Remove Medical Malpractice Reform from Trump Budget

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The Trump Administration’s budget proposal for 2018 includes another attempt to pass tort reform for medical malpractice lawsuits. We strongly oppose this effort to weaken compensation for injury victims and urge you to inform your elected representatives that you do not support it.

What Birth Injuries Cause Cerebral Palsy?

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If you’re preparing to have a child or are already pregnant with a child, you might have started to do some research to help make sure that your child is healthy!

One of the things that you might have come across during your research is the term “birth injury.” In case you’re still not sure what a birth injury is, it is a type of medical malpractice that you – or your baby can suffer – that can end up causing severe and permanent harm to your baby.

A common issue that can crop up as a result of a birth injury is cerebral palsy. Indeed, one of the most common consequences of a severe enough birth injury will cause cerebral palsy in your child.

However, as you may have realized from the wording, there are a few other birth injury possibilities that might also cause cerebral palsy. If, when it comes time to have your baby, you think that you or your baby might be a victim of anything listed in this article, contact another doctor and also contact a cerebral palsy birth injury lawyer. 

You might be eligible to make a settlement claim and gain some money to try and increase your child’s standard of living. 

 

Cerebral Palsy

According to the CDC, “Cerebral palsy is a disorder that affects a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. [It] is caused by abnormal development of or damage to the brain.” 

Some people with cerebral palsy will also suffer from other conditions such as intellectual disabilities, seizures, vision, hearing, or speaking problems, spinal deformities, or joint issues.

It’s bad news all around, and to know that it could be caused by medical malpractice is heartbreaking.

Parts of the brain that lead to the different types of cerebral palsy – photo by Ceimile95, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Causes of Cerebral Palsy

Most cases of cerebral palsy are due to genetics. Unfortunately, if a bad hand of the genetic lottery is the cause of cerebral palsy, there isn’t much that can be done to prevent it. 

However, birth injuries are to blame for about 20% of cerebral palsy cases in children. The main cause of cerebral palsy is a severe lack of oxygen to the child’s brain during development, called neonatal anoxic brain injury, or, even worse, significant trauma to the baby’s head during labor or delivery.

 

Trauma

Sometimes, if a baby is stuck or if the baby is in an odd position that might make for a difficult birth, the doctor might attempt to get the baby from the mother’s womb using forceps or a specialized medical vacuum.

However, both of these carry risks of inducing trauma onto the child, which, if severe enough, can result in varying levels of cerebral palsy severity for the baby.

If a doctor is even the slightest bit too forceful using forceps or in a vacuum delivery, your baby can have permanent and irreversible health issues. A vacuum-assisted delivery  injury lawyer may be what you need if this medical malpractice happens to you and your baby.

BruceBlaus, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Birth Complications

Other complications that might occur during birth can also cause cerebral palsy. Complications such as a placenta detaching, the uterus rupturing, or issues with umbilical cord prolapse . . . all of these can negatively affect a baby and make it hard for them to get the oxygen they need. 

A lack of oxygen in the brain is the cause of most cases of cerebral palsy. It is the on-site medical professional’s job to make sure that, in the event of fetal distress in your baby, they act swiftly – but with care – to get oxygen to the baby as quickly and safely as possible.

Anything less might lead to them being sued under the umbrella of medical malpractice. 

 

Other Causes of Cerebral Palsy

Realize that, if you’re thinking you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice, you will only have a leg to stand on if your baby’s cerebral palsy was caused by a doctor’s negligence.

However, a majority of cerebral palsy cases are – unfortunately – caused by genetic deficiencies. If this is the case, there might not be anything you can do, and there also isn’t anything you can do to prevent it.

But in all other situations, there are things that the mother can do to try and lessen the chance – assuming that the doctors hold up their end of the bargain and don’t cause a birth injury – of cerebral palsy in their child.

Some of these things are:

  • Be as healthy as possible before pregnancy
  • Get vaccinated for certain diseases (such as chickenpox and rubella) before becoming pregnant
  • Try to prevent twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc.
  • Get frequent prenatal care
  • Wash your hands often to try and prevent infections that might put the baby at risk
  • Contact a medical professional if you get sick so they can help you manage the sickness in a way that won’t harm the baby
  • Get the flu shot
  • Compare your blood type with that of the baby and work early to prevent problems that might crop up if the baby is a different blood type than the mother 
  • Try to mitigate risks of potential preterm birth
  • React quickly and in the most efficient way possible if your baby shows severe signs of jaundice
  • Vaccinate your child against certain diseases as soon as doing so won’t harm them 

 

Medical Malpractice

If you’ve done all these things and you don’t have a genetic history of cerebral palsy, but your child still ends up with cerebral palsy, you might be a victim of medical malpractice.

