Articles Posted in Birth Injury

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Expectant parents rely on their obstetricians and gynecologists to protect the health of their unborn child and to ensure the child is delivered safely. Unfortunately, ob-gyns do not always provide adequate care, which can cause a child to sustain devastating and permanent injuries during birth. In the majority of cases, expert medical testimony is required to prove that the treatment provided deviated from the standard of care and therefore caused a child’s harm. Recently, a New York court explained when expert medical testimony should be barred under the Frye test, in a case in which the plaintiff alleged her child suffered injuries at birth due to her ob-gyn’s negligent care.  If your child suffered injuries at birth due to the negligent care provided by your ob-gyn, it is vital to speak with a trusted Syracuse ob-gyn malpractice attorney regarding your options for seeking compensation for your harm and the harm of your child.

Factual Background

Allegedly, the plaintiff was treated by the defendant ob-gyn during the course of her pregnancy, and during the birth of her child on April 14, 2006. The child had normal Apgar scores at birth and appeared to be in good health. Reportedly, when the child was two to three months old, the mother noticed that the child did not move her right hand. Subsequently, an MRI performed in March 2007 revealed that the child suffered a chronic infarct in the left frontal lobe of her brain. Subsequent tests revealed the child had severe brain damage caused by a remote cerebral injury.

It is reported that following her child’s diagnoses, the plaintiff filed an ob-gyn malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, arguing that the defendant’s failure to properly manage her labor and delivery and failure to perform an emergency Cesarean section in a timely manner caused the child’s harm. Prior to trial, the defendants filed a motion seeking a Frye order prohibiting the plaintiff’s expert from testifying that the plaintiff suffered an intrapartum injury during labor and delivery, on the basis that it relied upon a novel theory that was not generally accepted by the medical community.

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In an obstetric malpractice case in which the plaintiff alleges inadequate care harmed a child, the plaintiff bears the burden of proving not only that the defendant obstetrician’s negligent care was the cause of the harm, but also the damages caused by the harm. In most cases, a jury assessing damages for the harm caused to a child at birth will assess the cost of the child’s ongoing treatment and the financial detriment to the child in the future due to his or her injuries. While the court is reluctant to disturb a jury’s findings, in cases where the verdict is deemed unreasonable, the verdict may be overturned. This was demonstrated in a recent New York case in which the court found that the jury’s damages award for harm caused by obstetric malpractice materially deviated from what is reasonable. If your child was injured by obstetric malpractice it is vital to retain a capable Syracuse medical malpractice attorney to assist you in your pursuit of compensation.

Facts Regarding the Plaintiffs’ Care

Reportedly, the plaintiff’s mother was under the care of the defendant obstetrician during her pregnancy. She was diagnosed with cervical insufficiency, and the plaintiff was subsequently born at 24 weeks gestation and allegedly suffered multiple neurological injuries. The plaintiff’s mother subsequently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the defendant, alleging that the defendant deviated from the accepted standard of care by failing to offer her a cerclage to prevent premature birth and failing to obtain a maternal fetal medicine consult, which resulted in her the plaintiff’s harm. The case was tried in front of a jury, which awarded the plaintiff a total of $20 million in pain and suffering, lost earnings of $113,000, and additional damages for therapy. The defendant filed a motion to set aside the verdict as contrary to the weight of the evidence.

The Standard for Evaluating a Verdict

Under New York law, what constitutes an appropriate damages award is a question for the plaintiff, and it will usually not be disturbed unless the court finds the jury materially deviated from what would be considered reasonable compensation. In determining what constitutes reasonable compensation, the court should look at the relevant precedent of similar cases. In the subject case, the court reviewed cases relied upon by both the plaintiff and the defendant in support of what constituted reasonable damages. The court ultimately found the cases produced by the defendant to be more persuasive and determined the damages awarded to the plaintiff for pain and suffering materially deviated from what is reasonable in light of the nature and extent of his injuries. The court denied the defendant’s motion as to the remainder of the damages, however.
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Many hospitals are not privately owned but are actually public corporations. If a child suffers a birth injury due to medical malpractice at a hospital that is a public corporation, different procedural rules apply for pursuing a claim for damages against the hospital. For example, notice of any claim must be provided within 90 days of when the claim accrues. An appellate division of the Supreme Court of New York recently discussed when a plaintiff will be granted leave to file late notice of a claim, in a case arising from a birth injury. If you live in Syracuse and your child suffered an injury at birth, it is important to speak with a skilled Syracuse birth injury attorney regarding your case as soon as possible.

