Ann Arbor Birth Injury Lawyers
Representing young victims of medical malpractice in the Ann Arbor area and throughout the country
Ann Arbor hospitals are known for their expertly-trained staff and dedication to patients. However, the medical professionals working at these facilities may still make mistakes. Unfortunately, in cases that involve fragile newborns, these errors may lead to serious complications and lasting damage. If your child suffered a birth injury (such as birth asphyxia or a traumatic birth injury) at an Ann Arbor hospital, a birth injury attorney can help you pursue justice and obtain compensation for the care and resources they will need. Birth injuries often result in permanent disabilities such as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and cerebral palsy (CP), both of which can require extensive treatment and therapy over a lifetime.
ABC Law Centers is one of the only law firms in the world that exclusively handles birth injury cases. Our unique focus means that we have a thorough knowledge of the complex medical aspects of these cases. Our focus also allows us to work with leading experts, top medical specialists, and life-planning professionals through every step of a birth injury case. Partners Jesse Reiter, Rebecca Walsh, and Euel Kinsey are currently recognized as three of the best medical malpractice lawyers in America by U.S. News and World Report. Contact our birth injury attorneys at ABC Law Centers today at 866-822-7484. Our office is located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, but we have served many clients in the Ann Arbor area.
Ann Arbor hospitals
The Ann Arbor area is home to several excellent hospitals that provide top-notch care to patients, including the University of Michigan Hospital and St. Joseph Mercy Hospital.
C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital – also in Ann Arbor – is a pediatric hospital in the University of Michigan Health System (Michigan Medicine). This facility is the state’s only children’s hospital ranked nationally in all ten specialities. As a firm focused on neonatal and pediatric health, ABC Law Centers appreciates C.S. Mott’s mission and has donated substantial amounts to support the hospital.
Ann Arbor universities and research centers
Ann Arbor is home to several notable universities and research centers, including the University of Michigan. The University of Michigan is the state’s oldest university, founded in 1817 before the Michigan Territory even became a state. This university has more than 500,000 living alumni, including our own Jesse Reiter, who earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from U of M. Mr. Reiter continues to Go Blue, supporting the Wolverines’ Political Science and Athletic departments every year. He is also a lifetime member of the University of Michigan Alumni Association.
Ann Arbor law schools
Law schools in the area include the University of Michigan Law School and Thomas M. Cooley Law School, an independent non-profit institution affiliated with Western Michigan University. One of our esteemed attorneys, Jennifer Secorski, graduated from Cooley Law School in 2013 with her Juris Doctor, after completing her accounting degree at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.
Ann Arbor birth injuries
A number of obstetrical complications, medical mistakes, and scenarios can cause birth injuries if not handled properly. In this section, our attorneys list a few of the more common injuries and medical mistakes they handle.
- Nuchal cord: This occurs when the umbilical cord is looped around the baby’s neck. This can cause the cord to become compressed, which significantly decreases the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the baby. In addition, the cord can be so tight around the neck that it impinges on the baby’s neck vessels, leading to decreased oxygen flow to the brain.
- Umbilical cord prolapse: This occurs when the cord travels down the birth canal before the baby. When this happens, the cord can become compressed between the baby and the mother’s pelvis. The pressure on the cord can cause blood flow to the baby to slow down or stop. Cord prolapse is an obstetrical emergency, and when it happens, the baby must be delivered immediately (usually by C-section).
- Placental abruption: This occurs when the placenta separates from the uterus, which can cause bleeding in the mother and a decreased supply of oxygen-rich blood to the baby. It also can cause the placenta (and umbilical cord) to be cut off from the mother’s blood supply, either partially or completely.
- Preeclampsia: This is when the mother has high blood pressure (hypertension). When hypertension occurs, blood flow to the baby can decrease. There are a number of ways this can happen. High blood pressure can cause damage to or constriction of the vessels in the placenta. When this happens, there is a decreased flow of oxygen-rich blood to the baby through the placenta and umbilical cord.
- Post-term pregnancy: When a baby is in the womb past their due date, postmaturity syndrome may occur. This results from the placenta beginning to deteriorate, resulting in uterine and placental insufficiency. This means that the baby may no longer receive an adequate supply of oxygen-rich blood.
