Articles Posted in Birth Injury

An opera singer has filed suit against the U.S. government, alleging medical malpractice at a U.S. Army hospital. Herbst v. United States, No. 1:14-cv-00055, complaint (S.D. Oh., Jan. 16, 2014). She is claiming that a botched surgical procedure during childbirth has left her unable to work in her profession. Since the hospital is operated by the U.S. government, and the medical professionals working there were all government employees at the time, the lawsuit claims that the federal government is liable under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). 28 U.S.C. §§ 2671, et seq. The doctrine of sovereign immunity generally bars lawsuits against the government, but statutes like the FTCA establish situations in which the government may be sued for injuries.

The plaintiff is a classically-trained opera singer, who was previously with the Nashville Opera Company. Her husband is a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. She went to Blanchfield Army Community Hospital (BACH) at Fort Campbell, where she and her husband resided, on February 27, 2012. She was thirty-nine weeks pregnant at the time, and had experienced spontaneous rupture of membranes. This is commonly known as having one’s water break, meaning that labor has started.

She gave birth to a healthy baby boy. During delivery, a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) reportedly performed a midline episiotomy, a procedure that widens the vaginal opening by making an incision in the perineum. The plaintiff states that she did not consent to this procedure, nor was she told about the possible need for it. Risks associated with an episiotomy include further tearing during or after birth.

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Our Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers represent families whose babies were injured before, during, or right after delivery. We know how devastating it can be to have an occasion as joyful as the birth of a child to be marred because an obstetrician, gynecologist, anesthesiologist, or another medical professional was negligent.

One of the more common injuries that can occur during delivery as a result of Maryland medical malpractice is the brachial plexus injury, which is also known as Erb’s Palsy. This type of injury can happen if traumatic stretching of the infant’s brachial plexus (this area runs from the spine to the muscles in the arms and shoulders and can also impact the arms and hands) occurs when trying to get him/her out. For example, if labor has gone too long or the baby is in breech or if his/her shoulder is stuck under the mother’s pubic bone or in the birth canal, his/her head may have to be pushed away from the shoulder while the arm is forced upward or the shoulder is pushed downward to get the baby out. If too much force is exerted, stretching or tearing of the baby’s nerve can occur and permanent and serious injuries (including partial or total paralysis) can result.

Just recently, a jury awarded a family $1.3 million against the doctor who delivered their child in 2006. In their birthing malpractice lawsuit, the couple claimed that their doctor could have performed a C-section or applied techniques other than excessive traction to free their daughter’s shoulder during birth. Because of her brachial plexus injury, she still isn’t fully able to use her left arm.

Brachial plexus injuries can be avoided. Common reasons why they occur:
• Failure to properly estimate the baby’s weight and size
• Applying too much traction to the baby’s neck during labor
• Failure to properly monitor for fetal distress
• Failure to properly gauge whether/not baby’s shoulder can easily move through the birth canal
Jury awards $1.3 million in childbirth lawsuit against doctor, WCF Courier, July 20, 2011

Related Web Resources:

Brachial plexus injury, MayoClinic
What are Brachial Plexus Injuries?, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

More Blog Posts:

Maryland Birthing Malpractice Leaves Devastating Consequences for Parents and Child, Maryland Accident Law Blog, May 30, 2011
Can Maryland Birthing Malpractice Cause Autism?, Maryland Accident Law Blog, July 16, 2011
Maryland Birthing Malpractice: Expansion of Consent Doctrine Restores $13 Million Cerebral Palsy Verdict, Maryland Accident Law Blog, July 31, 2009

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According to researchers from Brown University and Harvard School of Public Health, complications and problems during and after birth might increase the chances of a child developing autism. While the authors acknowledged that the causes of autism are not known, they were able to narrow down the factors that could be linked to autism, including:

• Birth injury
• Birth trauma
• Low 5-minute Apgar score
• Meconium aspiration
• Maternal hemorrhage
• Abnormal presentation
• Multiple births
• Umbilical cord complications
• A birth that occurs during the summer
• RH or AB incompatibility
• Small for gestational age
• Congenital malformation
• Hyperbilirubinemia
• Fetal distress
• Low birth weight
• Neonatal anemia
• Low oxygen during delivery
• Fetal distress

While some of these factors are out of an obstetrician’s hands, there are ways to prevent certain birth injuries from happening. For example, monitoring the fetus’s vital statistics, as well as that of the mother, making sure that the baby gets enough oxygen, and not making any medical mistakes that could cause Maryland birth injury or trauma.

To have your child diagnosed with autism can be a severe blow for the entire family. Not only might your child never be able to live a “normal” life, but he/she will likely require costly therapies and other services to help them deal with their special needs. Some autistic children may never be able to support themselves or live independently. Your child may have to contend with bullying and emotional isolation while growing up. Autism takes a toll on the entire family.

If you believe that a medical mistake before, during, or after birth caused your son/daughter to develop autism, you may have grounds for a Baltimore birthing malpractice lawsuit.

Perinatal and Neonatal Risk Factors for Autism: A Comprehensive Meta-Analysis, Pediatrics, July 11, 2011
Low oxygen during birth may contribute to autism, Barchester, July 13, 2011
Environmental factors for autism: Low oxygen during delivery, summer births, The Imperfect Parent, July 12, 2011

Related Web Resources:

Autism Speaks

Autism Fact Sheet, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

More Blog Posts:
Maryland Medical Malpractice?: Doctor and His Son Accused of Putting Autism Patients at Risk, Maryland Accident Law Blog, May 19, 2011
Baltimore Couple Files $20 Million Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Alleging Wrongful Birth, Maryland Accident Law Blog, July 6, 2010
$3,991,000 Million Maryland Cerebral Palsy Verdict Awarded to Family, Maryland Accident Law Blog, June 3, 2009

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Our Baltimore birth injury lawyers are aware of the devastating effects resulting from Maryland birthing malpractice. We also know how important it is to obtain financial recovery from all liable parties.

