Mississippi Birth Injury Lawyers
Representing Victims of Medical Malpractice in Mississippi
Mississippi hospitals such as the University of Mississippi Medical Center are nationally ranked for their care of high-risk and premature infants. Even so, medical staff can still make mistakes. In children with highly sensitive health issues, these mistakes can translate into severe complications and lasting neurological issues, If you or a loved one had a birth injury in Mississippi, you may be able to ask that an attorney assist you in obtaining compensation for care, future medical expenses and other needs, whether you are in Jackson, Gulfport, Southaven, Hattiesburg, Biloxi, Meridian, Tupelo, Greenville or any other Mississippi city.
Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers is one of the only law firms in the United States that exclusively takes birth injury cases. Our unique focus means that we have a thorough knowledge of the complex medical aspects of birth trauma 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 and Rebecca Walsh are currently recognized as two of the best medical malpractice lawyers in America by U.S. News and World Report, and partner Euel Kinsey is listed in the New York Times’s Top Attorneys in Michigan. If your child experienced a birth injury, contact the Mississippi birth injury attorneys at Reiter & Walsh today at 888-419-2229.
Mississippi has numerous centers that care for the fragile health of critically-ill babies, including those born prematurely or with numerous concurrent health issues. These neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) provide access to pediatric subspecialists and help parents of children with multiple health issues stabilize their condition. These NICUs are ranked from Level I to Level IV, depending on how specialized the care they can provide is. The babies with the most fragile health are often care for in Level IV settings.
Mississippi hospitals with NICUs include:
- University of Mississippi Medical Center: This is a Level IV NICU providing care for newborns that require the most intensive care. This is the only medical center with a children’s hospital in the state of Mississippi, and the only Level IV NICU in the state.
- The Birthplace at Baptist: This Level III NICU is smaller than that of UMMC, but includes 32 beds and provides pediatric subspecialists for consultation.
- Merit Health Wesley
- Memorial Hospital at Gulfport: This is the only neonatal care unit on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and provides rapid transport of acutely ill or potentially unstable infants to the unit.
- Forrest Health provides the Pine Best with neonatal care, as well as “family-centered” care.
- Additional hospitals include Central Mississippi Medical Center, St. Dominic-Jackson Memorial Hospital, North Mississippi Medical Center, and Women’s Hospital, all of which are located in the Jackson, MS area.
Mississippi Universities and Research Centers
Mississippi has only one academic research medical center in the state; it is housed at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Mississippi Law Schools
There are two ABA-accredited legal programs in Mississippi. These include:
- The Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson, Mississippi.
- The University of Mississippi School of Law, the largest legal program in the state.
Mississippi Military Hospitals
There are eight military medical facilities in Mississippi, most of which are housed in Biloxi or Jackson. These hospitals include:
- 14th Medical Group (Columbus Air Force Base, Lowndes County)
- 81st Medical Group (Keesler Air Force Base, Harrison County)
- G. V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center (Jackson)
- Keesler Medical Center (Keesler Air Force Base)
- South Central VA Health Care Network (VISN 16) (Jackson)
- VA Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System (Biloxi)
These hospitals are listed separately because litigating military medical malpractice differs in some aspects from ‘regular’ civilian medical malpractice. If your child had a birth injury at a military medical hospital, it is important to choose an attorney with experience in litigating both birth injury law and military medical malpractice. Reiter & Walsh, P.C. has experts well-versed in both military medical malpractice and birth injury.
Mississippi Birth Injuries
Birth injuries are injuries that a baby received during pregnancy, labor and delivery. While bruising and fractures might be the most obvious examples of birth injuries, brain injuries make up the vast majority of birth injuries that trigger birth trauma litigation. Birth injuries might not necessarily be detected immediately; sometimes, they only show up when a child is ages 2 or older and is missing developmental milestones related to higher-level thinking processes, movement and walking, or language and communication.
