Archive for the ‘Birth Injuries’ Category

Steve Pokiniewski Obtains $4 Million in Shoulder Dystocia Case

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Anapol Schwartz attorney Stephen Pokiniewski obtained a $4 million verdict for a 29-year-old mother and her baby who suffered severe and permanent injuries when their obstetrician negligently delivered the large newborn after a prolonged labor involving shoulder dystocia.

Shoulder Dystocia LawyerThe young mother underwent a vaginal delivery of her daughter despite her voicing concerns that a sonogram predicted a 10-pound macrosomic fetus four days before delivery. The resulting delivery nearly killed the infant and left the mother with a damaging vaginal tear. The newborn wasn’t breathing or moving and required immediate lifesaving resuscitation and emergency head cooling treatment.

The case was tried in Allentown, Pennsylvania and asserted the doctor did not offer to perform a Caesarian section at any time during labor. He disregarded clear warning signs of shoulder dystocia, a condition in which the baby’s shoulder gets trapped behind the mother’s pubic bone.

The child still has weakness on her left side as well as cognitive and expressive speech delays. She is currently undergoing occupational, physical and speech therapies and is enrolled in a special education program. Her mother suffers from incontinence and other injuries as a result of the laceration during delivery.

A unanimous verdict was reached five days after the trial began. The mother and daughter may never fully recover from their injuries, but Pokiniewski was able to obtain some justice for the family.

How Can I Prevent Erb’s Palsy?

Monday, August 26th, 2013

461798-babyErb’s Palsy is a birth injury caused by excessive force being applied to the baby’s head during delivery.  This can happen if the baby gets stuck in the birth canal, and the doctor needs to pull the child out.  This is a common injury that can happen if the baby is too large to easily fir through the birth canal.    While Erb’s Palsy is common, it is preventable.
Erb’s Palsy can happen in any family, with any doctor.     Here are some things to look out for to help prevent ERb’s Palsy.

  • Expectant mothers with Diabetes should closely monitor their blood sugar levels.  High blood sugar levels can “over nourish” the baby and make it gain weight faster than normal. The larger the baby, the more likely it is to get stuck in the birth canal.
  • Mother’s who previously delivered a child with shoulder dystocia are more likely to have another difficult birth that could result in Erb’s Palsy.
  • Labor Inducing with drugs such as Cervadil, Pitocin, or Cytotec may also increase your child’s risk for Erb’s Palsy.
  • Mothers with smaller or unusual shaped pelvises or pelvic openings may be more likely to have a difficult delivery, even if the child is normal sized.
  • Prolonged labors can often lead to a difficult delivery.
  • Precipitous deliveries
  • Children that are in a breech position or oddly positioned in the birth canal are more likely to suffer Erb’s Palsy, or another birth related injury, as it would  be more difficult for the doctor to get the baby out of the birth canal safely.

The best way to avoid a birth-related injury such as Erb’s Palsy may be to opt for a planned  cesarean section (C-section).  However, this procedure is not without its risks.  You should talk with your doctor to discuss the pros and cons of natural birth vs. c-section and make an informed decision.    Even if you opt for a natural delivery, it may be a good idea to have a backup plan for a c-section in place, in case labor becomes difficult.    Understanding all of the risks and maintaining good communications with your doctor will help you to have a safe delivery and a healthy baby.

What Do the United States and Somalia have in Common?

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Both countries have a high rate of premature births.

Last week, the March of Dimes released a disturbing new report. According to the March of Dimes, the United States ranks 131st in the world for its rate of preterm births. That means that a baby born in the
United States has about the same chance of being born before 37 weeks as a baby born in countries such as Somalia, Turkey and Thailand.

Approximately 12% of babies born in the United States are born prematurely each year. In Belarus, only 4.1% of babies are born prematurely.

Premature babies have a higher risk of suffering lifelong disabilities or death than babies born full term. Some premature babies may be delivered early because of medical malpractice while the situation may be unavoidable for other babies.

Our Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyers hope that the number of babies born prematurely
can be lowered in the United States and that, if you are expecting, you have a healthy delivery.

Post-Term Pregnancy Monitoring and Malpractice

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Earlier this week we talked about the potential risks of elective births before 40 weeks gestation. Today, we want to look at the other side. What happens when a mother is post-term or has been pregnant for 42 weeks or more? Do doctors then have a responsibility to induce labor or recommend a C-section? Could the failure to monitor the pregnancy be medical malpractice?

 Doctors have a responsibility to increase monitoring of post term pregnancies and to provide options to the expectant mother. Post term pregnancies present increased risks to the mother and child. Those risks include a greater chance of death during or after childbirth. Accordingly, what was reasonable and acceptable care by an obstetrician at 20 weeks gestation may not be reasonable and acceptable at 42 weeks gestation.

 If you are post term, please talk to your doctor about the risks for you and your child and about your medical options.

Risks of Labor Induction or C-Sections at 37-39 Weeks

Monday, February 6th, 2012

You are done being pregnant. Your doctor has a vacation planned. A holiday is coming up. There is no medical reason why you can’t stay pregnant until your body goes until labor. Neither you nor your child is in danger. However, your doctor is trying to encourage you to have a C-section or to induce labor between 37 – 39 weeks.

 A new report is encouraging you to think twice about that. Studies find that significant harm is possible from these early births including brain damage, developmental delays, disabilities and sleep problems. Organizations studying elective births are finding that many women are not informed of these risks and assert that if women were provided the information necessary to provide informed consent then fewer elective births would occur.

 Accordingly, the Leapfrog Group is urging hospitals that have a higher than 5% elective birth rate performed for no medical reason to be identified to the public.

 Elective deliveries is currently an issue being studied by the Joint Commission and one that our Pennsylvania birth injury lawyers expect to hear more about soon.