- Chorioamnionitis: Chorioamnionitis is infection and inflammation of the placenta and fetal membranes. It can progress to villitis, or infection and inflammation of the part of the placenta that is involved in gas and nutrient exchange. These conditions can cause premature rupture of the membranes (PROM), which can cause serious problems for the baby, including premature birth. A baby who is born prematurely may be born with underdeveloped lungs, and this can lead to oxygen deprivation.
- Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (MAS): This is when the baby breathes meconium into the lungs around the time of birth. Meconium is a mixture of amniotic fluid and the baby’s first stool. When a baby inhales (aspirates) meconium, it can result in severe respiratory distress and breathing problems after birth, which can cause oxygen deprivation.
- Macrosomia (large baby): If a mother has gestational diabetes, she has an increased chance of having a macrosomic (very large) baby. Macrosomic babies are more susceptible to traumatic birth, which can include the use of forceps and vacuum extractors. Trauma can cause hemorrhages/brain bleeds, which can cause a lack of oxygen in the brain. In addition, prolonged labor associated with macrosomia also increases the chance of oxygen deprivation.
- Cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD): CPD occurs when the baby is too large to fit through the mother’s pelvis due to large fetal head size and/or a small maternal pelvis. It can lead to many of the same complications as macrosomia.
- Uterine rupture: This is when the uterus (womb) tears open, potentially expelling the unborn baby out of the womb and into the mother’s abdomen. When the uterus tears, the mother may lose a great deal of blood, which deprives the baby of oxygen-rich blood and puts both mother and child at risk. The rupture can also cause the placenta and cord to be cut off from circulation, which also deprives the baby of oxygen. Women who have a vaginal birth after C-section (VBAC) are at an increased risk of uterine rupture.
- Abnormal fetal presentation: When a baby is not in the normal position (top of the head exiting the birth canal first), issues such as prolonged labor, head trauma, and umbilical cord prolapse can occur. These complications can cause oxygen deprivation and brain damage. In addition, babies with face presentation can suffer from swelling and fluid buildup in their upper airways, which can cause respiratory distress and oxygen deprivation.
- Delayed emergency C-section: Research shows that when the decision to perform a C-section is made, the baby should be delivered in 18 minutes or less, in most cases. Experts also agree that in other instances, such as a cord prolapse, the baby should be delivered much sooner. Often, physicians spend too much time trying to deliver a baby vaginally, and they do not move on to a C-section quickly enough, or they lack the skill or necessary equipment to promptly perform a C-section. When an indicated C-section is not performed quickly enough, the baby is often left in oxygen-depriving conditions for far too long.
- Severe maternal hypotension (very low blood pressure): When a mother’s blood pressure is low, the blood flowing from her through the placenta and umbilical cord to the baby may be insufficient. This can deprive the baby of oxygen-rich blood. Maternal hypotension is often a side effect of spinal anesthesia.
- Intracranial hemorrhage: Intracranial hemorrhages (brain bleeds) can occur when there is trauma to the baby’s head. This can happen during labor and delivery, especially if delivery instruments (such as forceps and vacuum extractors) are used or the baby’s birth position (face presentation, breech birth) is mismanaged. Brain bleeds cause decreased blood flow and oxygen in the brain.
- Traumatic delivery can occur when forceps or vacuum extractors are used or when shoulder dystocia (where the baby’s shoulder is trapped behind the mother’s pelvis) occurs. Trauma can cause brain bleeds, which in turn cause oxygen deprivation. Shoulder dystocia can also cause trauma to the head and prolonged labor, which can cause the baby to have brain bleeds and suffer oxygen deprivation. When physicians pull too hard on the baby’s head when the shoulder is stuck behind the mother’s pelvis, the nerves in the neck, shoulder and arm area can severely stretch or tear, and this can cause paralysis of the baby’s arm (Erb’s palsy).
- Uterine hyperstimulation: Excessively strong and frequent uterine contractions can result from improper use of Pitocin or Cytotec. Hyperstimulation can cause the uterus to contract too frequently and strongly. Strong and frequent contractions put continuous pressure on the vessels in the uterus and placenta, which impedes blood flow from the placenta to the umbilical cord and baby.
