Award-Winning Birth Injury Lawyers Helping Children Affected by Brain Bleeds, Birth Asphyxia, Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE), Cerebral Palsy, Brain Damage & Other Birth Injuries | Serving Michigan & All 50 States
A mother needed an immediate C-section delivery when her baby was experiencing birth asphyxia, but the hospital’s surgical suites were all in use, so the oxygen-deprived baby had to wait for the C-section. During the wait, the doctor attempted to use a vacuum extractor to deliver the baby, which caused an intracranial hemorrhage (brain bleed). When the C-section was finally performed, it was far too late. The prolonged birth asphyxia and brain bleed caused by the vacuum extractor caused permanent brain damage in the little boy.
BIRTH INJURY LAWYERS HELPING CHILDREN WHO HAVE CEREBRAL PALSY & OTHER BIRTH INJURIES CAUSED BY BRAIN BLEEDS & BIRTH ASPHYXIA
The award-winning birth injury attorneys at Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers have helped hundreds of children affected by hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, cerebral palsy and other birth injuries. Attorney Jesse Reiter, president of ABC Law Centers, has been focusing solely on birth injury cases for over 28 years, and most of his cases involve hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and cerebral palsy. Partners Jesse Reiter and Rebecca Walsh are currently recognized as two of the best medical malpractice lawyers in America by U.S. News and World Report 2015, which also recognized ABC Law Centers as one of the best medical malpractice law firms in the nation. The birth injury attorneys at ABC Law Centers have won numerous awards for their advocacy of children and are members of the Birth Trauma Litigation Group (BTLG) and the Michigan Association for Justice (MAJ). In fact, Jesse is one of only 2 attorneys in Michigan to ever be elected Chair of the BTLG.
If your child experienced a birth injury such as HIE, seizures, cerebral palsy or any other long-term condition, contact Reiter & Walsh today at 888-419-2229. Our award-winning birth injury attorneys are available 24/7 to speak with you.
DELAYED C-SECTION & ATTEMPT AT VACUUM EXTRACTION DELIVERY CAUSE BIRTH ASPHYXIA & INTRACRANIAL HEMORRHAGE (BRAIN BLEED) IN LITTLE BOY
A hospital administrator told the court that there were lessons to be learned after poor hospital policies prevented a baby from being quickly delivered by C-section when a non-reassuring heart rate and fetal distress occurred.
Haley’s labor began uneventfully. Not long into labor, however, her son’s heart rate dropped dangerously low, indicating he was experiencing a lack of oxygen in his brain, called birth asphyxia. The physician immediately called for a C-section delivery, but there were no surgical suites available. While waiting for an operating room, the physician attempted to deliver the baby boy with a vacuum extractor. After multiple failed attempts with the vacuum, a surgical suite became available. Baby boy Harley was finally delivered by C-section, but it had not occurred quickly enough. After delivery, Harley had to be resuscitated. He was soon diagnosed with severe brain damage caused by birth asphyxia and a brain bleed.
Since this tragic incident that caused a newborn to be permanently brain damaged, the hospital has added another surgical suite and is creating policies that allow for better communication between medical staff and the operating room coordinator.
A DELAYED C-SECTION DELIVERY CAN CAUSE BIRTH ASPHYXIA & PERMANENT BRAIN DAMAGE IN A BABY
There is no excuse for the tragedy that occurred during baby Harley’s delivery. It is against the standard of care for a labor and delivery unit to lack the capacity to emergently perform a C-section delivery when needed. Every labor and delivery unit must have proper space, equipment and staff on hand to perform a prompt C-section delivery (if necessary) for every mother that is admitted to the unit.
Most babies experience no serious complications during delivery. But when a complication occurs and the baby is being deprived of oxygen or experiencing another dangerous condition such as shoulder dystocia, the infant must be delivered right away to prevent permanent injuries. A C-section delivery is usually the safest way to deliver a baby who is in distress.