If this is the case, and you believe that you or your baby are victims of medical malpractice, contact a lawyer or other knowledgeable professional who will work with you to get justice for the crime committed against you. A Cerebral Palsy Birth Injury Lawyer will be well versed in the complexities of birth injury malpractice cases and can guide you through this difficult time in order to get the compensation you deserve. Call the experienced team of lawyers at Mceldrew Young Purtell Merritt at (866) 721-8431 or fill out or form here for a free consultation on your case today.

What Is Shoulder Dystocia?

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When it comes to giving birth, several risks may occur, even with all the medical advancements of the last one hundred years. The potential for these risks can make childbirth – which is already a nerve-racking experience – seem even scarier.

When you consider that some risks that come with childbirth can come because of medical malpractice (which is when a doctor or medical professional makes a mistake during your treatment that results in injury or worse to whoever they’re treating), the whole experience might seem even scarier.

One of these things might even be shoulder dystocia, which is something that can happen during childbirth to your child – and it can even have consequences on the mother as well.

 

What Is Shoulder Dystocia?

Shoulder dystocia is when the baby’s head has breached the cervix but one of the shoulders becomes stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone. When this happens, it can delay the birth. In this specific case, doctors will likely need to enlist additional help to release the baby’s shoulder.

However, if they do it wrong, they could permanently injure the baby. If this happened to your baby, you might be a victim of medical malpractice and you may require the aid of an experienced infant broken or fractured bone lawyer.

 

What Are The Causes of Shoulder Dystocia?

It might seem scary, but shoulder dystocia can happen to any pregnant woman. Although some factors, called “risk factors,” might make it more likely, shoulder dystocia might end up as a happenstance situation that can’t be prepared for.

Unfortunately, even with the list of risk factors, it can be challenging for providers to predict or prevent shoulder dystocia in your baby.

When it comes to shoulder dystocia, some risk factors include:

  • Having a heavy baby (one that weighs more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces (the more your baby weighs, the more likely it is that you’ll need to have a c-section, which can prevent shoulder dystocia).
  • Having preexisting diabetes or gestational diabetes. Diabetes is a risk factor because women who have gestational diabetes tend to have babies that weigh more (see the first point).
  • Having had a baby suffer from shoulder dystocia in a previous pregnancy.
  • Having multiple babies at one time (twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc.)
  • Being overweight before pregnancy or becoming overweight during pregnancy.

Additionally, some factors might occur during labor that might also increase the chance of shoulder dystocia:

  • Using oxytocin to induce labor.
  • Using a pain aid to help make labor easier, such as an epidural.
  • Having a very short or very long second stage of labor (the part of labor where you push and eventually give birth to your baby).
  • Having an operative vaginal birth/assisted vaginal birth, which is when the doctor will use tools (e.g., forceps or a delivery-vacuum) to help the baby make it through the birth canal.

 

Consequences of Shoulder Dystocia

Luckily, most mothers and babies will recover just fine from instances of shoulder dystocia. There are, of course, some rare cases that count as outliers. However, although they might recover, they might still have to deal with the following issues.

For babies:

  • Fractures may happen in the collarbone or the arm.
  • Damaged brachial plexus nerves (these are the nerves that go from the spinal cord in the neck to the arm, and they’re the ones that provide feeling and movement in the arms, shoulder, and hands.)
  • Although this one is quite rare, neonatal asphyxia can cause brain damage or even death to the baby.

For the mother: 

  • Postpartum hemorrhaging, which is when the mother experiences extremely heavy – potentially deadly – amounts of bleeding after they give birth.
  • Tearing of the perineum – severe enough that they might need surgery.
  • Uterine rupturing, which is when the uterus tears during labor. Although this happening is rare, it is still very possible.

 

Medical Malpractice

Shoulder dystocia is one of the potential consequences of an atypical birth. If you suffered this, you might be eligible for a medical malpractice claim. Seek out birth injury lawyers in PA that specifically work within this sphere, so that you know you’ll get quality service from the lawyer.

If you have a settlement claim and you succeed with it, you might end up with the funds necessary to give your child the life you want for them. Additionally, funds that end up being used for special needs situations – such as what your child might be experiencing especially those suffering from a brachial plexus birth injury – don’t count as taxable income and they also accrue interest. This can help your child be financially secure throughout their life. 

Whatever your specific needs, if you or your child ends up experiencing shoulder dystocia, make sure to do whatever you need to do for you and yours to receive the justice you deserve. Call the team at Mceldrew Young Purtell Merritt for a free consultation at (866) 721-8431, or fill out our contact for here.