In many cases, birth injuries are caused by medical malpractice. There are certain standards of care that physicians must follow given particular medical situations. If they violate these standards, a medical practitioner’s actions can be considered medical malpractice. Families of children with birth injuries have a certain amount of time (determined by a ‘statute of limitations’) to file a case, which can vary state-by-state.
Some of the health issues, diagnoses, and medical events commonly associated with birth injuries include:
- Seizures: One of the most common symptoms of birth injury is seizures. These occur when the network of electrical impulses in the brain is malfunctioning, causing periods of low consciousness, abnormal muscle tone, and abnormal EEG activity. If a baby has seizures after birth, they may have HIE (hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy) and should receive hypothermia therapy within 6 hours of birth to help minimize disability.
- Oxygen deprivation: If a baby didn’t have oxygen in the womb, or was born not breathing and had to be resuscitated, it is possible that the baby has a brain injury due to oxygen deprivation where some portion of brain cells died due to a hypoxic event. Sometimes, babies with brain injuries from oxygen deprivation (hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy) will have no impairments, but, in other cases, the impairment may be severe. Much of the severity depends on how badly and how how long the baby was without oxygen.
- High-risk pregnancy: Some mothers need extra care and monitoring during pregnancy because of underlying health issues such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure (hypertension), and medical histories of prior labor and delivery complications. In many cases, we see pregnancies that are high risk not being treated like they are high-risk, which means that medical practitioners can miss opportunities for vital medical interventions.
- Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC): While having a vaginal delivery after a prior C-section can be a safe option for some women, for others it can lead to complicating events like uterine rupture, where the uterus ruptures along existing incision lines, causing heavy bleeding that can be dangerous both for the mother and the baby. This hemorrhaging can cause a drop in blood pressure, which means that the flow of blood to the baby will decrease, leading to oxygen deprivation.
- Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM): When a mother’s water breaks, her membranes have ruptured. If this occurs before labor begins, it can mean that the baby is being exposed to bacterial in the vaginal canal, increasing the risk of infection. In many cases, mothers whose membranes have ruptured early must have a C-section birth to reduce the risk of infection being transmitted to the baby.
- Cerebral palsy: This motor disorder can occur when the portions of the brain responsible for transmitting signals to the motor neurons (the nerves that control the muscles) are damaged. This can cause involuntary twitching, writhing, or abnormal muscle tightness or limpness. While it is not always associated with cognitive impairments, cognitive impairments are present in more than half of individuals with cerebral palsy.
- Intellectual or developmental disabilities: When a baby suffers a birth injury, damage is rarely localized to a single area as there is a cascade reaction that causes damage spreading out from the initial location of the damage. This can often impact cognitive function, language acquisition, spatial reasoning and other aspects of consciousness and intellectual functioning.
- Umbilical cord or placental issues: If the umbilical cord prolapses (comes out before the baby), is too short, too long, or knotted, the baby is at risk for oxygen deprivation because the cord may compress or tangle, restricting the free flow of blood for gas exchange. Issues with umbilical cord length and knotting can often be detected during routine prenatal ultrasound screening and testing. Umbilical cord prolapse often occurs when there is premature rupture of membranes (PROM), premature delivery, long umbilical cord, excessive amniotic fluid, or in cases where the mother is pregnant with more than one child or when the baby is in an unusual delivery presentation (face-first or breech, for example).
- Premature birth: If a baby is born prematurely, their brains, lungs and organs are not yet done maturing, making them more prone to hemorrhaging, breathing difficulties and brain injury. There are steps that doctors can take to prevent premature birth including cerclage and progesterone treatment, as well as steps to prevent birth injury if they cannot stop a premature birth that is about to happen (such as betamesathone and magnesium sulfate administration). If these steps are not taken, and the baby is injured, the staff who cared for the child have committed medical negligence.
- Prolonged labor: There are certain established markers of labor (like cervical dilation and effacement) that help indicate if the labor is progressing properly. If those markers are not reached, labor is considered ‘stalled,’ requiring medical intervention to reduce the risk that prolonged labor will cause birth asphyxia.
- Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR): Babies who are growing too slowly during gestation may have IUGR, which means they may be born low-birthweight. Low-birthweight babies typically do not tolerate labor very well, and it is safer to deliver them via C-section rather than with a vaginal birth. IUGR can be detected via prenatal ultrasound testing, and is often due to combinations of factors such as placental issues, high blood pressure, diabetes, or low levels of amniotic fluid. Mothers with diagnosed IUGR are typically referred to maternal-fetal medicine specialists.
- Hydrocephalus: When a baby has “water on the brain,” it means that they have had a brain injury that is causing fluid buildup in the brain’s ventricles, which can be due to HIE, brain bleeds (especially intraventricular hemorrhage, or IVH), or traumatic birth, among other factors. This is often indicated by an overlarge head, seizures, and vomiting. Medical staff often treat hydrocephalus using a shunt system to relieve pressure on the baby’s brain.
- Infection and meningitis: Infections, including undiagnosed UTIs, bacterial vaginosis (BV), herpes, Group B strep, sexually transmitted diseases and a group of infections known as STORCH can cause mild morbidity in the mother but can be devastating if passed on to a newborn. These infections can lead to inflammation of the baby’s spinal and cerebral membranes and tissues, which can lead to cognitive impairments and cerebral palsy if these infections are not prevented to treated in a timely fashion.
- Neonatal hypoglycemia: Babies who are very low-birthweight or very high-birthweight run the risk of having depleted stores of blood glucose. Because blood glucose is the brain’s sole source of energy, low blood sugar means that cells without sufficient glucose stores begin to die after a certain time period. There are many reasons why a baby may develop hypoglycemia; current recommendations for handling this condition is to identify infants at risk, monitor them and ensure proper blood glucose concentrations to prevent injury from developing in the first place.
- Overventilation and hypocarbia: Babies can sometimes need additional help breathing if they are born not breathing on their own, if they are premature, or due to a number of other complex factors. If they are resuscitated or placed on a ventilator, medical staff should monitor numerous factors that indicate how well interventions are working (such as pH, CO2 and O2 levels, and ventilation pressures). Too much CO2, too little O2, an acidity outside of normal range, and pressures that are set too high or too low can cause cellular injury, lung scarring, and brain damage. Proper monitoring and equipment use is critical to preventing improper ventilation.
Legal Help for Your Mississippi Birth Injury Case
If your child had an unusually traumatic or difficult birth, or if your child is missing developmental milestones, it may be worth taking a second look into the circumstances surrounding your pregnancy and your child’s labor and delivery. The birth injury attorneys at Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers can help.
We can review your medical records to determine if medical malpractice occurred, and assist you in securing your child’s future care, medical expenses and therapy, in order to ensure your child will be cared for well throughout their lifespan. We have an extensive track record of successes that speak to our experience and dedication in helping families affected by birth injuries.
Our Experience and Recognition in Birth Injury Litigation
The birth injury attorneys at ABC Law Centers focus exclusively on birth injuries, affording them the knowledge and experience needed to successfully litigate these complex medical cases. We have helped the families of children with mental, physical and emotional disabilities caused by birth injuries to plan for the care of their loved ones.
We will never charge any fees out of pocket, charging only if we recover a settlement. This translates to no out-of-pocket costs for families who are going through the difficult experience of caring for a child with a birth injury. We provide personalized attention to our clients, and seek to keep them informed throughout each step of the legal process.
Contact ABC Law Centers Today
The Mississippi birth injury attorneys at our law firm focus solely on birth injury cases, which means that we have a thorough knowledge of the complex medical content associated with birth injury cases, plus top-notch, award-winning medical, economic and forensics experts at our side. Contact us 24/7 online for a free consultation, call us at 888-419-2229, or use the ‘Live Chat’ button to chat with a representative.
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