Reportedly, the plaintiff’s mother presented to the emergency department of the defendant hospital on November 23, 2010. She was 40 weeks and 4 days pregnant at the time, and complained of vaginal leakage, decreased fetal activity, and pain. She was examined and then discharged and sent home. Two days later, the plaintiff was born via an emergency cesarean section at the defendant hospital. The plaintiff was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and brain damage due to perinatal and neonatal asphyxiation.

It is alleged that the plaintiff’s father served the hospital with notice of a claim on August 29, 2013, and the hospital acknowledged receipt of the notice. Then, in March 2014, the plaintiff’s father filed a medical malpractice lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiff, alleging that the malpractice of the hospital’s employees caused the plaintiff’s harm. Specifically, it was alleged that the hospital breached the applicable standard of care in discharging the plaintiff’s mother when she first visited the hospital. Further, it was alleged the hospital breached the standard of care in failing to deliver the plaintiff via a cesarean section in a timely manner.

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Cerebral palsy is a devastating birth injury that can have lifetime consequences for a child. If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you have the right to know if it was the result of medical malpractice. Our reputable Syracuse cerebral palsy attorneys will investigate the circumstances of your injury to determine if malpractice occurred.

A jury recently awarded the family of a boy $130 million in a medical negligence case after he suffered severe brain damage at a Detroit hospital, resulting in cerebral palsy. According to the complaint, technicians at the hospital failed to give chest compressions to the boy when it was required and his brain was deprived of oxygen leading to permanent injury. The boy was just two months old when the injury took place in 2006. He is now 12-years-old and requires a lot of assistance in day-to-day life, including needing help getting in and out of the bathtub. The boy’s mother looks after him full time. The jury made its decision after a three-week civil trial. The hospital plans to appeal.

Suing for Birth Injuries

Damage to the developing brain during or after birth can cause cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a broad medical term used to describe many neurological disorders that affect movement and muscle coordination. While the condition does not worsen over time, it can have a costly and lifelong impact on an individual’s life. Cerebral palsy is often the result of a lack of oxygen to the brain at birth, decreased blood flow to the brain, or trauma and hemorrhage can injure the brain tissue.

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The birth of a child is supposed to be one of the happiest times in your life, but it can quickly become stressful when something goes wrong. If your doctor failed to diagnose or treat infant jaundice, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our hard-working Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys have the determination, skill and experience to handle your case. We will analyze the circumstances surrounding your child’s injury to determine if there is enough evidence to file a lawsuit.

Jaundice, also referred to as hyperbilirubinemia, is characterized by a yellowish discoloration of the eyes and skin of a newborn infant. This happens because the baby’s blood contains excessive amounts of bilirubin, a pigment that is released when red blood cells are broken down. Under normal circumstances, the liver removes bilirubin from the body, but in some newborn children, the liver is not mature enough to do this properly. When jaundice is not identified and goes untreated, a condition called kernicterus can develop. Kernicterus is a type of brain damage caused by very high levels of bilirubin in the blood.

Six out of every ten children are born with some degree of jaundice that is diagnosed as a relatively minor condition. Most infants recover from jaundice on their own with non-invasive treatments; however, if jaundice is severe or goes untreated then newborns may experience severe health problems such as hearing loss, vision problems, intellectual disabilities and even cerebral palsy.

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The birth of a child is supposed to be a joyous occasion but it can quickly become incredibly stressful if there is a maternal infection threatening the health of a mother or child. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our seasoned Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys understand the nuances of this area of law. We will meticulously examine the facts of your case and identify medical errors that may have led to your maternal infection.

One of the most common factors leading to birth injuries or defects is maternal infection. A maternal infection is an infection acquired by the mother who then transmits the infection to the fetus. The infection can be transmitted in one of two ways: through the placenta prior to the birth or through the birth canal during labor and delivery when the baby is exposed to maternal blood. Untreated maternal infection can cause miscarriage and birth defects. Common examples of maternal infections include, but are not limited to:

  • Tocoplasmosis;
  • Choriomnionitis;
  • Urinary tract infections;
  • Group B streptococcus;
  • Hepatitis B;
  • HIV;
  • Rubella.