Recorded Surgeries May Be Future of Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

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Medical malpractice litigation frequently requires doctors acting as experts to opine about what happened in the operating room based on the notes of the surgical staff and subsequent treatment by physicians. However, laws under consideration by the legislature of Wisconsin and possibly New York would allow patients to have their surgeries recorded. When things go wrong, this could make it easier for medical malpractice attorneys to prove that the medical team was negligent in their patient care.

Improper Fetal Heart Monitoring Complications That Might Count As Medical Malpractice

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When it comes to childbirth, doctors are meant to be there to make sure that everything is going as smoothly as possible. They are meant to use technological advancements, science, and eagle-eyed monitoring to ensure that the baby is never in distress and that everything goes well.

There is, of course, the possibility that things outside of their scope occur, but all the same, most events are meant to go as smoothly as possible when it comes to childbirth.

One of the ways that they might continue to watch and make sure that things go well during childbirth is to monitor the heart of the fetus as it’s emerging from the birth canal.

Childbirth is hard on the mother and on the baby. For this reason, doctors are meant to take consistent stock of the mother’s status and the baby’s status by monitoring their heart rates and other factors.

If a doctor didn’t do proper monitoring, there might be complications during childbirth, and you might be eligible for a settlement claim for birth injury medical malpractice.

 

Medical Malpractice

Fetal distress is when a baby’s heart rate is either much higher or much lower than expected. This typically means that the baby is struggling to get enough oxygen. This is why it is vital for doctors to monitor the heart rates and ensure everything is going all right. A lack of oxygen in the newborn can lead to complications such as infant asphyxia which can lead to problems as serious as seizures or cerebral palsy caused by birth complication.

If you think you’ve been a victim of medical malpractice, and if you think you or your baby are suffering from it, please contact a lawyer to discuss if you have any grounds for a settlement claim.

 

Preventing Fetal Distress

Fetal distress is when a baby’s heart rate is either much higher or much lower than expected. This typically means that the baby is struggling to get enough oxygen. This is why it is important for doctors to monitor the heart rates and make sure everything is going all right.

If doctors discover that there is something improper going on with the baby’s heartbeat, there are a few things they can do to try and help the baby.

The end goal is to make sure that the baby is getting enough oxygen, and this can be helped by:

  • Doing an amnioinfusion, which is a process that refers to the installation of fluid into the amniotic cavity to fix an extremely low amount of amniotic fluid in the amniotic cavity.
  • Administering extra oxygen to the mother
  • Providing the mother with additional IV fluids
  • Changing the mother’s position
  • Stimulating the fetal scalp which might help accelerate the baby’s heart rate
  • Decreasing or stopping contraction-enhancing medications such as Pitocin or Cytotec
  • Doing a C-Section

When it comes to making sure that a baby is in distress for the shortest amount of time possible, the best way to manage this is to perform an emergency c-section on the mother. When it comes to helping a baby, there are truly very few things a doctor can do to try and get the baby out of the distressing situation, which means it might be best to default to a C-section. Sometimes if the doctors delay a c-section too long, the damage to the baby cannot be reversed, and this is considered a delayed c-section medical malpractice case.

Once they get the baby from the uterus, the possibilities open up for what the doctors can do to help the baby. Once the baby is out of the mother, doctors can initiate resuscitation or other procedures to help the baby no longer be distressed.

 

Are You In Need of Legal Help?

If you think that you or your baby are victims of improper fetal heart monitoring, then you should reach out to a legal team to see if you’re eligible for additional support or a settlement claim. 

If you or your baby is suffering from the consequences of fetal monitoring errors, hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), or other birth-related injuries, seek help. The reason you might have a claim is because fetal monitoring is meant to help the medical staff on the scene take immediate and beneficial actions.

However, if a medical professional misinterprets or ignores these signs, you might be eligible for a medical malpractice claim. The sole purpose of the fetal cardiac monitor is to alert any on-site medical staff of any signs of fetal distress. If the baby ends up in any distress, the medical professionals are meant to use swift and appropriate actions to get the baby out of distress. If a healthcare provider ignores or misinterprets however they’re monitoring the signs of fetal distress, it might result in oxygen deprivation and newborn brain damage.

This is called medical malpractice and falls under the umbrella of a birth injury.

Because of how important and detrimental these types of cases can be, birth injury cases will typically require extensive and highly specialized knowledge to have a claim filed. If you want to see the best results for your claim, you must make sure that your lawyer is well-versed in both medical practices and in law practices.

Make sure that you work with a lawyer or with a firm that has a proven track record of success when it comes to cases involving birth injuries and other similar complications. The PA Birth Injury lawyers at Mceldrew Young Purtell Merritt have handled hundreds of birth injury cases, and have extensive knowledge on how to make sure you get the damages you deserve to make your life easier after such a traumatic experience. Call 1-866-721-8431 or fill out our form for a free consultation – we want to get you the representation that you deserve!