When a baby is admitted to a labor and delivery unit, it is the standard of care to attach the mother to a fetal heart monitor. If the baby’s heart rate becomes non-reassuring, which is what occurred with Harley, the baby must be delivered right away. A non-reassuring heart rate is an indication that the baby is experiencing a lack of oxygen to his brain or birth asphyxia. The only way to directly help and resuscitate a baby who is experiencing birth asphyxia is to get him out of the womb. A delay in delivery when a baby is in distress can cause permanent brain damage and lifelong conditions such as cerebral palsy.
LABOR & DELIVERY COMPLICATIONS THAT CAN CAUSE BIRTH ASPHYXIA, BIRTH INJURIES & BRAIN DAMAGE
There are many complications that can occur during or near the time of delivery that can cause a lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain and thus require prompt delivery. These complications are listed below.
- Placental abruption
- Ruptured uterus (womb)
- Preeclampsia / eclampsia
- Placenta previa
- Failure to quickly deliver a baby when fetal distress is evident on the fetal heart rate monitor (delayed emergency C-section)
- Oligohydramnios (low amniotic fluid)
- Premature rupture of the membranes (PROM) / premature birth
- Prolonged and arrested labor
- Fetal stroke
- Umbilical cord compression, which can occur when the baby has umbilical cord prolapse, nuchal cord (cord wrapped around baby’s neck), a short umbilical cord and a cord in a true knot.
- Intracranial hemorrhages (brain bleeds), which can be caused by a traumatic delivery. Forceps and vacuum extractors can cause brain bleeds. Sometimes intense contractions (hyperstimulation) caused by labor induction drugs (Pitocin and Cytotec) can cause head trauma. Mismanagement of cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD), abnormal presentations (face or breech presentation), and shoulder dystocia also put a child at risk of having a brain bleed.
- Shoulder dystocia, which occurs when the baby’s shoulder gets stuck on the mother’s pelvis, puts a baby at risk of having umbilical cord compression, which can cause birth asphyxia. It also increases the baby’s risk of having Erb’s palsy, which occurs when the physician pulls too hard on the baby’s head during delivery, causing nerves in the arm and shoulder area to be stretched and torn. This nerve damage can cause the baby’s arm to be partially or completely paralyzed.
- Hyperstimulation caused by Pitocin and Cytotec can cause oxygen deprivation that gets progressively worse.
BRAIN DAMAGE CAN CAUSE A BABY TO HAVE LIFELONG CONDITIONS SUCH AS CEREBRAL PALSY
When a baby experiences birth asphyxia, a form of brain injury called neonatal encephalopathy (NE) can occur. The most common type of NE is hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), which is a brain injury caused by a lack of oxygen in the baby’s brain. This lack of oxygen can be caused by a lack of oxygen in the baby’s blood or a restriction/reduction of blood flow in the baby’s brain. HIE is the most common cause of seizures in a baby. If seizures aren’t properly treated, they can cause further brain injury.
There is a treatment for hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy called hypothermia (brain cooling) treatment. Brain cooling has been shown halt almost every injurious process that starts to occur when the baby’s brain experiences an oxygen-depriving insult. Indeed, the treatment prevents or decreases the severity of cerebral palsy in babies with HIE. When a baby receives hypothermia treatment, his core body temperature (and brain) is cooled to a few degrees below normal for 72 hours. This treatment must be given within 6 hours of the insult that caused the HIE, which means it must usually be given within 6 hours of delivery.
When a baby has permanent brain damage, the following lifelong conditions can occur:
- Cerebral palsy
- Seizure disorders
- Developmental delays and learning disabilities
- Intellectual & developmental disabilities
- Motor disorders
- Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL – usually seen in premature babies)
MISUSE OF A VACUUM EXTRACTOR CAN CAUSE BRAIN BLEEDS & PERMANENT BRAIN DAMAGE IN A BABY
Use of a vacuum extractor is risky for a number of reasons. First of all, a vacuum extraction delivery increases the baby’s risk of having brain bleeds and hemorrhages. A very dangerous brain bleed called a subgaleal brain hemorrhage or hematoma is unique to vacuum extractor use. A subgaleal hemorrhage occurs when the vacuum ruptures a vein that bleeds into a space between the scalp and skull. This type of brain bleed is life-threatening, with a mortality rate as high as 20%. About 90% of all subgaleal hemorrhages are caused by vacuum extractor injuries.