Our community involvement: Ann Arbor
Over the years, we have made substantial contributions to a variety of projects run by the University of Michigan health system (Michigan Medicine) and other university departments. Most notably, ABC Law Centers president Jesse Reiter established The Reiter HIE Research Fund to support the research of Dr. John Barks, who is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the Director of the Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at the University of Michigan. Dr. Barks’ clinical and laboratory work is critical to the development of new treatments for newborns with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). To contribute to this fund, please click here.
Other initiatives we have supported include the following:
- The Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Research and Education, which is comprised of neonatologists who care for injured and sick newborn infants, educate future pediatric and neonatology medical professionals, and conduct cutting-edge research in the field of neonatal-perinatal medicine.
- C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, which provides cutting-edge pediatric treatment. Jesse Reiter and ABC Law Centers have supported a variety of events and funds, including the Mott Golf Classic and the Charles Woodsen Research Fund. Learn more here.
- The Ataxia Clinic, which is involved in treating ataxia as well as conducting research into the causes of ataxia and developing new therapies. Our donation helped Dr. Vikram Shakkottai and his colleagues. They are researching how changes in cerebellar physiology can affect ataxia disorders, and if ion channel modulators can be used to treat motor disorders. They are passionate about the prevention and treatment of ataxia, as well as working toward a cure.
- Research on artificial placenta technology, which could help very premature babies survive and develop. One of the biggest risks facing preemies is their underdeveloped lungs; they are often unable to provide the brain, heart, and other major organs with enough oxygen. This can lead to brain damage, permanent disabilities, and even death. In a U of M Health Lab Blog, Beata Mostafavi notes that an artificial placenta, “could revolutionize the treatment of extreme prematurity.” Learn more here.
- The Jerry Isler Neuromuscular Fund, which supported the development of Nerve Whiz, a free cell phone app that serves as a diagnostic tool. It allows doctors to note down areas of muscle weakness or sensory loss on a picture of a limb. Nerve Whiz then provides a list of which areas of the nervous system are likely to be involved. Learn more here.
- The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, which houses a multidisciplinary team of experts. According to their web page, they strive “to help every individual maximize functional performance and achieve independence and community integration.” Learn more here.
- The Child & Family Life Program, which aims to reduce stress caused by pediatric illnesses and hospitalizations. They provide a variety of services, such as activity centers, art therapy, and a hospital school program. Learn more here.
- The Epilepsy Discovery Fund, which supports research on a variety of topics, such as the causes of seizures, how to detect seizures early, and the relationship between epilepsy and sleep. Learn more here.
- Reach Out and Read (ROR), which was created in order to combat illiteracy by making it a part of primary care. ROR provides a new book to children from low-income families between 6 months and 5 years old that they can take home with them. Since their beginning in 1997, over 250,000 books have been donated. Learn more here.
- Ronald McDonald House Charities, which provides temporary housing (close to the hospitals) and support to families with sick children, among a variety of other initiatives. Rebecca Walsh, partner and birth injury attorney at ABC Law Centers, served on the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Board of Directors from 2009-2015. Learn more about RMHC here.
- The Michigan Law School Fund, which helps to provide scholarship opportunities for Michigan Law students and supports the Michigan Law faculty. It also enables the law school to run curricular activities such as the Legal Practice Program and the Clinical Law Program.
Trusted legal help for your Ann Arbor birth injury case
The award-winning attorneys at ABC Law Centers have been practicing birth injury law for decades. We have represented Ann Arbor families with children suffering from a variety of serious and permanent cognitive, physical, and behavioral disorders stemming from birth injury.
We have helped children in Ann Arbor and throughout the country obtain compensation for lifelong treatment, therapy, and a secure future. Our birth injury firm has secured numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements that attest to our success, and we will never charge you a fee until we have won your case. In addition, because we know how difficult these cases can be for everyone involved, we always give personal attention to each child and family we represent.
Michigan birth injury lawyer Jesse Reiter, president of ABC Law Centers, has been focusing solely on birth injury cases since he began his legal career in 1987. His cases involve hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), cerebral palsy, neonatal brain damage, and a wide variety of other birth injuries, complications, and instances of medical malpractice.
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