprivation May Be Attributed to Medical Malpractice

Birth injuries due to hypoxia are often preventable. Labor and delivery staff are expected to closely monitor the baby’s heart rate and take swift action if there are signs that the baby’s health is in danger. If labor and delivery professionals are negligent and fail to meet the medical standard of care, causing significant injury and damages to a baby, they can be sued for medical malpractice.

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Tinley Park birth injury lawyer maternal deathYou may be shocked to learn that the number of U.S. women who died while giving birth has risen over the past 15 years, from 700 deaths in 2000 to 1,063 in 2015. Over the same 15-year period, the U.S. maternal mortality ratio rose from 17.5 to 26.4 deaths per 100,000 live births. Of course, not all of those deaths are attributable to medical malpractice. But these statistics do raise questions. Why has the maternal mortality ratio in the U.S. gone up? Why are maternal death rates are so much higher in some states than others? Are some of these deaths preventable?

California, for example, has a maternal death ratio of just 4.5, while Illinois has a reported ratio of 14.7. An Illinois study published in 2014 suggested that roughly one-third of maternal deaths in Illinois could have been prevented. 

Preventable Maternal Deaths During Childbirth

Some birth injuries leading to maternal death are blamed on poverty, lack of access to health care services, and untreated chronic conditions such as obesity, smoking, substance abuse, diabetes, cardiovascular issues, and mental health disorders.

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Tinley Park birth injury lawyer oxygen deprivationOxygen deprivation during the birth process is a common cause of brain damage in newborns. While some cases of oxygen deprivation are unforeseeable, invisible, and unpreventable, other cases can be attributed to medical malpractice. It is crucial that hospitals and birthing centers respond quickly to provide treatment if there is any indication that a baby is suffering or has suffered oxygen deprivation during birth.

Brain Damage Due to Oxygen Deprivation in Cook County 

One of the most common causes of brain-related birth injuries is delayed delivery of the baby. A baby that stays in the birth canal too long can suffer permanent brain damage due to lack of blood flow and oxygen. Oxygen deprivation can also result from umbilical cord problems or other complications during birth. The technical term for oxygen deprivation at or near the time of birth is birth asphyxia

As a result of oxygen deprivation during birth, two to three out of every 1,000 babies born in the US are diagnosed with a condition known as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Breaking down this term: hypoxic = lack of oxygen, ischemic = restricting blood flow, and encephalopathy = affecting the brain. Children with HIE can have cognitive impairments as well as deficits in motor skills.

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Orland Park medical malpractice attorney, patient informed concentMedical malpractice involves more than a physician's negligence. A doctor can be held liable if he or she fails to inform the patient about the “general nature” of a procedure and the patient is subsequently injured. Informed consent in this context includes explaining the “risks involved, the prospects of success, the prognosis if the procedure is not performed, and alternative treatments."

Court Reinstates Malpractice Claim Over Child Injured During Delivery

Informed consent often comes up when dealing with birth injuries. There are cases where a doctor fails to properly warn an expectant mother of the risks of natural childbirth. As a result, the child may be injured during delivery and suffer lifelong consequences.

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