Serious injuries sustained from birth can disable a child for life and strapping his/her chances of leading a normal life, while strapping parents with hefty, nearly impossible to afford medical and long-term care expenses. It is important that you work with an experienced Maryland medical malpractice law firm that knows how to prove negligence.

Examples of injuries that can occur from birthing negligence:
• Vacuum injuries
• Cerebral palsy
• Hypoxia
• Developmental delays
• Forceps injuries
• Shoulder dystocia
• Brain injuries
• Wrongful death
Examples of common types of medical mistakes that may occur:
• Rushing to deliver the baby
• Failure to monitor vitals
• Failure to provide appropriate prenatal care
• Failure to test for fetal abnormalities
• Waiting too long to deliver the baby via C-section
• Anesthesia errors

Unfortunately, many hospitals and medical professionals will deny allegations of birthing malpractice.

A recent birthing malpractice case that made national headlines is the one in which the jury awarded a couple $58 million. Dominic and Cathy D’Attilo’s son was Daniel was born with severe birth injuries, including brain damage. They accused Dr. Richard Viscarello of waiting too long to perform a C-section. Daniel, now 8, is unable to walk or talk.

$58 Million Awarded To Connecticut Couple In Delayed C-Section Case, CBS, May 26, 2011

Related Web Resources:

Medical Malpractice, Nolo
Cerebral Palsy, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
More Blog Posts:
Maryland Birthing Malpractice: Expansion of Consent Doctrine Restores $13 Million Cerebral Palsy Verdict, Maryland Accident Law Blog, July 31, 2009
$3,991,000 Million Maryland Cerebral Palsy Verdict Awarded to Family, Maryland Accident Law Blog, June 3, 2009
Parents of Baby who Suffered from Permanent Brain Injury Awarded $4.4 Million for Birthing Malpractice, Maryland Accident Law Blog, February 20, 2009

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The decision by Maryland’s highest court to extend the doctrine of informed consent to doctors’ talks with patients about medical options has resulted in the reinstatement of a $13 million birthing malpractice verdict to a mother whose son was born with cerebral palsy. Peggy McQuitty and Dylan filed a Baltimore County medical malpractice lawsuit against Dr. Donald Spangler, their obstetrician in September 2001.

They accused Spangler of failing to tell her when she was 32 weeks pregnant, and an abnormality had been detected during an ultrasound, that if she had an immediate C-section her baby might be born healthy. McQuitty then experienced a complete uterine abruption several days later and had to undergo an emergency C-section.

A jury ruled issued its Maryland medical malpractice verdict in the plaintiffs’ favor. The judge, however, allowed the defendant’s request for judgment not withstanding verdict and noted that the doctrine of informed consent only applies to “affirmative violations of the patient’s physical integrity,” not the doctor’s inaction.

In Maryland, a jury awarded the family of Ryan Dineen $3,991,000 for their cerebral palsy lawsuit. Ryan is now 9.

His family’s Maryland cerebral palsy lawsuit accuses medical staff members at Frederick Memorial Hospital of medical malpractice related to Ryan’s birth in May 2000. Named as defendants in the civil complaint were the hospital, three nurses, and three doctors. However, the jury found only two doctors, Dr. Brian Raider and Dr. Edward Chen, negligent for Ryan’s birth injury.

According to the Maryland birthing malpractice lawsuit, Suzette Dineen, an Adamstown resident, was 36 weeks pregnant with Ryan when she was admitted to the Maryland hospital for vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. She claims that after she arrived at the hospital, staff members failed to properly monitor her baby’s fetal heartbeat.

A jury has ordered a US hospital to pay the parents of Sierra Wilson, a baby who sustained permanent brain injuries at birth, $4.4 million for birthing malpractice. According to the family’s medical malpractice lawsuit, Sierra, who was born in 2003, suffered a lack of oxygen during birth that caused her to sustain a permanent birth injury. She died in February 2008.

The complaint also contends that a nurse trainee assigned to her mother’s care at Piedmont Medical Center neglected to correctly monitor the fetal heart strips and, as a result, did not realize that Sierra was in fetal distress and needed to undergo an emergency procedure as soon as possible.

According to Sierra’s family, she was never able to talk, walk, or eat solid food throughout the duration of her short life and spent a great deal of time undergoing occupational therapy, speech therapy, and physical therapy. Her parents and two siblings say they worked hard together to take care of her.

In Maryland last week, attorneys for both sides in the wrongful death suit of Baby Caleb rested their cases. Caleb Taylor’s obstetrician, Dr. Jason Evans, is accused of negligence during the baby’s delivery in 2004. The prosecution claims that Dr. Evans waited too long before performing a c-section on Caleb’s mother Casey. A jury will be asked to determine the amount of compensation for the suffering and loss caused by Caleb’s death. He was born with severe complications and died nine days after his birth. The defense claims that Evans could not perform the c-section until the anesthesiologist arrived at the hospital.

The state of Maryland has a wrongful death cap of $885,000.

A birth injury or trauma is an injury that happens to a baby during birth. A delay in delivery of a baby can cause profound injury to a child due to oxygen deprivation. These injuries include damage to the brain, cerebral palsy, erbs palsy, and other physical and neurological injuries.

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