Articles Posted in Birth Injuries

A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences concludes that glucocorticoids can treat hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) by reducing the amount of brain damage. This can prevent cerebral palsy (CP) and other brain injuries from becoming more severe.

 What is hypoxic-ischemic-encephalopathy (HIE)?

HIEHIE is a brain injury resulting from a lack of oxygen. This can happen prior to birth, during birth, or even well into childhood.

A team of researchers at University College London has developed a device known as a broadband near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) that uses light to detect brain damage in infants. They are now planning a clinical trial of the NIRS.

The first month of a baby’s life is critical.  If there is a brain bleed or oxygen deprivation, you want to know the extent and scope of that injury for early intervention.

Brain injuries during immediately after childbirth are life-altering. In recent year, cooling has made a big impact on lessening the impact of a brain injury.   So anything we can do to act sooner to mitigate damage can make a real difference.

Our law firm handles birth injury cases all over the country. We recently picked up a case in Minnesota. The first thing we need to do when going to a new jurisdiction is research the law and talk to local counsel. I thought it would be a good idea to publish our research. If someone else had done put their results online, it would have made our job a lot easier.

What is the Statue of Limitations for Minnesota Medical Malpractice Claims?

Under Minnesota law, all malpractice claims against “health care providers” must be brought within 4 years of the date that the “cause of action accrued.” Min. Stat. § 541.076. The term “health care provider” includes doctors, dentists, nurses, therapists and any other licensed professional. It also includes hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities providing medical care. Min Stat. § 145.61.  (In birth injury cases in Minnesota, the statute of limitations is seven years.)

Parents of newborns are quick to ask whether something happening during the birth process that caused harm to their child. Sometimes, there are signs that are a reasonable cause for concern. Of course, there are also instances where we fear for our children without a lot of foundation.

Ground Zero for Concern

The most reasonable cause of concern for parents of a newborn with a birth injury is if they were told that their child suffered a loss of oxygen. Birth injury cases have a lot of different fact patterns. But, the most common thread is oxygen deprivation during the birthing process. If you are told that your child was deprived of oxygen for any significant period of time, there is a reason to fear a birth injury that could impact your child. Still, it does not mean that your child suffered any injury.

Pitocin and Syntocinon are common brand names for the drug Oxytocin, a synthetic hormone used to help start or expedite childbirth.  This intervenous drug increases the intercellular concentrations of calcium in the middle layer of the uterine wall, which promotes uterine contraction.  While there are other methods of expediting delivery such as amniotomy or stripping of the membranes., nipple stimulation and soap suds enema, Pitocin and Syntocinon are the go-to therapies to initiate or accelerate delivery.

The data that links Zofran and birth defects keeps piling up. Lawsuits have been filed against the drug’s manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, because they failed to warn pregnant women that the drug can cause injuries to their unborn children when taken during pregnancy.

  • Learn more about how to bring a Zofran lawsuit and how settlements of these claims might work

What is Zofran and what does it do?

sickwomanZofran is an excellent nausea drug that was originally approved for use in individuals who were undergoing surgery or chemotherapy. The nausea associated with these surgeries is unbearable, and Zofran does a wonderful job of helping people deal with the pain.

But the organizations that make drugs like Zofran are corporations, and what do corporations like to rake in? Profits. So naturally, GlaxoSmithKline tried to figure out other ways to increase their market share for Zofran. One of the ways it did this was to push the drug “off label” on pregnant women suffering from morning sickness. Given the effectiveness of the drug in fighting nausea, this seemed like a good idea. However, the FDA did not and has not approved the drug for such usage, which comes as no surprise given the threat of birth defects to unborn children of mothers on the drug.

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Preliminary results from a fascinating new study could spell the eventual end for cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that prevents the brain from being able to adequately communicate with the body, causing physical difficulties with tasks like walking.brain

In the first part of the study, investigators from Duke University Medical Center used an intravenous infusion of a child’s own cord blood to see if it had an effect on their cerebral palsy. Initial data from the first part of the study showed that some patients had improved speech, mobility and movement.

A team of scientists from Duke University Medical Center is now on phase II and is seeking participants for its Cerebral Palsy Autologous Cord Blood Study. This part of the study is a randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study, which means that some participants will receive full treatments, and others will receive a placebo. This is the gold standard for medical research. The team expects to complete the study by July 2013. There is another study taking place at the Medical College of Georgia.

The implications of these studies are heart-warming, to say the least. Something like this could be the miracle cure that thousands of parents have been hoping for. Even though the study is slated to be complete next year, there are other concerns. For example, the study only involves the use of a child’s own cord blood–it won’t be immediately apparent whether donated cord blood could yield the same benefits. Banking cord blood can be an expensive process–one company charges $2,195 for the first year.

Our law firm has been concerned with cerebral palsy for years, particularly as it is sometimes caused by medical malpractice. We handle birth injury cases where children develop cerebral palsy because of delays and complications during labor. When the baby’s oxygen and blood supply is cut off, whether because of complications of shoulder dystocia, fetal distress or umbilical cord prolapse, cerebral palsy and other developmental delays can be the unfortunate result. These are awful cases that are, frankly, very lucrative for malpractice lawyers. But nothing would make us happier than to give up those lawsuits and see children with cerebral palsy cured. Any progress towards this goal would be just unbelievable.

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A Crawford County, Wisconsin jury awarded a brain-damaged child and his family $11.4 million last week after a three-week medical malpractice trial.

The article I have read did not break down the economic versus non-economic damages of the award. Wisconsin has a cap on pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice cases of $750,000.

2018 Update: Mayo v. United Healthcare