15 Year Low in PA Medical Malpractice Jury Verdicts

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Surgeon with medical equipment

We have previously written about the drop in PA medical malpractice lawsuits since the legislature required plaintiffs to obtain a certificate of merit from an expert to file a complaint. It turns out that we are also seeing new lows in the number of jury verdicts reached in Pennsylvania courts to resolve medical malpractice disputes.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) Increasing Along With Rising Opioid Abuse Nationwide

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From 2004 to 2014, health officials began to sound the alarm, as the number of children born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) increased five-fold. Yet the problem has only gotten worse in recent years, and 24 states across the country are now reporting increases of 100% or more for infants with drug withdrawal symptoms from 2010 to 2017. 

Opioid abuse in the United States was already reaching record levels in 2019, and the ongoing global pandemic has only worsened the crisis. The opioid epidemic has been aided by doctors inappropriately prescribing pain medication to patients who do not need it, and negligence on the part of drug makers. Although the coronavirus has dominated the headlines over the last year, the attorneys at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt have been closely following developments with the ongoing opioid crisis in an effort to keep consumers informed of the latest trends. 

 

What Is NAS?

Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is the term used for a group of symptoms that can appear after a baby is exposed to opioids or other substances while in the womb. Once diagnosed, infants who receive treatment often get better within a few days, but NAS can also cause lifelong problems for the infant’s health and development. 

NAS can be caused by substances other than opioids, such as sleeping pills or antidepressants. It can also be caused by street drugs like heroin, and prescription opioids such as:

  • Oxycodone (OxyContin®, Percocet®)
  • Methadone
  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin®)
  • Morphine
  • Tramadol
  • Buprenorphine

How Does a Baby Get NAS?

When a baby is still in the womb, they absorb their mother’s nutritional and medicinal intake through the placenta. Powerful drugs like opioids easily cross through the placenta and affect the unborn child. This can leave an infant with a chemical dependency on whatever drugs their mother is taking, just like the chemical dependency that adults develop when becoming addicted to a substance. 

When the baby is born, they will no longer receive a supply of opiates from their mother, and they begin to experience withdrawal symptoms, just like an adult would. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and can last days to weeks depending on treatment and severity. 

What Are the Symptoms of NAS?

Symptoms vary from case to case, depending on how frequently the mother used opiates, the baby’s gestational age (how many weeks old the baby was when it was born), or what drugs were taken. Common symptoms can include:

  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Excessive fussiness
  • Breathing problems
  • Poor feeding or slow weight gain
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Lots of yawning and trouble sleeping

Recent Increases in NAS

JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) reported in early 2021 that NAS has increased by 82% from 2010 to 2017, while mothers with an opioid diagnosis during pregnancy have increased by 131% in the same period. 

The opioid crisis has continued to worsen over the past decade, with opioids causing nearly 47,000 deaths in 2018. Philadelphia has been hit particularly hard by this crisis, with Pennsylvania seeing over 4,000 deaths in the same year. Pennsylvania ranks as the 8th hardest-hit state in the country for rates of NAS, with nearly 15 out of every 1000 newborns hospitalized for NAS.

 

Experience Matters

Multiple studies have linked opioid exposure in the womb to physical and cognitive issues later in life. The effects of NAS can cause lifelong issues for these infants and their families, and the costs of treatment over a lifetime can be astronomical. Yet reports keep coming in of doctors and pharmacies overprescribing opioids, with full knowledge of the dangers they cause. 

The attorneys at McEldrew Young Purtell Merritt have successfully brought lawsuits against companies who tried to illegally profit off of opiates, including taking part in a $225 million lawsuit against INSYS Therapeutics, after INSYS paid kickbacks and engaged in other illegal marketing tactics to promote sales of its fentanyl spray, Subsys. This kind of experience is critical in bringing a successful wrongful death, medical malpractice, or qui tam lawsuit against a major pharmaceutical company or medical practice. Contact us for a free consultation today by filling out our form or by calling us directly at 1-866-521-0865.

Report: Medical Diagnostic Errors Effect Most Americans

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12 Million Americans suffer a wrong or late diagnosis by our medical system each year. At this rate, most Americans will have at least one error in their lives, according to a new report by an institute of the National Academy of Sciences.

Should Medical Malpractice Be Overhauled?

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Tort reform has diminished the availability of medical malpractice lawsuits in many states, leaving the option a viable one for fewer patients with an injury they suspect was caused by poor medical treatment. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands suffer an injury during their medical care every year in the United States. As a result, we expect there will be increasing debate over whether an alternative to the present system is warranted.

Study: Frequent Medication Errors During Surgery

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A study of surgical procedures at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital found that there are medication errors or adverse drug events in almost half of all surgeries.

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