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Birth Injuries/Fetal Death

Your children are your greatest concern in life. Injuries sustained at birth can affect your child's entire future. While many birth injuries are detected immediately, others go undetected until later in the child's developmental stages. If your child is affected or possibly affected, HoganWillig can help review your case and discuss the vital services required to take care of your child's needs throughout their life.

Types of birth injuries:

  • Anoxic and Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy
    Cerebral hypoxia refers to a reduced supply of oxygen to the brain. Cerebral anoxia refers to a complete lack of oxygen to the brain. There are four separate categories of cerebral hypoxia; in order of severity they are; diffuse cerebral hypoxia (DCH), focal cerebral ischemia, cerebral infarction, and global cerebral ischemia. Prolonged hypoxia induces neuronal cell death via apoptosis resulting in a hypoxic brain injury.
    Cases of total oxygen deprivation are termed anoxia, which can be hypoxic in origin (reduced oxygen availability), or ischemic in origin (oxygen deprivation due to a disruption in blood flow). Brain injury as a result of oxygen deprivation either due to hypoxic or anoxic mechanisms are generally termed hypoxic/anoxic injuries (HAI). Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a condition that occurs when the entire brain is deprived of an adequate oxygen supply, but the deprivation isn't total.
  • Brachial Plexus Injury
    The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that conducts signals from the spinal cord, which is housed in the spinal canal of the vertebral column (or spine), to the shoulder, arm and hand. These nerves originate in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth cervical (C5-C8), and first thoracic (T1) spinal nerves, and innervate the muscles and skin of the chest, shoulder, arm and hand. Brachial plexus injuries, or lesions, are caused by damage to those nerves.
    Brachial plexus injuries, or lesions, can occur as a result of shoulder trauma, tumours, or inflammation. Brachial plexus lesions can be classified as either traumatic or obstetric. Obstetric injuries may occur from mechanical injury involving shoulder dystocia during difficult childbirth.
  • Cerebral Palsy
    Cerebral refers to the cerebrum, which is the affected area of the brain (although the disorder most likely involves connections between the cortex and other parts of the brain such as the cerebellum), and palsy refers to disorder of movement. Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the motor control centers of the developing brain and can occur during pregnancy, during childbirth or after birth up to about age three. Resulting limits in movement and posture cause activity limitation and are often accompanied by disturbances of sensation, depth perception and other sight-based perceptual problems, communication ability, and sometimes even cognition; sometimes a form of CP may be accompanied by epilepsy. CP, no matter what the type, is often accompanied by secondary musculoskeletal problems that arise as a result of the underlying problem.
  • Hyperbilirubinemia
    Bilirubin is the yellow breakdown product of normal heme catabolism. Heme is found in hemoglobin, a principal component of red blood cells. Bilirubin is excreted in bile and urine, and elevated levels may indicate certain diseases. It is responsible for the yellow color of bruises, urine, and the yellow discoloration in jaundice. Hyperbilirubinemia is where the bilirubin level in the blood is higher than normal. 
  • Hydrocephalus
    Known as "water on the brain". This is a medical condition in which there is an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles, or cavities, of the brain. This may cause increased intracranial pressure inside the skull and progressive enlargement of the head, convulsion, and mental disability. Hydrocephalus can also cause death. 
  • Labor and Delivery Negligence
    When labor and delivery room nurses and physicians fail to recognize signs of complications and respond quickly and appropriately, a serious birth injury may be the inevitable result. Due to medical mistakes during labor and in the delivery room, many babies and their parents suffer the pain of a birth injury.   Errors such as failure to closely monitor fetal distress, excessive force during delivery, medications prescribed to the mother, are just a few examples of negligence that can lead to birth injuries.
  • Rh-ABO Incompatibility
    Newborn blood incompatibilities occur when the mother's blood contains antibodies against her baby's blood type.  When the mother's blood is transfused to her newborn child via the umbilical cord, the mother's antibodies can cause the breakdown of the baby's red blood cells.  If this occurs, the newborn baby may suffer from jaundice after birth. ABO blood incompatibility directly impacts about twenty to twenty-five percent of all pregnancies.  This type of blood incompatibility isn't as severe as Rh blood incompatibility.  Most often, significant diseases occur when the mother is of type O and the infant is type A or type B blood.  Prenatal testing for type A-antibodies and type B-antibodies isn't recommended because this condition is generally minor in nature. The blood incapability for Rh can be a great risk between a mother and the mother's fetus.  This mother-fetus Rh Blood Incompatibility develops when the father is Rh positive and the mother is Rh negative. Antibodies from the mother may travel through the placenta and damage or destroy the baby's red blood cells.  Rh blood incompatibility is one of the largest causes of blood-related fatal issues for newborn children. 
  • Sholder Dystocia
    Shoulder dystocia is a specific case of dystocia whereby after the delivery of the head, the anterior shoulder of the infant cannot pass below the pubic symphysis, or requires significant manipulation to pass below the pubic symphysis. It is diagnosed when the shoulders fail to deliver shortly after the fetal head. In shoulder dystocia, it is the chin that presses against the walls of the perineum. Shoulder dystocia is an obstetrical emergency, with fetal demise occurring within about 5 minutes if the infant is not delivered, due to compression of the umbilical cord within the birth canal.
  • Uterine Rupture
    Uterine rupture is a potentially catastrophic event during childbirth by which the integrity of the myometrial wall is breached. In an incomplete rupture the peritoneum is still intact. With a complete rupture the contents of the uterus may spill into the peritoneal cavity or the broad ligament. A uterine rupture is a life-threatening event for mother and baby. A uterine rupture typically occurs during early labor, but may already develop during late pregnancy.

The death of an unborn baby can have devastating emotion and physical effects on the baby's parents. Parents of unborn children may have a claim if the death of the unborn baby was caused by the negligence of medical personnel.

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