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If your child suffered birth injuries as a result of fetal macrosomia, you may be the victim of medical malpractice. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our experienced Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys are committed to holding negligent medical malpractice parties accountable for the harm that they cause.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the term “fetal macrosomia” describes a newborn baby that is significantly larger than your average infant. To be diagnosed with fetal macrosomia, a baby must have a birth weight of more than 8 pounds 13 ounces irrespective of the fetus’s gestational age. As you can imagine, a baby this big can create dangerous complications for the birthing process. Fetal macrosomia is hard to detect during pregnancy but the condition can put a child at higher risk of lifelong injuries, including cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, brain bleeds and other traumatic injuries. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that a little more than 10 percent of all pregnancies in this country result in macrosomia.

There are certain signs and symptoms of fetal macrosomia that doctors are trained to recognize. In addition, doctors can detect and diagnose macrosomia through an ultrasound, measuring the abdominal circumference, conducting the Leopold maneuver (i.e., by pushing on a mother’s abdomen) and/or by measuring the pregnant woman’s fundal height.

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Throughout pregnancy, the umbilical cord provides the baby with what it needs to grow properly. If your child suffered an umbilical cord complication due to medical negligence, you need to reach out to a highly skilled Syracuse medical malpractice attorney who is well versed in this area of law. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, we are dedicated to holding negligent medical professionals responsible for the harm that they cause. You can rest assured that we will work tirelessly to help you secure the compensation you deserve in your case.

The umbilical cord serves as the lifeline between mother and child, providing essential nutrients and oxygen to the fetus throughout the pregnancy. In short, the umbilical cord is how the fetus is connected to the placenta during gestation. The placenta is the organ in the womb that gives the baby nutrients and eliminates waste products. Umbilical cord problems may put a mother and her newborn child at serious risk. Umbilical cord complications include, but are not limited to:

  • Umbilcal cord prolapse and compression;
  • Umbilical cord knots;
  • Nuchal cord;
  • Umbilical cord strangulation;
  • Umbilical hernias.

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Wrongful birth actions can be extremely emotional and legally challenging. If you believe you have a wrongful birth case, you need to contact a seasoned Syracuse birth injury attorney who can investigate your situation. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our team is dedicated to protecting your rights at every step of the way. With years of experience, we know how to navigate these claims in a compassionate and diligent manner.

A wrongful birth case is an actionable tort in New York. This claim may arise if you have a child born with a birth defect that could have been detected early in the pregnancy, or that was a condition for which you should have been tested and of which you should have been informed before conception. Put another way, in a wrongful birth claim, parents claim that they would have avoided conception or terminated a pregnancy but for a medical professional’s negligence in prenatal testing, genetic prognosticating, or counseling on the chances of giving birth to a child with a birth defect.

Physicians are expected to provide competent care in both prenatal testing and during pregnancy. There are a number of circumstances that can lead to a wrongful birth. Types of diseases or conditions that are detectible include but are not limited to:

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The birth of a baby is supposed to be one of the happiest days in a parent’s life, but it can quickly turn into a nightmare if things don’t go well. If a doctor fails to perform a C-section in a timely manner, the baby can suffer a wide range of adverse health consequences, including brain damage. If you suspect that your child suffered a birth injury because a doctor failed to perform a timely C-section, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our Syracuse birth injury attorneys can analyze the facts of your case and determine whether malpractice took place.

Doctors perform a Cesarean delivery, also known as a C-section, when it would be safer for either the mother or the baby than a vaginal birth. The procedure is performed by making an incision in the mother’s abdomen, and the baby is delivered. Obstetricians are trained to recognize the signs of fetal distress but may often have to perform C-sections in a number of situations. A failure to perform a timely C-section is often caused by a failure to recognize that the baby is in fetal distress, a failure to closely monitor the mother and child during late pregnancy and labor or a failure of the hospital or physician to book an operating room and perform the procedure quickly enough.

A delayed C-section can result in a wide range of birth injuries, including brain damage, cerebral palsy, shoulder dystocia, development disabilities, or transfer of diseases. In addition, a delayed C-section can deprive the baby’s brain of oxygen, leading to serious conditions such as Erb’s Palsy. In the most serious cases, a delayed C-section can lead to the death of a baby.

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