Subgaleal hemorrhages and other types of brain bleeds typically occur when the physician uses excessive force, prolongs application of the cup, or attempts to use forceps when the vacuum extractor fails to help deliver the baby. These 3 actions are against the standard of care. Indeed, if a vacuum extraction fails, the physician may not attempt vaginal delivery with forceps, which are tong-like instruments that are applied to a baby’s head to help pull her out during delivery. In the case of a failed vacuum extractor delivery, the physician must quickly move on to a C-section delivery.
Vacuum extraction delivery certainly is dangerous, especially since many physicians lack skill in use of the instrument. Another reason vacuum extraction causes so many babies to suffer birth asphyxia and permanent brain damage is because when a baby is showing signs of distress on the fetal heart rate monitor, physicians often prolong their attempts at vaginal delivery, trying to use a vacuum extractor instead of moving on to an emergency C-section delivery. Repeated attempts at a vaginal delivery can cause unnecessary delays in the delivery of the baby, especially when the physician isn’t skilled with the vacuum extractor. In addition to prolonging delivery and increasing the baby’s oxygen deprivation, there is the additional risk of the baby receiving a severe brain bleed, which causes further oxygen deprivation and an even greater risk of the baby developing birth asphyxia, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), cerebral palsy and other birth injuries.
DELAYED DELIVERY, BIRTH INJURIES & MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
As soon as a mother is admitted to the hospital for delivery, the baby’s heart rate must be closely monitored and skillfully interpreted by the medical team. If the baby’s heart rate becomes non-reassuring or there are signs of impending fetal distress, the baby must be quickly delivered, usually by C-section. Failure to monitor and properly interpret the baby’s heart rate, and failure to quickly deliver the baby when necessary is negligence. It also is negligent when the medical team lacks skill in risky delivery devices such as vacuum extractors. If this negligence causes the baby to have permanent brain damage and lifelong conditions such as cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder, intellectual disabilities, developmental delays, hydrocephalus or periventricular leukomalacia, it is medical malpractice.
AWARD WINNING BIRTH BRAIN INJURY LAWYERS HELPING CHILDREN FOR ALMOST 3 DECADES
If you are seeking the help of a birth injury lawyer, it is very important to choose a lawyer and firm that focus solely on birth injury cases. Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers is a national birth injury law firm that has been helping children with birth injuries for almost 3 decades.
Birth injury lawyer Jesse Reiter, president of ABC Law Centers, has been focusing solely on birth injury cases for over 28 years, and most of his cases involve hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and cerebral palsy. Partners Jesse Reiter and Rebecca Walsh are currently recognized as being two of the best medical malpractice lawyers in America by U.S. News and World Report 2015, which also recognized ABC Law Centers as being one of the best medical malpractice law firms in the nation. The lawyers at ABC Law Centers have won numerous awards for their advocacy of children and are members of the Birth Trauma Litigation Group (BTLG) and the Michigan Association for Justice (MAJ). In fact, Jesse is one of only 2 attorneys in Michigan to ever be elected Chair of the BTLG.
If your child was diagnosed with a birth injury, such as cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), the award-winning birth injury lawyers at ABC Law Centers can help. We have helped children throughout the country obtain compensation for lifelong treatment, therapy and a secure future, and we give personal attention to each child and family we represent. Our nationally recognized birth injury firm has numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements that attest to our success and no fees are ever paid to our firm until we win your case. Email or call Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers at 888-419-2229 for a free case evaluation. Our firm’s award-winning birth injury lawyers are available 24 / 7 to speak with you.